Civility in Elections? Nah, Why Bother

On April 4, an election was held in Wisconsin for a state Supreme Court seat. While the candidates carry no partisan labels, it was clear that the race was between liberal Janet Protasiewicz and conservative Daniel Kelly.

Protasiewicz won by a margin of 55%-45%. The result was not close.

Mr. Kelly in his post-election remarks was quite bitter. Instead of the normal civil congratulatory statement, regardless of whether the losing candidate really feels that way, Kelly stated:

“I wish…. I would be able to concede to a worthy opponent, but I do not have a worthy opponent to which I can concede.” Kelly went on to label Protasiewicz a “serial liar.”

Wow! In law there is such a thing as judicial temperament, that is the ability to be civil and reserved, regardless of circumstance. Kelly’s statements were not such an example.

On the same date, a runoff election was held for Mayor of Chicago. Brandon Johnson defeated Paul Vallas by a 51%-49% margin. The result was close.

Mr. Vallas in his concession comments was civil and gracious, stating:

“The only pathway forward in our city is together,” “…..It’s time for all Chicagoans to put aside their differences and work together to support the daunting work ahead for Chicago’s next mayor.”

That, Mr. Kelly, is how it should be done.

  • Allan Opsitnick