Candidates run for office for all kinds of reasons: Foibles. Vanity. A desire to serve.
But, whatever their reasons, after they announce they run head-on into an unpleasant fact: Running or office (even a local office like County Commissioner) costs a lot of money and raising money is plain old-fashioned hard work. It has none of the vicarious pleasures, say, of giving speeches.
And that’s where yard signs come in.
Because when a candidate decides to ignore the grind of raising money – he still wants to have a campaign. So he figures, When people see my yard signs they’ll see I have a lot of support and it’ll snowball into a bandwagon to elect me. Then he’ll spend a few hundred dollars and he’s on his way to victory.
Of course, it doesn’t work like that. If it did Obama and Romney would be spending $50 million (in North Carolina) on yard signs and we’d be buried beneath mountains of cardboard rather than TV ads.
There’re a couple of problems with yard signs. First, they don’t say much – there’s not much message. They don’t tell where a candidate stands. Second, as they’re driving down the road most people don’t study yard signs – they don’t pick one sign out of a cluster by an intersection and think, Wow, that’s a great sign! I have got to vote for that fellow on Election Day.
That said, there is a certain amount of glory in a yard sign – if you’re a candidate it makes driving down the road a pleasure.