File shot: County executive candidates debate in the Dade County Public Library in 2016. This year's version will also be at the libe, but the audience will be holed up at home quarantine-style--as usual!
As if COVID-19 hadn't done enough already to qualify as the supervillain of 2020, here is yet another category of its victims: Practically everyone running for elected office this year.
Candidates have little opportunity to get their messages out to the voters. Yard signs, yes, but rallies? Forget about it. Public gathering are verboten in these days of social distancing. So are baby-kissing, flesh-pressing and even the old standby, going door to door. A candidate could get himself shot.
But this week, candidates will, anyway, have one opportunity to shine. The Dade County Public Library will host the traditional candidate debate, sponsored and live-streamed by Trenton's local television station, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 14.
What is not traditional is that the public is not invited to attend. Library manager Marshana Sharp explained that the library's maximum capacity under the social distancing rules is 48. "But even that means seating them out in the stacks," she said.
Each candidate will allowed to bring one other person, said Ms. Sharp, and there ought to be room for the local press, just. Beyond that? Well, for once organizers are not trying to drum up crowds and for once The Dade Planet is not waving pompoms and urging readers to participate in democracy. (It's such a devastating departure that The Planet feels a decline coming on, from which it may never fully recover.)
The debate will, again, be televised and livestreamed by local station KWN.