This year’s election cycle was touted to be one of the most critical in history due to the high possibility that the Republicans could gain control of the Senate and retain control of the House. Some races were too close to call beforehand, which only increased the animosity displayed both candidates from both parties. It seems to be a common desire to run a “clean” campaign with opponents promising to stick to the facts and leave the skeletons in the closet. However, noble these desires are it’s almost inevitable that the skeletons come to life and break free from their hiding place to declare to the world their wrongdoings.
This scenario is currently being played out in a series of episodes of the CBS show The Good Wife. The main character Alisha Florickk is running for Illinois State Attorney. Her opponent proposed a pack to fight fair, although the tides quickly changed as egos were bruised, juicy information was discovered, and the fierce competitors were released from within. As I mentioned before, this isn’t an original storyline, we are actual witnesses and possibly players every two years in this real life drama.
A couple days before the midterm election, ABC News released “The 7 Most Controversial Ads of Election 2014.” Some of them are par for the course, but one in particular struck me as so far over the line that it leaves me wondering who thought this was a good ad. It was the Alaskan Senate race between Democrat Senator Mark Begich and his Republican opponent Dan Sullivan. Begich tried to capitalize on a heinous Anchorage crime where a toddler was sexually assaulted and her grandparents were murdered. Obviously, a terrible story to include as a ploy for politics, but translated this campaign from bad to worse was the fact that Begich’s campaign leadership didn’t pull the ad when the family of the deceased requested it.
This type of risky marketing is exactly that….risky. Some of these advertisements could be the thing that pushes the vote favorably for the one who decided to play dirty or it could cause such damage that the necessary votes could be lost forever. I’m not very involved in politics and don’t find gossip or airing dirty laundry entertaining so I tend to side with the candidate that keeps it mostly clean. Because let’s be honest, all politics is is marketing.