If you don’t understand what political mudslinging is about, all you have to do is compare television ads for various candidates during an election cycle, at least in the United States. In modern elections, candidates seem to spend more time telling voters how bad the other guy is, and instead of expounding on their own principles and platforms, they only try to convince voters that they aren’t quite as bad as the opponent. Many candidates attack not only each other’s issues, but also attack each other on a very personal level.
Worse yet, at times political mudslinging may also include members of a candidate’s family. Outright accusations are rarely necessary to achieve the goal of creating scandal. One may simply use innuendo or hyperbole as forms of political mudslinging. In other words, one does not have to prove that the other candidate is corrupt or dishonest; he or she only needs to plant that seed.
Enough political mudslinging can lead to a candidate dropping out of the race, especially if his or her family is being viciously attacked. Political mudslinging can become so ugly that is can cause a potential nominee to lose favor with his or her political party. The prospective candidate may then have no choice but to bow out, as the party distances itself from the candidate.
Unfortunately, political mudslinging appears to be the rule rather than the exception in today’s election climate. Attack ads are commonplace, and in fact, their prevalence may cause them to backfire as voters grow weary of these tactics. If one candidate attacks another, it may make the attacker look far worse than the opponent. Also, the fact that political mudslinging has become so common has made it lose some of its impact. Negative ads don’t tend to have as much shock value as they once did.
Many voters prefer candidates that run on important issues instead of utilizing political mudslinging to attack their rivals. For the most part, voters would rather know what their preferred candidate intends to do regarding issues they are concerned about instead of being subjected to rumors and ugly gossip about an opponent. Political mudslinging may have been successful in the past in some cases, but it’s hardly an effective way to sway today’s savvy voters, many of whom are quite concerned with the direction this country is heading in. In today’s political climate, candidates would do well to run on their own record rather than attempting to run on their opponent’s misdeeds, or allegations thereof.