Jobs, economic growth, taxes and health care are buzzwords pushed in every political ad. According to students, these ads are not doing much to tell listeners the candidates’ plans. A political campaign tactic commonly used in today’s races is mudslinging, or criticizing or insulting an opponent with the aim of damaging that person’s reputation.
This is a prevalent problem in politics and is evident in Wisconsin’s Governor Race.
Some citizens criticize that candidate’s hard-earned campaign dollars are spent on trashing challenger’s proposals rather than informing voters of their own.
“The uneducated voter will vote for who they dislike least,” senior Travis Brown said. “It’s all about bashing the opponent.”
Big bucks are spent on television ads but other forms of communication are used to contact voters. A number of flyers, radio ads and tabling volunteers contribute to the outreach strategy.
“I think it’s important for them to reach out, but calling my phone is taking it too far,” senior Heather Zarzecki said.
“It comes down to who has the most money,” Zarzecki said.
While student perspectives differed about candidates, it was clear the spiteful, malicious campaign strategies were unnerving and annoying.
Jerry Ugland, a community member who volunteered at the voter registration booth, attempted to remain nonpartisan.
“The negative campaigns do nothing but deter people from voting,” Ugland said.
An important part of any functioning democracy is a high level of civic engagement. A political process rooted in spending large sums of money on toxic advertising can turn away voters.
For students, choosing a candidate is not about making sacrifices, but many find themselves choosing the lesser of two evils.