Wamp is a senior political strategist at Issue One, a cross-partisan political reform group. (It is incubating, but is journalistically independent from, The Fulcrum.)
A dear Australian friend of mine, greatly annoyed by the pageantry of American elections, once remarked that in Australia one would not dare put a political sign in the yard. This uniquely American tradition is said to date back to the 1824 re-election bid of our sixth president, John Quincy Adams.
While far from a requirement of an active citizen, the tradition of publicly displaying your support for a candidate for office speaks to our collective "civic courage." "Without which democracy is doomed," the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 2010 opinion.
It's as though we channel our inner John Hancock when we proudly decide to slap on a candidate's bumper sticker.
"I dare you to key my car!"
But in the increasingly high-dollar affairs that are congressional and presidential campaigns, the age-old American tradition of standing proudly behind your candidate has been replaced by a shell game of billionaires and corporate interests intentionally hiding their political activity.
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