I don't know about the rest of you, but in this election year I'm sick and tired of all the political mud slinging.
Issues and what a candidate wants to accomplish seem to have taken a backseat with personal attacks on the opponent seemingly the order of the day where political campaigns are concerned.
Like many of the states, we're having primary elections in August to determine which candidate will represent his/her party in November in the general election. Even though it's not a presidential election year, many senators and representatives will be elected to the U.S. Congress and also various senate and representative elections to state legislatures and state governor elections.
I've been suffering through a constant barrage of tasteless political commercials literally from the first of the year. We have two particularly vicious campaigns going on where I live. One is for an open U.S. Senate seat (the current holder of the seat is running for governor rather than seeking re-election to the Senate) with two U.S. Representatives from the same party (one of them from my district) vying to be their party's November candidate for that Senate seat. And in the other race we have two local people from the same party vying to be their party's candidate for that U.S. Representative seat from my district that will be vacated because the current holder is running for the U.S. Senate.
Vicious attacks. Mud slinging. Half truths. Outright lies. Blatant manipulation of the voter through the use of emotional buzz words. Claims that are literally an insult to the intelligence of the voter. Statements where you shake your head and wonder why in the world the candidate thought anyone would possibly believe that.
One commercial that started airing a week ago was so ludicrous that the candidate's opponent (the object of the attack) called a press conference to refute the charges rather than striking back with another attack commercial of his own which resulted in a couple of the local television stations sending news people to the candidate making the charges to ask for confirmation of the accusations. The candidate was only able to produce a couple of several year old documents and they showed the validity of his accusations to be only about 10% accurate with 90% of his accusations filled with blatantly misleading innuendo devoid of any factual backup.
It also prompted at least two of the local television stations (one being the local newscast that I watch) to make an on-air statement saying that it's literally illegal for television stations to censor, alter, or refuse commercials from a legally registered political candidate in an upcoming election even if the language or images are considered objectionable (but not legally banned from the airwaves). The only discretion they have is in refusing ads from third parties not produced with the candidate's specific approval. Thus the tag line on political commercials these days that says, "I'm so-and-so and I approve this message." So, that specific commercial is unfortunately still on the air since it was approved by the candidate.
What has happened that the issues are no longer important in a political election? I can understand with two candidates from the same party in the August primary election where one is the incumbent and the other is a newcomer hoping to win the party candidacy for the general election that the newcomer will be attacking the record of the incumbent as a way of saying, "I can do it better." And certainly in the general election in November where you have candidates from opposing parties, they will have opposing positions on the issues and each will be trying to sell his/her view of what is best. But political campaigns where it seems that the entire commercial budget is used for mud slinging personal attacks?
With two candidates from the same party (therefore supposedly the same basic position on the issues of the day) where neither currently holds an elected office, they each seem to believe that the only way to run a campaign is to make personal negative attacks on their opponent rather than putting forth positive information about themselves.
I know "they" say that politics is a dirty business, but does it really need to be muddy dirty?
Now, let me share a little something personal with you. My brother is an elected representative in his state's Legislature. He is up for re-election this year for his fifth term and this time he's running unopposed. No challenge from a member of his own party for a primary runoff and no one from the other party registered to run for his seat which means he won't have an opponent in the November general election. Thus, he will be re-elected.
He has, on more than one occasion, refused assistance from his own party in the form of campaign commercials because of the type of commercial they wanted to do…the half truth/innuendo type of personal attack on his opponent. My brother and I are not of the same political party. However, my brother is one of the rare ones from either party who tries to put a positive face on politics. As a seasoned veteran of the system, he's not coming from the perspective of the naïve newcomer. He understands the ins and outs of the system but still continues to run a clean campaign and not sacrifice his ethics. He actually listens to his constituents and tries his best to represent what they want rather than merely pushing his own personal beliefs and agenda on various issues in the Legislature.
I keep asking him if he has any plans to run for national office rather than state. His answer is to not give me an answer. :)