Is anyone surprised Erin didn’t like the idea of focusing on appearance over qualifications in her bid for Manhattan DA?
After all, she is Frank’s daughter, and he has never put much stock in superficial concerns.
On Blue Bloods Season 13 Episode 10, Erin struggled with feelings of inauthenticity as she began filming commercials for her candidacy. At the same time, Frank had a political issue of his own to deal with.
Erin’s dilemma illustrated a problem that female candidates often encounter: voters who put undue importance on what she wears and how she looks rather than on her ideas and qualifications.
She wanted voters to choose her because she was the best candidate for the job, not because she wore the perfect outfit, and that’s a reasonable desire. But ultimately, if she wants to win, she has to appeal to voters, and good marketing means giving people what they need to feel excited about voting for her.
That doesn’t mean she should be inauthentic — that’ll turn voters off. But how she dresses is part of the package she needs to sell to win this race.
Erin doesn’t have the same luxury Frank does to ignore public opinion, at least not yet. Frank’s situation is different because his position is appointed, not elected.
Frank only had to win over whichever mayor initially appointed him. His strong leadership ever since makes him popular enough that every mayor — who is elected and DOES have to think about what the voters want — knows that firing him would be political suicide.
Erin first has to get her foot in the door. Then she has to convince voters they made the right choice so they won’t fire her next time.
She’ll have to consider which demographics are likely to vote for her and which are lost causes, which political figures to befriend and which to distance herself from, and which issues resonate well with voters and which don’t.
These are not things that Frank has to worry about, and they may impact how effective Erin can be. Good leaders are willing to buck public opinion to do what is best, but voters can be fickle, making it harder to lead from an elected position.
Anthony: Hey. You look like you saw something scary.
Erin: I did. Me.
Erin has to decide now whether she can stomach dealing with image concerns because it isn’t going to go away once she gets into office. She also should think of her campaign as a type of job interview.
When she interviewed for a position in the DA’s office, she probably dressed a certain way to impress the hiring managers, which is no different.
That said, she needs to fire that image consultant. That ad looked exactly like every political ad I’ve ever seen, and that yellow suit didn’t do her any favors.
I don’t know who rated the ad so highly, but I wouldn’t vote for Erin based on it. I don’t want a cookie-cutter DA. The DA must be willing to prosecute tough cases, including those with political costs, and stand up for victims.
Someone trying too hard to be just like everyone else doesn’t have the guts to do the job well. That’s not the image Erin wants to portray.
Erin should instead position herself as a fighter. She should lean into her Reagan-ness, but not in the way everyone expects. Rather, she should talk about how she is not afraid to stand up to her family in the name of justice — not even Commissioner Reagan himself.
She has strong feelings about bail reform but is also aware that the DA does not have the power to change these policies. Instead of making impossible-to-keep promises, she should go with the message that she will be as tough on crime as possible under current laws while also advocating for change at the legislative level.
In other words, she should stop worrying that voters might not like the real Erin as much as the fake persona the image consultant gave her. Instead, she should share who she is in a way that speaks to her base’s values.
Frank’s explanation at Sunday dinner about why he returned the showy watch that the kids thought the commissioner “should” wear is the same philosophy Erin needs to adopt.
Cop: I was gonna go at him hard.
Jamie: Why didn’t you?
Cop: I was afraid if I pushed too much, he’d shut down.
Jamie: In intelligence, all we have is our instincts. Trust your gut.
In a way, Erin was having the same problem as Jamie’s recruit.
The newbie’s gut instinct was to go hard during interrogation, but he allowed fear to hold him back and was unsuccessful in getting the suspect to talk.
Similarly, Erin’s instinct is to ditch the fancy suits and commercials full of lies, but she’s allowing fear that voters won’t like her authentic personality and appearance to interfere.
Conversely, Jamie put his gut feeling that the recruit could handle leading the team above the boss’ belief that someone more experienced should get that job.
And Jamie’s decision saved his life.
Jamie should have been more careful. He blew his own cover minutes into the operation, and this is not his first rodeo.
First you’re going to deliver this car, and then you’re going to die.
But thanks to the recruit’s quick thinking, the cops could find Jamie before anything happened to him.
Frank’s political problem was far different than Erin’s. He had to stop Gallagher from making it appear the department endorsed a program that Frank hated.
Garrett: The mayor wants to know when you will endorse this program.
Frank: He thought that was something you should ask me? I approved this program fully believing it would crash and burn under the weight of its own stupidity.
This was a different type of issue than Frank usually has. He often butts heads with the mayor; this time, his adversary was a cop who wholeheartedly embraced a mayoral initiative Frank felt was creating unnecessary risks for police officers.
Gallagher’s belief that the program worked because of only one injury in ten days seemed silly. Ten days is not a long time; the only way to determine whether this was a low rate was to compare it to how many injuries partnered cops sustained over the same period.
Regardless of who was right, the fact remained that there could only be one head of the NYPD, and Gallagher kept undermining Frank by making it appear the NYPD endorsed the program.
Despite Gallagher’s continual refusal to get this point, I felt sorry for him after the program imploded.
It is a time-honored tradition to kiss ass to get ahead. The trick is knowing which ass to kiss.
Gallagher pressured Frank to adopt the program the mayor wanted, only for the mayor to turn around and try to get him fired when the program failed.
That kind of disloyalty to someone who risks their job to do your bidding is uncool, even if Gallagher did do it to himself by trying to cover up officer injuries. Luckily for him, Frank gave him a second chance; hopefully, Gallagher learned his lesson!
Danny and Eddie’s case took an interesting turn when their police impersonator turned out to be a forcibly-retired cop who missed his old job and wanted to keep stopping bad guys.
While it’s illegal to impersonate a cop, it didn’t feel right to arrest him, especially after he saved Danny’s life at a robbery in progress. Eddie was right that the guy deserved some compassion.
He wasn’t a random vigilante; he had been trained in police procedures, was helping catch violent criminals, and was only off the streets because of a problem with a dirty supervisor.
Thankfully, Danny found a far fairer solution than punishing the man for helping keep the streets safe.
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