US candidates willing to say anything to get noticed
Peter Loge of Milo Public Affairs said “there is some evidence that indicates negative advertising energizes your base. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it.”
America has a long history of negative political campaigning, going back as far as George Washington.
“The American people just don’t like mean spiritedness, but if there’s a clever jab sometimes that can work really well,” said Loge.
Ads in American political campaigns have come to a point where the goal is to be highly controversial in order to achieve expanded free coverage in the media. This trend was exemplified visible in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against John Kerry in the 2004 US Presidential Election.
Social media is having a new impact on political ads, but so far it is unclear what that impact will be.
“Social media drives us to self-selection,” said Loge. “We may be seeing more online of what we’ve seen in the fragmentation of media,” said Loge, driven by self-selection based on personal preferences and biases, where individuals will seek out items that fit their interests.