Sure you can.
However, they do provide insight into each candidate’s campaign.
A recent mayoral forum featured the remaining eight candidates—Anna Marie Arpino, Termecius Dixon, Steven Jackson, Adrian Perkins, Jeron Rogers, Lee O. Savage, Jim Taliaferro and Ollie Tyler.
All of them were passing out push cards—except for Jeron Rogers and Anna Arpino. Rogers had an 8-by-11-inch flyer. Arpino had nothing. (She said she is well known and printing is a waste of money.)
So how did they stack up?
Dixon’s card asked, “What can we do for the future?” He listed jobs, crime, and infrastructure as issues to be addressed. His card says that he has numerous successful business ventures in real estate, logging, and agriculture.
Jackson’s card includes an “Opportunity Agenda” that includes economic opportunity, crime and safety, and increase in higher education & healthcare opportunities. He also lists bullet points under headings of “Smart & Experienced” and “Progressive Leadership.” Jackson wants a dental and a law school established in Shreveport.
“Veteran. Son of Shreveport. Leadership for our Future” headlines Perkin’s card. He lists his military experience and his education at Captain Shreve High School, West Point and Harvard Law School. Perkins pushes a safe, thriving and smart Shreveport as his campaign planks.
"Leadership for a Better Shreveport" headlines the card for Savage. Savage lists crime, roads, and jobs as key issues for his campaign. Savage’s also has community and family information.
Talaferro’s card pushes “Service-Safety Shreveport .” He wants to rebuild, rebrand and revitalize Shreveport. The back of his card emphasizes faith and family, notes that he is a veteran, public servant, entrepreneur, and plans for crime and jobs as qualification bullet points.
Tyler’s push card emphasizes the obvious—that she is the mayor and she is running for re-election. She touts proven experience, leadership, and integrity as key credentials. In a “Know the Facts Before You Vote” heading, she has bullets points on public safety, quality of life, economic development, and tax reductions.
“Engineering a Brighter Future” is the tagline on Roger’s handout. Rogers wants to reclaim and rebuild neighborhoods with entrepreneurial opportunities. Rogers has a civil engineering degree and a Master’s in Business Administration.
As always in political races, the $64 question is how a push card can sell a candidate to voters.
Tyler is, of course, a known quantity. She has served as mayor for 3 years and 7 months—supervised 2800 employees as her card reads. Thus she claims credit for everything “good” that has happened during her term.
The other candidates have an uphill slog running against an incumbent. For better or worse, some started their campaigns with more public recognition than others. Collectively, they all probably have less than Tyler.
The initial goal for each of the challengers is for the pushcard to educate voters as to who they are. Then they need to position the candidate as the pick of the non cumbent litter.
Most of the campaign themes are the same. They start with public safety and end with economic development. And all the push cards have smiley faces and “feel good” messages.
Most politicos say push cards are better for book marks than deciding votes.
(This article was/will be published in The Shreveport Times on Sunday, August 12, 2018.)