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Opinion: Make political ads positive

Ryan Scott

Ryan ScottLiving in a swing state during election season makes me feel incredibly important as a voter.

With that importance, however, comes the burden of having incessant campaign ads shoved down my throat.

While this is the first presidential election I have voted in, one thing stuck out in my mind: the sheer amount of negativity surrounding both campaigns.

President Barack Obama’s spokesman Adam Fetcher claimed the contrary about the Obama campaign, though. He said the campaign “sustained a positive message,” according to an article on Politico.com.

The Wesleyan Media Project, however, states that this election broke records for not only the number of ads aired, but also the number of negative campaign ads.

Almost 80 percent of ads for the Romney campaign and 85.5 percent of the ads for the Obama campaign were negative.

These numbers were a sharp jump from the previous two elections. The only presidential campaign that comes close is McCain’s in 2008, which used 75.9 percent of its ads to negatively attack his opponent.

But what’s even more disheartening is the lack of positive ads for each campaign.

Only 2.9 percent of the ads aired by the Republican party were positive, and less than one percent of the ads aired by the Democratic party were positive in tone.

“Neither candidate has been able to… put away doubts about themselves,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said in the same article on Politico.com. “So the only strategy is to introduce doubts about your opponent.”

Looking back at this election, these numbers and statements explain so much.

After careful consideration, I finally decided who to vote for last week. Once I cast my ballot, though, I felt like I voted for the lesser of two evils, rather than somebody I actually believed in.

I don’t mean to sound like a lame parent, but I feel we need to adopt a new rule for the 2016 election. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

This would not only eliminate the negative ads, but it would also severely cut down on the number of ads altogether.

That is an issue I’m sure could get bipartisan support.

Scott, a sophomore computer science major from Huntersville, is an opinion writer.

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