It is easy to understand when the election day is getting closer – just count the number of negative ads sponsored by politicians, organizations or big companies during the commercial breaks on TV each night. For example the Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson caused a political firestorm this week by releasing an ad in which he dubs his Republican challenger, Daniel Webster, “Taliban Dan”. I think this kind of campaign tactics are awful and I wonder how many people really think their politicians should support the negative ads, it spills over on their own reputation not to be able to win in fair play. But that might just be a naive Swedish reflection? I would like to see some research on this topic though.
No wonder that we now have an all time high in fundraising in this election – somebody has to pay for all the ads! Washington Post estimate the price tag for the midterm elections 2010 to $4 billion! Congrats to the lobbyists and the advertising agencies.
It is very unclear though who is supporting the campaigns, negative or positive. According to the CNN the issue of anonymous donors using outside groups to push voters to or away from any given candidate has been heating up for years. CNN: “It works kind of like this: If Candidate A decides to run for Congress because he’s really had it with the influence of big oil companies, those same companies can spend millions to attack his positions and suggest Candidate B is a better choice, and if they do it through the right type of perfectly legal group, the company never needs to risk public knowledge that it was behind the effort.” Dirty politics is just the right word for it.