Candidates fight dirty
by Matt Solomon, Staff Writer
In this election year, strategies taken by the respective candidates are off
to a start far different than in past campaigns. Generally, campaigning starts
out slowly and generally, beginning slightly before the party conventions. Candidates
campaign both physically and through television and print ads. Ads early in
a campaign usually just speak of the good attributes of the candidate and of
his plans for the presidency. After the campaign progresses and becomes heated,
then some candidates will use advertisements criticizing his opponents, known
as negative ads. This year, a much different approach is being taken.
Already in this election battle, fierce, negative campaigning has begun. Candidates have chosen to bypass promoting themselves and have jumped directly to advertisements brutally criticizing opponents and their policies. Another aspect of this campaign that has not been as present in the past are advertisers which do not promote any candidate but solely criticize one. This type of advertiser, like “Move On .org,” is a way of further pushing a party’s point without violating campaign finance laws ( See editorial on page 6.)
Generally, candidates do not counter opponents’ issues with their own until the first debate, which this year will be September 30th in Florida. This pattern has also been broken. A new strategy taken in both campaigns is responding to an opponent’s negative ad within a few days (necessitating extremely rushed sessions of writing and producing commercials overnight) with an ad that defends themselves and opens a new attack on the opponent. The cycle then continues with the opponent creating a defense / attack ad as well. Ads like these are being broadcast across the country, however, the majority of battling in Ohio will take place as the election progresses and becomes more competitive.
Starting negative ads so early in the campaign can influence the outcome in several ways. It may be that by the time the election rolls around everyone will be so sick of the advertising and feel apathetic. It may also create a furor of ill will between the two parties as they continue attacking each other, thus making the election more vicious and more competitive. Furthermore, depending on what the outcome is, this change in campaign strategy has the potential to change how future campaigns are conducted. This early start and addition of vicious negative ads by campaign organizations not associated with a party can change a campaign and potentially change the next four years.