Political robocalls are the bane of the election season. It’s everyone’s chance to pile on and complain about the incessant phone ringing and candidate messages. But are political robocalls really that bad? Are they any worse than the television commercials we’re forced to watch?
Yes, I understand the frustration of receiving numerous political calls, particularly the day before an election, but we might want to rethink our attitude towards them. Besides, given all the irritations that we encounter over the course of a day, are political robocalls all that difficult to deal with? Unlike other forms of media, you DO have options: You can listen to the call, not answer the call, or you can answer and hang up — it really is that simple. When you consider the alternatives to robocalls, they might just be the best option for contacting the electorate, and here is why…
1. Political Robocalls Can be a Source of Valuable Information that has a Direct Impact on your Life
These days most adults are over scheduled and have too much on their platter. Newspaper readership is down, everyone walks away from the the TV during commercials, or they don’t watch network news at all. Other than big national elections, many people have no idea who is running for what elected office, nor do they have the time to find out. Political robocalls introduce you to the candidates that are running to represent you. You can at least find out their names and the offices they are running for, and then you can search for additional information, or visit their websites, at the time of your choosing if you are inclined.
Sometimes political robocalls give you information about important legislative initiatives that might affect you. If, for instance, there was going to be a potential tax levy, wouldn’t you want to know?
When we go to the ballot box to vote, we should be informed about the candidates and what they stand for, as well as the legislative initiatives we will be voting on. Many, sadly, are uninformed and that affects the outcome of elections. So rather than thinking of political robocalls as an annoyance, we should maybe be thinking of them more as a public service reminder.
2. Political Robocalls Even the Playing Field and Allow Candidates Who Do Not Have Fat-cat Supporters to Participate in the Process
You would have to have been hiding under a rock to not know that political campaigns are extremely expensive – ludicrous in many cases. Candidates who raise a lot of money have the war chest to flood all types of media with information about their candidacy and blast their opponents, rightly or wrongly. Generally the candidates with a lot of money to spend are also politically connected.
However the general drift of the US population is to embrace the outsider, the little guy who is not entrenched in the political world, because they generally do not have special interest groups, big business or lobbyists donating to their campaigns and pulling their strings, which is one of the reasons we find them appealing. The thing is political outsiders generally do not have the war chest to flood the airwaves with commercials or hire a slew of campaign workers. However political robocalls are relatively inexpensive and make it possible for the “outsider” candidate to compete against the well funded, and connected, candidates. They have the opportunity to introduce themselves to the general public to gather attention and supporters.
If we want less entrenched politicians representing us, we should be tolerant of the robocalls so that the political outsiders have a chance. In short, political robocalls are an affordable medium for budget restricted, and lesser known, campaigns.
3. Political Robocalls are the Green Alternative and Better for the Environment
Climate change is a hot button topic, regardless of which side of the argument you support, but the vast majority of the population does support recycling and other green initiatives they can incorporate into their lives.
Political phone calls do not use up precious resources or harm the environment. Have you checked your mailbox during election season? I can tell you that in just one week last fall I received no fewer than 17 political postcards or mailers – 17! What a huge waste of paper and electricity to produce them. And the thing is, almost NO ONE reads them! They are usually headed for the garbage straight from the mailbox.
If we are genuine about our concern for the environment, we should be embracing the use of political calls as an alternative to stuffing our mailboxes with political mail that has a bigger carbon footprint.
4. You Can Directly Participate and Shape Government Policies
Many political calls are surveys asking you to respond with key presses to a series of questions. Many people find these annoying and won’t respond, but have you noticed that a lot of the people that find them annoying are also the ones who complain that they aren’t be represented by their elected officials? As the old saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
If you want your opinion to be heard, to have a voice in the framing of matters that affect our towns, states and country, then the solution is to take the time to answer the questions. They are usually brief, easy to answer, and you don’t have to talk to anyone – just press a few keys and you are done, and you have done your part.
Politicians and candidates are not trying to pester you, they legitimately want your feedback so that they know what their constituents want from them, what they should be fighting for, and they should be appreciated for that rather than excoriated. We are lucky that we have a system of government where we have the opportunity to voice our opinions without retribution. So rather than complain, we should participate and provide the feedback for those that are trying to represent our wishes and positions. And believe me, they do pay attention to the outcome of those surveys!
5. The Alternatives to Political Robocalls are not Less Intrusive or Annoying
There are many ways that candidates try to reach us to provide information about their candidacy and where they stand on the issues. But frankly most people find them extremely annoying or discount them entirely.
Candidates walk door to door, but if you are honest with yourself how many times have you ducked and pretended you weren’t home? And quite frankly, most candidates can’t possibly walk their entire district to connect with their voters on a one-on-one basis, no matter how hard they try.
There are the political mailers, but do you read them and digest the information or do you send them to the trash like most people? The environmental impact of those mailers is fairly large.
There are TV commercials, but so often those are misleading and/or blasting their opponent that no one puts much stock in them or even bothers to listen in the first place. They are also very costly and out of reach for a large number of candidates. Besides, more and more people are just watching Netflix, Hulu or the other alternatives, and not watching network TV.
There are public appearances, but most of the general population don’t attend those, so the audience is limited.
There are text messages to those who have signed up to receive them, but again that is limited to mostly people who are already invested in the candidate. Tweets, facebook and other social media much the same.
However, phones are universal and can reach people that other forms of media cannot. And, when you get a call, you have a choice — to answer and listen, answer and hang up, or not answer at all. The choice is completely yours. So rather than being annoyed, be glad you have a choice because often times we are not given choices.
Most Robocall Providers, Like Monarch Broadcast Messaging, Follow Legal Guidelines
To be sure, some candidates and organizations do overuse robocalls and there are some who do not follow the legal guidelines which regulate them. They do so at their own peril by either alienating voters from overuse or subjecting themselves to potential fines. But most reputable, U.S. based providers do follow legal guidelines. The best ones will also provide guidance as to the timing and frequency of the calls so that they aren’t intrusive to the recipients’ lives.
At Monarch Broadcast Messaging we not only provide that guidance, but we will refuse business that will not comply with legal guidelines and requirements. You can learn more about our political robocall services here.