Negative Advertising, December 26, 1990

Monday, July 9, 2012

In recent weeks I’ve written about the appropriateness, about the essential nature of negative advertising.* The simple reality is that incumbents aren’t going to tell you why they don’t deserve to be re-elected. Unfortunately, the media in our day and age is more likely to react to what candidates say than to take a pro-active, watchdog roll to educate the voting public.

To win, particularly if you are challenging an established, well-funded incumbent, your campaign has no choice but to take the initiative. The negative ads don’t need to be raucous or vulgar, and they certainly shouldn’t be misleading or dishonest, but they do need to be emphatic, to point out the incumbent’s shortcomings in kind and professional, but no uncertain terms that will attract the voters’ attention.

In researching the subject, I came across the following column published in the Baltimore Sun some years ago, almost 22 years ago on December 26, 1990 to be precise. As it turns out, the author is familiar. It’s me. The handwriting at the bottom is my mother’s, always my biggest fan. I thought it was an interesting piece of history worth running a second time. Just click on the link below to see the PDF.

Why Campaigns Have To Be Negative

-Next Contestant

*More recent articles include:
Negative Advertising: An essential means of voter education.
Negative Advertising: Changing voters’ minds.
How to beat the incumbent when yours is the minority party.

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