I'm always humbled when I find a gaping hole in my vocabulary.
The other day, someone in a political activist group suggested that it would be effective to 'bird dog' incumbents about a rather controversial issue we were discussing.
Mind you, I have made this tactic central to my electoral campaign strategy, integral to implementing my candidate contract plan of action. I just didn't know the name for it.
See? Even the Google definition mentions bird dogging in a political context.
Yes . . . "dogged determination" . . . very cute.
That cute characterization is the polite, PC way of describing what I'm proposing.
As I presume will happen, my enlightened, progressive, honest and transparent people's candidate has signed one or more contracts on issues that reflect the will of the majority of voters in the district where the contest is taking place. You can view the contract and the laundry list of progressive issues here, one that's drafted for the House of Representatives.
But . . .
His opponents, whether newcomers or an incumbent, are establishment candidates, thus HAVE NOT SIGNED THE CONTRACT. I've explained elsewhere why they cannot and will not sign these contracts, but basically it boils down to their all but certain loss of campaign funding and major party machinery support. There are huge stakes at keeping at bay any significant populist reforms, specifically those in the progressive candidate contract. Keeping obedient establishment lackeys in office is essential for the status quo.
For simplicity sake, let's say the contract in dispute is not the one listing the whole gamut of populist issues, but just one for raising the minimum wage. It would look like this.
Of course, raising the minimum wage is certainly the main focus in the battle for votes.
But the actual centerpiece of every element of the publicity campaign is the contract for raising the minimum wage. This is where the bird dogging comes in.
At every public rally, campaign event, fundraiser, town hall meeting, meet-the-candidate barbecue or hotdog eating contest -- literally everywhere the establishment candidate(s) show up in public -- there will be protesters wearing t-shirts, carrying signs, chanting:
Why won't you sign the contract for raising the minimum wage?
Understand: 'Why won't you sign the contract for ...' is not a genial request for an answer. It's an expression of outrage! It's a condemnation! It's saying: You are insulting us! We as voters are making a simple, fair, reasonable request. And you are defying the will of the people! It's a rhetorical question challenging the empty rhetoric of the candidate.
Of course, every candidate, especially when speaking to younger folks who are most likely working for or just barely above the minimum wage, is going to discharge billowing gusts of smiley-face vapor about the "crisis in the availability of good jobs in this country", and "all workers deserving a livable wage". This always sounds nice but is really a lot of stinky poop, considering that the official rate hasn't increased in seven years, and moreover, that adjusted for inflation the current $7.25 per hour is worth less than it was 50 years ago.