This is a class discussion post that needs to be approximately 2-5 paragraphs in length.
***Discussion Post should be followed accordingly each question asked needs to be answered.
********I will post the students response below. With the Student response it should be 1 paragraph in length reply to the students disccusion.
Chapter 11 highlights the continual debate among political scientists as to whether negative campaign ads help or hurt a candidate’s prospects of winning. Regarding whether or not negative ads ‘work’, Hershey notes that these appeals are often useful because they are memorable and emotionally engaging. However, “after the individual has made his or her choice, attack ads are likely to depress turnout, especially among people who are not strong partisans” (pg. 220).
Where do you fall on this debate? Does negative campaigning garner your attention by providing useful information? Or does negative campaigning cause you to tune out? Explain and provide current examples of ads from Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial race.
************************ Student Response #1 ***************************
I am not fond of ad hominem and character attacks during elections. Voting for a candidate should be done so with policy as the priority. Our politics have become so divided and the political discourse has become tasteless because we focus on destroying the opposite party, rather than highlighting why one specific candidate suggests more effective policies. Those who are not politically active share that empathy to vote because they find politics disheartening and malicious. Campaign ads should outline why each candidate is qualified for the job, and what policies they intend to implement as solutions for the problems identified. Our Georgia gubernatorial race has garnered significant attention as we approach election day. Candiate Brian Kemp has released several controversial ads, including some that describe Candidate Stacy Abram’s tax debt to the IRS. As important as it is to pay taxes (regardless if you knowingly failed to pay because of family medical expenses), Kemp should be instead focusing on why his policies are superior to Abrams. Voters want to know what you are going to do for them once in office, so spending your campaign resources on attacking the other candidate for aspects outside of their policy stances is counterproductive. Likewise for Abrams, who has pointed out that Kemp owes $500,000 in personally guaranteed money from a business investment. I understand that the goal here is to illustrate Kemp’s inability to make smart financial decisions, but the priority for Abrams should still be her policy solutions to problems like healthcare and immigration. I think voter turnout would increase over time if the direction of our political discourse was altered. Changing the subject of our debates to pry in further detail the policies each candidate stands, and avoiding unnecessary character smears will encourage the average folk to show up to the polls in greater numbers.
I typically do not put much emphasis in campaign ads, as most of them are just destructive rhetoric. I also do not think they are particularly informative. I’d rather do some quick research on the internet to find out where each candidate lies on the issues at hand. I understand that negative publicity is still publicity, but as I stated before, I am more concerned with who is actually going to be the most effective official if elected.
************************ Student Response #2 ***************************
As we have read in our text for this week we have seen that political campaign ads are legally maintained at the lowest cost possible so that those running can afford to put their message out to the public. This is great for democracy and yet also harmful because the network has no say as to what will be in that ad. The message can be baseless and still allowed to be broadcasted. I personally find that most of these ads tend to be taken in my viewers on an emotional basis and not backed by complete truth. These ads tend to take the truth out of context and simply provide for a reaction that leaves that particular candidate looking unfit for the position they are competing for. If I were a person who was not majoring in Political Science I might be caught up in the half-truths or complete falsehoods of the ads themselves but I know better. I find that mudslinging is lazy and does nothing but mislead the voter into voting against that particular person. In this light, one must ask themselves of the honesty of either party taking part in “mudslinging”. Our reading has stated that this kind of strategy does work and in fact, history has shown us this. Yet, once more I have to question the integrity of those running to resort to this in the attempt to gain power. If they are willing to go so low to gain power what will they do to maintain that power?
I do not watch television all that much and the negative ads tend to have me shaking my head because the keywords used more often than not are your typical partisan vocabulary which categorizes the candidates as ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ and its a fact that our political system is becoming more polarized politically. I find this to be a terrible injustice for those who take voting seriously because again…these tactics are lazy and do not give much truth in the way of the people running. Keywords trigger voters into thinking a certain way without ever looking into the candidates themselves. I wouldn’t say that I personally ‘tune out’ but it doesn’t help me make a choice and often as in this case leaves me wanting to stay home and not vote. I find that those who are not informed to a fair degree on either candidate should consider doing the same as voting simply based on partisan association is damaging to all levels of government. I found a New 11 source which highlights two specific attack ads which Abrams and Kemp take part in.
Kemp attacks Abrams as working with socialists, government-run health care, and a vote which took place 10 years ago which “allows sex offenders to work within 1,000 feet of schools”. The reality is that these individuals apparently were unable to find work because of these constraints. This bill was passed by a huge majority. Only 29 Democrats voted against it. This is a huge misrepresentation of Abrams as she voted AGAINST the bill.
Abram’s attack on Kemp involves sexual predator activities which are a hot-button subject for any politician. The allegations include a massage parlor employee asking that the person accused to stop repeatedly and Kemp ignored these requests. The Secretary of State handles these allegations and is under Kemp’s jurisdiction. This leaves him with the image of not caring about sexual assault, women, and unfit in the position he currently is responsible for. The statistic states that 96% of these claims were ignored. Kemp’s camp states that these are not true but the fact remains that the Republican party was the first to bring these allegations up well before Abram’s camp ever touched the narrative.
I need to do more research on the matter but if there is a third party or an independant I want to look into that person. If they do not fit into ideas I can support then I’m staying home and doing school work. 🙂
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