Listening to some news shows lately (such as Morning Joe), it is interesting to hear them discuss how vituperative the campaign between Romney and Gingrich has become. They discuss how such do not speak much on what they will do, but more on why the other person should not be elected.
As I’ve thought about this I see two issues not being considered.
First, we live in the Internet age. When they say that Reagan and Thatcher did not have to go uber-negative, they neglect to realize that there was no 24 hour news cycle back in the 1980s. Nor were there websites, blogs, or Drudge report. It is easy to destroy the other person by gaining control of the media cycle. Afterward, one can then establish his own credo by explaining his views without a strong competitor.
The second issue is that there have been extremely negative campaigns since the beginning. The media of the day discussed the possibility of Thomas Jefferson having an affair. Reagan was very negative towards Pres Ford in 1976, and would not support him in the convention. There were some very negative campaigning between McCain/Huckabee against Mitt Romney just 4 years ago, including a huge attack on Mormonism.
That today super PACs can be established with endless cash flow for media issues, one can also understand why so much more money will flow through the system this time around.
Does anyone think that there could ever be a successful campaign today with just nice, clean ads?