Sign war

Sign war

Sign wars are semi-official competitions between opposing political campaigns at events and/or locations where campaign visibility is paramount to each side. During a sign war, campaign workers, both staffers and volunteers, seek to have a greater sign presence than their opposition. Sign wars may consist of tens of thousands of signs in standard sizes ranging from placards to 4'x8's and may include a wide variety of signs that have been improvised by campaigns and their volunteers.

The occurrence of some sign wars is merely a matter of circumstance. They begin when one campaign notices one or more opposition campaign workers canvassing an area with signs and it is deemed necessary to attempt to neutralize the opposition's visibility. Other instances of spontaneous sign wars occur at events where there will be candidate appearances, beginning with one side seeking to either shake their opponent or make their own boss swell with pride. When the other side retaliates or seeks to neutralize the opposition, a sign war ensues.

Other times, tradition dictates that an event will include a sign war. One such instance is at the popular Shad Planking in Wakefield, Virginia. Every April, locals and politicians from all around the Commonwealth gather for some politicking, beer drinking, and fish eating. In Virginia, the term "Shad Planking" has become almost synonymous with a high density sign deployment.

Another popular Virginia sign war occurs at the Buena Vista Labor Day Parade in Buena Vista, Virginia, between Lexington and Lynchburg. The BV Labor Day celebration began in the 1960s as a way for Buena Vista to showcase their newly constructed park. Candidates are invited to take part in a short parade through town that concludes with stump speeches in the park. It has become unofficially where campaign season kicks off in Virginia, marking little more than two months until election day.

Sign wars are not just a Virginia phenomena, but occur nationally as well. In August 2007, Democrat presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Barack Obama each claimed victory for his side in the sign war that occurred at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Probably one of the most famous sign wars occurs every presidential election year at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Des Moines Iowa.

Sources

*http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/042005/04212005/1740915/printer_friendly
*http://www.iowaindependent.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=833
*http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A6006-2005Apr20.html
*http://www.newsleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007709040303


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