Get Political Wire by Email:



March 21, 2012


Why We Have So Many Negative Political Ads

Paul Begala: "The biggest reason negative ads are so ubiquitous in politics, but much less common in commercial advertising, is this: elections present a mutually exclusive choice. It is legal to buy a can of Coke and a can of Pepsi on the same day, but you can't vote for Obama and Romney in the same election. That mutual exclusivity pushes campaigns to frame the choice more sharply. Imagine if we had Cola Day once every four years -- and you were stuck with your choice for those four years. Coke would say Pepsi makes you fat; Pepsi would counterattack that Coke makes you impotent. And they'd go downhill from there."

"So the next time a public moralist starts lamenting the role of negative advertising in our political system, just explain that it's an outgrowth of the stakes involved. As the old saying has it, politics ain't beanbag -- and a political campaign isn't selling soft drinks. The outcome matters -- and influencing it is worth every negative word or image a candidate and his team can muster."












POLITICAL WIRE PODCAST

Political Wire Podcast Engaging conversations about elections and the political issues of the day. Subscribe via iTunes or RSS to get episodes automatically downloaded.


FREE NEWSLETTER




TRENDING VIDEO



PARTNERS











FOLLOW US