Enough of American politicians’ campaigning strategy


By Amanda Horner

(Political cartoon by Brian Regan)

Rarely ever does someone walk in for a job interview, shake hands and tell the interviewer, “You should hire me because the other candidates for this position are terrible people, and I am the least repulsive option. You’re welcome.” At least, if they have, they probably did not end up getting hired. So why is it somehow normal for our politicians to engage in this strategy? Well, just as though we were all in high school again, attacking somebody else is always far simpler than having to accept accountability for one’s own statements and actions. Yet, what is most insulting is the fact that the people creating and running these vicious campaign ads could possibly think they would satisfy American citizens. The whole “This guy over here eats babies” sort of campaigning is not going to cut it anymore.

This election season, according to The Huffington Post, over 80 percent of all campaign ads were attack ads (meaning they mention the opponent in a negative way, by name.) To compare, during the 2008 election only 9.1 percent were negative. The study, done by Wesleyan Media Project, concludes the reason for this astounding increase is the rise in interest groups and super PACs. Candidates this election put out less self-sponsored ads, only about 35.8 percent, as of this past April.

These negative ads are not only sickening, but for the most part, completely inaccurate. The truths in these ads have generally been stretched so much, it’s probably best to just assume that none of them contain any truth whatsoever. One can find more honesty on sites like Factcheck.org, and Votesmart.org to make an informed decision on a candidate. Still, with everyone attacking each other, it fails to make any of them appealing at all. By the time one is finally done through with a commercial break, Breaking Bad’s Walter White himself probably seems like a better option. Americans don’t want to hear what the other guy is doing wrong  we already notice! We want to know what a certain candidate running is going to do to make things better. If candidates are expecting citizens to buy into their rhetoric, they need to wake up. As for our citizens, we need to not deal with these ads any more, and get informed. With this election season over, we can all breathe a sigh of relief for the Nissan dealers and shampoo commercials we didn’t know we missed so terribly.

Instead of spending money attacking the opposition, campaign money can be spent far better, and not as insult to the intelligence of the American people. Politicians and interest groups can learn a valuable lesson from everyone’s favorite Mean Girl, Cady: “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter.”

These are wise words to take away because, clearly, nobody in politics learned any manners from their mother as a child.


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