SLEAZY WHISPER CAMPAIGN

The upcoming November 2 election in the city of Birmingham for three open city commission spots has drawn out one of the more underhanded election tactics that surfaces periodically in the political realm – the whisper campaign. For the uninitiated, a whisper campaign is a tactic in which damaging falsehoods and innuendo are spread about a target in a campaign by sources who hope to remain anonymous. As the name would imply, rumors circulate orally, knowing full well that the misinformation could take on a life of its own and spread incrementally in a community. The first documented examples of whisper campaigns date back to the 1800’s when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson competed in a contest for president when rumor had it that the latter had fathered children with slave women and that he had stolen a trust fund from a woman and her children. More recently, in 2000, Senator John McCain was the target of similar rumor mongering. In the case of the current Birmingham election, the whisper campaign is targeting one of the newcomers to the election process by at least one political gadfly who has hung around the fringe of past elections and possibly one of the sitting city commission members who is not appearing on the ballot this year. The gist of the (totally false) rumor being circulated is that one of the candidates is a member of QAnon, a kiss of death in the realm of election politics in some social circles, especially in a community that leans more liberal, where such a tag could cost any candidate votes in a non-partisan election that generally draws a lower percentage of voters to the polls.

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