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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Mudslinging in presidential campaigns obscures real solutions

    On Aug. 11, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finally told to the political world that he had chosen U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, from Wisconsin, as his running mate for the election. But even before the official announcement, the Obama campaign had already tweeted about Romney and Ryan four times.

    And thus, the dirty, muddy, slanderous political campaigning goes on.

    The Obama campaign has continued to tweet things like, “Paul Ryan is an architect of the top-down GOP budget that cuts education, energy, & innovation even as it gives tax cuts to the wealthy.” Tweets also included “Romney-Ryan: The Go Back Team” and “The no. 1 thing you need to know about Paul Ryan: He’s extremely conservative — at the expense of the middle class.”

    Mudslinging is a political tactic that has been used for hundreds of years. During the 1820s, John Quincy Adams called Andrew Jackson’s mother a prostitute and his wife an adulteress. While Romney and President Barack Obama aren’t going as far as saying that each other’s mothers were loose with gentlemen, they still sound like kindergarten bullies.

    There isn’t completely conclusive evidence that a negative campaign will gain or lose voters. In 1994, the American Political Science Review published a study that suggested that attack advertisements drive potential voters away. In 1996, the UCLA Center for Research in Society and Politics found the opposite.

    But there is a reason campaigns involve mudslinging: if someone is mean, instinct says be mean right back.

    However, this is one of the most politically divisive times in U.S. history since the antebellum era. The 112th Congress may be the least productive Legislature since 1947, according to USA Today. While people complain about Obama not doing anything, the real problem is that Congress isn’t doing anything.

    It is the president’s responsibility, however, to convince Congress to pass bills and to unite the legislative branch for the greater good of the country. Instead of tweeting about the other guy’s problems, his campaign should try tweeting solutions.

    While mudslinging may be effective in getting a candidate elected, it divides the two political parties. Right now we don’t need a candidate who is good at being mean, and we don’t need a candidate who won a dirty election.We need a candidate with the ability to lead. We need a candidate who can unite the two parties so that they can finally agree on something and stop trying to repeal health care reform for the 31st time.

    Negative campaigning may be a good political strategy. It may work wonders for getting a candidate into office. But getting a candidate into office means nothing if he or she isn’t going to get anything done. It’s easy to say that once the election blows over, all that negativity will be forgotten. But it won’t. The two parties complain about each other more often than John Boehner gets a spray tan.

    Maybe, under a good leader, the children in Congress will finally put aside their differences and work together — but that doesn’t seem likely in a race filled with candidates who are calling the other party’s candidates big meanies.

    — Dan Desrochers is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at or on Twitter via @drdesrochers.

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