In the wake of unpleasant revelations about DeSalvatore's bigotry, I find myself wondering how the DeSalvatore supporters (and Ted himself) will respond. How will they defend the indefensible?
Luckily, there's a long history of blind supporters defending any and all stupid things their candidate does, and they do it in a few very predictable ways. Let's examine them, so we know whether to bother even talking to these people.
Defense #1: "It's not true!"
This is a very effective defense if indeed the thing in question isn't true, but a really horrible one if it is.
This is usually the first defense used by candidates who are accused of something bad. If the accusation is true it's highly risky (not to mention totally dishonest) to say it's not. There's often corroborating evidence that comes out after a denial. It sounds like there are plenty of people who can corroborate the charges against Ted, and a denial tends to bring those people out.
Of course, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, some candidates will always hold to the lie. And some hardcore supporters will support their guy no matter what, even going so far as to internalize the lie. Like the people who still believe there are WMDs in Iraq (they're just well-hidden!), these people are not worth talking to.
Defense #2: Refuse to comment.
When used by a candidate it's like Defense #1. Except it's for people who are certain they'll be caught if they lie. The only reason to use this defense is if you don't dare tell the truth, since everyone's going to assume the worst anyway. So you just hope it'll go away. If the press is anemic enough, maybe you can even get away with it.
Supporters only use this in a disingenuous manner, generally pontificating at length about how they refuse to talk about the thing they're actually talking about. This is the "I won't dignify that with a response" passive-aggressive technique. It doesn't work, because everyone realizes it just means they have no defense.
Defense #3: "Even if true, it's no big deal."
Do I even need to discuss this? People who say this simply prove that they're just as big an asshole as the candidate they support. Just write them off as lost causes.
Defense #4: Attacking the messenger.
This is a very common one. It's an obvious favorite of DeSalvatore's supporters, who've already been attacking Rachel for pretty much anything they could think of.
In addition to being a sleazy thing to do, it's intellectually bankrupt. There's absolutely no relationship between the truth of a statement and the person telling it.
Sure, if someone's a well-known liar you may have reason to dig deeper before believing them, and you should always try to get corroboration for things like this anyway. But attacking the messenger is really just a thinly-veiled attempt to get people to ignore the message.
I'm sure some people will say that Rachel made this up because she doesn't like Ted. There's no reason to believe that, though. Making shit up and presenting it as fact opens you to libel charges, which nobody wants to subject themselves to. Telling the truth is a perfect defense against such charges.
Anyway, could it be that perhaps the person who used to be the director of Ted's "Back Streets Association" doesn't like him anymore because he called her a "crazy kike"? Yeah, that'd turn me against someone real quick too!
So anyway, that's another pointless defense. Truth exists independently of those who tell it, and attacking the messenger is just a smokescreen.
Defense #5: Talking about "negativity".
This is actually the one I want to get into the most, since it comes up so often in campaigns. Usually it's brought up by people who support a candidate that does a lot of negative things. It's also something I'm quite certain will come up in response to the revelations about DeSalvatore.
First, let's just write off the people who accuse the actual mayoral candidates here of negative campaigning. They're talking out their asses.
None of the mayoral candidates have really engaged in negative campaigning, at least on a personal level. Sure, DeSalvatore "focus[es] on what's bad" about the town, but he's managed not to launch personal attacks on the other candidates (at least in public). The other three candidates have been more positive about the town, and have also basically kept their mouths shut about their opponents. Overall, it's been a pretty civil campaign. If there's negative campaigning, I haven't seen it.
The charges of negativity are more appropriately leveled against people like me who write about what's going on in town. In my case it's accurate. I'm pretty damn negative at times, and it's not always tongue-in-cheek. The No To DeSalvo guy can be accused of the same (hell, it's an inherently negative name). And Rachel's statement is about something negative, though her actual blog stays positive.
But so what? Why shouldn't people writing about local events be negative at times? We're writing about negative things! If someone running for Mayor is spouting racial epithets then it's not being negative to talk about it, it's being honest!
What would these people who are so keen on positivity have us do? Ignore what's going on because it's inconvenient to their preconceptions? No thank you! I think I'll just stick to telling the truth.
Funny bit about this: The people who harp on "negativity" are asserting that negativity is a bad (aka negative) thing. They then attribute this negative thing to somebody else. So they're being what they're accusing others of being by the very act of making the accusation! Ouch!
Let's not delude ourselves, though. They don't really give a shit about negativity. They only care if it's directed at the guy they support. Given the same information about an opponent, they'd be the first people to pounce on it. But when they learn something negative about their guy, they'll start with the moralizing bullshit.
These people are idiots who can be safely ignored.
So that's just a few of them. There are certainly other defenses that get used, and they're almost universally dishonest. The only acceptable response from DeSalvatore in this situation would be a truthful one, which I don't really expect to get. (Just as I no longer expect to get an answer to the question of where he teaches.)
As for his stalwart supporters, maybe they'll realize at some point that there's a reason we call some things "indefensible." In the meantime, I suggest just ignoring them. These arguments have no merit.