October 20, 2010

Why Negative Political Ads? Because They Work.

These quotes are paraphrased to prevent voter confusion.

Jack Conway on Rand Paul - Kentucky Senate Race
"30 years ago, my opponent was reportedly involved in a hazing ritual in which he tried coercing others into worshiping a make-believe deity called Aqua Buddha."

Chris Coons on Christine O'Donnell - Delaware Senate Race
"20 years ago, my opponent dated someone who was involved in witchcraft."

Here's a local one for you Illinois' folk.
Pat Quinn on Bill Brady - Illinois Governor Race
"My opponent wants to take dogs destined to be put down via euthanasia and put them down en masse, rather than wasting the state money to euthanize them all individually."

These accusations all became television commercials. In fact, I am trying to recall a single campaign commercial I have seen during this election season that spent more than 10% of its air time touting their own beliefs, and not denouncing their opponents as morally bent, and unworthy of the honor of public service.

Why do they do this? Because it works.

We are obviously that stupid. We like the idea of "good" people being in charge of us, and when all we are fed is the candidate's dirty laundry, we pick the person with the smaller stain.

It works. There are really smart campaign managers getting paid a lot of money to win elections. It's not marketing. It's the opposite of branding in fact. It's denouncing. It's short-term bullying. And it works. What if you were to say you refuse to vote for a candidate who puts out a single negative campaign advertisement regarding their opponent? Because that's where I'm at. And I'm not sure if I'd ever be able to vote again.