October 10th, 2011

My parents taught me and my siblings the card game Happy Families with the rule that if you forget to say “please” asking for a card, you revoke and lose your turn.

The rule now applies to elections in Jersey:

I’m not going to read much into this. Politicians are chameleons and any of the current crop of US Presidential hopefuls, with the possible exceptions of Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, would adapt to the meme easily enough. It’s still a pleasing convention that helps keep the public discourse civilised, and reminds candidates that it’s a favour they are asking of us.

There are some well-known candidates for electoral office whom it’s hard to imagine saying “please”: Julius Caesar, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, V.I. Lenin, Benito Mussolini, and Adolf Hitler come to mind. (Spot the odd man out; answer below the jump.) Could you amend this 1932 poster

to read I don’t think so. Anything that makes life a bit more difficult for such men is worth it.

The odd man out is Lenin, who lost.
Julius Caesar: elected to various offices between 69 and 59 BC – military tribune, quaestor, pontifex maximus, praetor, consul;  votes unknown
Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte: elected President of the Second Republic 1848, with 75%
V.I. Lenin: lost 1917 elections to the Constituent Assembly in November 1917, by 23.5% to the SR’s 43%
Benito Mussolini: won 1923 election after coup d’état by 64% (with heavy intimidation)
Adolf Hitler: won 1932 election as largest party by 33%; confirmed by 44% win in 1933 election with heavy intimidation after Hitler became Chancellor.

Fidel Castro was running for national office in 1952 as a member of a left-wing party when Batista’s coup preempted the Cuban election. Castro never repeated the experiment. SFIK neither Mao, Ho Chi Minh, nor Kim Il Sung ever stood for election.

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