Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Perils of Negative Campaigning

The race for Mayor is in full swing here in DC, with pamphlets arriving in the mail every other day, and lawn signs as far as the eye can see for Linda Cropp, Adrian Fenty, and a couple of others. I've taught sections in my class about negative campaigning, its effects, ethics and impact on fundraising in a national campaign; but it has only now become real to me on a local level. Put plainly, Linda Cropp has sent no fewer than three mailings telling me what an A-hole Adrian Fenty is. She has indeed created reasonable doubt in my mind about what kind of person and public servant he might be. But here's the catch: Linda has, as of this posting, given me NO reasons to vote for HER. Fenty's mailings have been uplifting but very nonspecific, with no response to Cropp's quite extensive accusations of mismanagement, etc. So, what to do? Well, I'm researching them both to find the kernel of truth that lies in between the campaign literature for and against.

What do I think will happen in the end? I'll probably vote for one of the other candidates, unlike a good number of DC residents who will simply say "to hell with them both" and stay home on election day. And it will just fuel my desire to move out of DC. Because if this is how they both campaign, I am not interested in seeing how they govern.

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