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All Politics Is (State and) Local – Get Out and Vote

11.05.18 | SALT Chat

The catchphrase “all politics is local,” most closely associated with former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, can be and most certainly is interpreted many different ways by many different people. Regardless of the various interpretations, in my opinion the phrase can only have one meaning the day before possibly the most significant election since I have walked the face of this earth; get out and vote.

The phrases’ core meaning was and still means that a politician’s constituents are most likely to vote based on concerns that affect their day-to-day personal lives. While the core still rings true, in many ways the dawn of social media has made it more difficult than ever for us to determine what our elective representatives have done, will do, and plan on doing.

While I am too old to say I have grown up with social media, I am way too young to ignore it. Come to think of it, based on my recent visit to one of the most popular retirement locales in the United States, and observing voters thirty years and more my senior make abundant use of social media, none of us can ignore it. Conversations at the “clubhouse” center around the latest correspondence on Twitter, Facebook, and the like. Tempers flare around all sides of every issue based on the latest social media read.

While observing this behavior, coincidentally I happened to notice an article indicating that 60% of the conversation related to a recently politically-charged issue was, in fact, generated by bots, not by real human beings with real opinions. The bottom-line for us all; relying on social media for information, we do not know what is real, fake, who we are conversing with, if anyone at all.

Ironically, while social media and the internet has made it harder for us to formulate our views and opinions, with minimal effort, we can be more aware than ever before. A deluge of information regarding the proposals and votes of all our representatives from the smallest town or village meeting up to the United States House and Senate are available online. Want to see who did what at the latest Town Hall meeting? Chances are you can find out online. Actions can be observed “first-hand” and certainly, those actions speak louder than any words, computer or human generated.

So dear readers, while I do not expect you to go cold turkey on the social media, it seems that history proves almost all of our vices may even be healthy for us in moderation. See you at the polls.

If I have raised questions, contact me at WBerkowitz@BerdonLLP.com or your Berdon advisor.

Wayne Berkowitz, a tax partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group at Berdon LLP, advises on the unique requirements of governments and municipalities across the nation.