About these cynical 'Vote for the Democrats' signs . . .

Scattered throughout Baltimore, right there along with the typical election signs you expect to see—you know, the ones that advertise a candidate and tell you to vote for them and all of that—are also signs that just say, "Vote for the Democrats." Sometimes they are near Anthony Brown signs and sometimes they are all alone, just flapping in the breeze. It almost seems like some sort of prank: a high-concept culture jam that finally, fully reduces the United States' bullshit-ass two-party system into a pick-a-side-and-go-with-it-no-matter-what type of thing, making the Republicans and Democrats into rivals, like the Ravens and the Steelers or something. But no, these signs are not, say, a prank by the Yes Men, they are official: In the bottom right hand corner they say, "Paid for by Cummings for Congress, Ron Thompson, Treasurer."

Yep. Arguably, these signs are just cutting to the chase: Most of us walk into a booth with intentions to vote for a few specific high-profile candidates and otherwise just go straight down the line Democrat, so why not encourage it? But still, come on guys. These signs are the political equivalent of a "Go team!" cheer or something. Democrats aren't even trying here, and they're not going to pretend that they can offer up something of note or even specifics.

We're stuck, of course. Even if the signs alienate registered Democrats from the party (and indeed, they should alienate you), it probably isn't going to push Democrats toward the Republicans and not voting at all on principle seems unwise (elections matter, folks!), so we're stuck. This is the Democratic Party as "brand." And like most brands, it's grotesquely talking down to its audience and expecting us to just take it, even as it offers up an inferior product. Also like most brands, it feels powerless to reject them. Still, I'd encourage you to call "bullshit" on these cynical, condescending signs.

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