Negative Campaigning 101
I wonder when it all changed regarding elections for political office.
The change I’m referring to is one in which candidates no longer talk about what they are going to do but rather what’s wrong with their opponent.
There must have been a specific campaign in which a candidate and his/her staff decided not to bother exaggerating about all the good things they would do if elected. In other words let’s not make those promises because we likely can’t fulfill them anyway although we voters had gotten accustomed to being lied to and accepted it as part of the campaign process.
In truth by the time the person took office we usually had forgotten what they promised to do anyway.
So let me get back to the change which in my mind has taken place fairly recently.
Promises that would never be kept were simply not good enough to get voters, many of whom were apathetic, in your political corner. It just wasn’t juicy enough to move them to flip the lever for a particular candidate. However what might move the needle is telling you about all the things that are wrong with my opponent. That way instead of me admitting that I have no answers about the problems facing our town, county, state or country (whichever applies) I can put the focus on the shaky background of the “other guy.”
There had to be one significant election for political office in which this was the strategy used and it turned out to be a winning one.
So now what we get are TV and radio commercials, print ads, flyers and even signs that don’t promote the virtue of one candidate but just rip the other. It is Negative Campaigning 101 and it’s the direction we have now grown to accept as the norm.
What’s even worse is we can’t separate facts from fiction because the rhetoric spewed at times makes you believe that some of those seeking our vote are just awful people. There seems to be no accountability as you can say whatever you want whether it’s true or not.
You know we were actually better off just voting for those who we knew were making false promises. Boy I really miss those days.