The GOP’s Favorite Unethical Tactic: Deceptive Mailers

McConnell mailerIt’s not sufficient, apparently, that Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky) Democratic opponent Allison Grimes has thoroughly disgraced herself (See here and here, and that’s not all, but I didn’t want to pick on her with so many other unethical candidates running under the banner of either political party) and probably squandered any chance she had of unseating the GOP Minority Leader. So  the Republican campaign geniuses decided to attack this not-ready-for-prime-time politician using a tactic out of former Republican Chairman Michael Steele’s playbook. That means unethical, for those of you who didn’t follow Steele’s slimy reign.

In 2010, Steele approved the GOP sending out mailers disguised as official U.S. Census documents twice, the second time after the House of Representatives had rebuked the despicable tactic and voted unanimously to make them illegal. Since then, the GOP has hectored those citizens foolish enough to contribute to a Republican candidate with mailings deceptively designed as renewal notices, as if something would expire if you didn’t send in another check. This is a sleazy method of inducing someone to open junk mail, and it shows how thoroughly mass mailing is dependent on influencing the dim, timid and too forgiving that such dishonestly packaged appeals work.

I wrote a post about the phenomenon, titled Why Would Anyone Trust A Company That Tricks Them Into Opening Its Junk Mail? I still think it’s a good question. Nonetheless, McConnell’s campaign just sent Kentucky voters official-looking mailers that say “Election Violation Notice” on the envelope, with the letter within telling the voter that Grimes has been giving them them “fraudulent information” and “blatant lies solely to deceive Kentucky voters” about McConnell and her own candidacy. This is true. The packaging of it, however, is unethical.

Laughably, Grimes’ has responded by threatening to sue McConnell for “voter suppression” and intimidation. Good luck with that. I think, if Grimes wants to use the ad to her advantage, she should make the same argument I made in my post about dishonest junk mail. Of course, there’s the problem of her own incessant lying, misrepresentations and lack of integrity, which focusing on McConnell’s unethical mailer will necessarily bring up. The mailer warns, “You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information,” and that is correct. The mailer just neglects to note that the reader already acted on intentionally misleading information—from McConnell— by opening the envelope.

Both of these candidates richly deserve to lose. My Dad was from Kentucky. I’m sure grateful to him for relocating.


Sources: Washington Post, Talking Points Memo, Courier-Journal


6 thoughts on “The GOP’s Favorite Unethical Tactic: Deceptive Mailers

  1. A lot of people are still mourning the fact that McConnell survived a primary challenge. But at his worst, he still stands head and shoulders above this Grimes character. That, however, is not the greatest of endorsements.

  2. Since both Dems and Repubs engage in, bluntly, WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET ELECTED/RE-ELECTED, perhaps we need to explore the “None of the above” option for our ballots again. I realize that we are not, and cannot ever be a true democracy, but our politicians are taking advantage of the current system too boldly. “Honest politician” is an oxymoron, at best, but we might get a little better quality candidate for office if both parties realized that they might just have to go back to the drawing board after an election. To make it even more fun, let’s require that the losing PARTIES get to pay for the new election.

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