Hamiltonians appear to be tuning out the municipal election in the final few days of the campaign.
Exhausted by a barrage of negativity and bullshit from various people who claim an affinity for one candidate or another, the number of people tweeting about the municipal has steadily decreased in recent days.
Annotatally, people state to me they are not logging into Twitter until Monday night after this damn election is over.
My own Twitter analytics show a significant drop in people browsing my tweets and profile during the past week.
This surprises me, I usually see substantial increases before a highly anticipated news event.
I am disappointed, I want to log off too.
I find reading terrible tweets exhausting.
I want to log off Twitter as well.
I too am disappointed in many people who've gone overboard with wild attacks, insinuations, and antics in recent weeks regarding the mayoral campaign.
"Naming names" will not resolve the disappointment, nor will it inspire people to resolve their behaviours. It will merely draw me into the conflicts.
Is a Lack of Difference on Issues Causing Negativity?
The issues in the mayoral race do not provide much opportunity for differentiation between the two frontrunner candidates.
Housing affordability, housing shortages, more transparent government, tax affordability, policing, homelessness, transit.
The problems are obvious, and the municipal government's ability to respond to them is limited.
Without much opportunity to differentiate on issues, campaigns are left to argue about character and style.
Both campaigns focused on criticizing the other during the September 27 Cable 14 debate.
Interestingly, both campaigns mostly annoyed negativity following the debate.
The Twitter Fans are Not The Campaigns
For the most part, none of the most vocal people on Twitter are actually part of the inner-circles of the campaigns.
Yes, some of them are campaign volunteers. Campaigns have very little control over volunteers.
The campaigns have reined in the people they can.
They have no control over the loud mouths who are engaging in the majority of the fights on Twitter.
My Candidate Losing Means I Personally Lose Our Broken Politics as a Reason?
For my entire lifetime, it has been who you know, not what you know, that matters at Hamilton City Hall.
Committee appointments are not merit based.
Take a look at the Committee of Adjustment, the Future Fund Board of Directors, the Conservation Authority Boards.
Each person is a friend of Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Councillors Lloyd Ferguson, now-former Councillor Chad Collins, or Tom Jackson.
Good people weren't considered if they lacked the only qualification that mattered - blind loyalty to the power holders of the Old Guard.
Delegations with good ideas are ignored, unless Council likes you.
For too long, vindictiveness had dominated Hamilton City Hall.
To what extent are some of the more extreme tweets, from smart people, driven by an emotional fear of being frozen out?
A fear of being unable to contribute during the next four years?
[Ironically, some of these tweets are disqualifying in of themselves.]
Moving Forward - We Will Move Forward
I share a exhausted pessimism regarding this election.
I worried about the fractured relationships and anger we are seeing on Twitter.
Yet, I do not despair - at least not yet.
I look at both mayoral frontrunners and see two people who've been humbled by the consequences of their actions. Two people who realize the winner of the mayoral race cannot claim victory but instead can be thankful they somehow did not lose.
Each of them knows they have to face voters again in 2026. They know the City's budget crisis and tax increases mean their odds of being reelected in 2026 are low.
They have to reach out to the others camp to bring in good people to achieve the work of effectively governing Hamilton in the challenging four years to come.
We are going to see a lot of good rookie city councillors.
Combined, the mayor and council will seek to hear good ideas. They will seek to engage.
Neighbourhood associations will resume their regular meetings, providing further outlets for engagement.
People who want to engage can. For those who wish to continue shouting from the back, there is always the mute button.