How to explain the Dyster primary win, a win that could put Paul Dyster behind the Niagara Falls Mayor's desk for a third term?
A win that flew in the face of all that is - or should be - good common political sense. A win that happened in a city where the mayor has done something so egregious and wanton as to recklessly spend $90, million in taxpayer casino funds and something so insensitive and heartless as to allow hundreds of homeowners to go without running water in winter?
After eight years of observing Paul Dyster and his political machine up close and personal we believe we have solved the mystery as to why Dyster didn't crash and burn on primary day last week, let alone after his first term in office. The answer to the mystery, the solution to the riddle, the sad fact that supports the Dyster reign can be summed up in two words: Stockholm syndrome.
Yes, the Reporter is going all psychological on the subject because when all other considerations of a political nature fail to satisfy the question we have only mental illness and psychological damage with which to explain - not justify - the continued voter support of Paul Dyster.
Stockholm syndrome: also called "capture bonding" is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captor for kindness. Spousal abuse is considered an example of Stockholm syndrome.
Just replace the word "hostage" with the word "voter" and replace the word "captor" with the word "mayor" and you have an idea as to the dark psychological drama being played out in This city.
While the Reporter could bring the application of the Stockholm Theory home to Dyster's doorstep with any number of examples we will, for the sake of this presentation, use the scandal of the frozen 72nd Street water pipes with which to prove our point.
It was Dyster's neglect that prevented the proper installation of the new water lines. The lines froze, residents suffered, Dyster denied responsibility for the problem, Dyster hid an engineering report proving the source of the problem, and then Dyster suddenly "took charge" in solving the problem. Dyster created the problem, caused the residents pain, and now he is promising to relieve the pain he denies having caused... and for this the residents are so very grateful to His Honor.
In a relatively normal, psychologically well-adjusted community, the 72nd Street frozen water pipe scandal would have resulted in outraged residents storming city hall and immediately demanding a solution to the problem. In any other community such a situation occurring in an election year would have unequivocally resulted in the incumbent mayor being resoundingly turned from office without question, discussion, or debate.
Here in Niagara Falls the elected official who made the frozen water lines possible tells the residents that he'll work hard to find the money for the repair (although he's already carelessly spent $90 million for everything imaginable except water lines) and that he is, after all, their only source of relief so they had better return him to office if they know what's good for them...and low and behold they give the mayor a primary win!
How else to explain the political success of Paul Dyster except to attribute it to the troubled mental state of the voters?