Negative Campaign Works

Paper Type: 
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1924 Words
Date:  2021-03-13

With the advent of political democracy, leaders get the chance to convince the masses to vote for them in elective positions. They ensure that they sell out their policies and ideologies in the best way possible to ensure that they win the votes at the expense of others. It is for this reason of exercising their political right to campaign and try to convince or sway the masses to their side that the political campaign process is likened to an arm-twisting contest where the winner takes all. Out of this mentality, there has been a culture of negative and unethical campaign processes marring the campaign process. Different researchers have all looked at how the concept of negative campaign works in the quest for elective positions. It will look at different sources to show how the concept of negative campaign can act to the advantage of political leaders in their political ambitions. Cases of the effectiveness of negative campaign works will be considered by looking at some of the campaigns by using President Barack Obama and 2016 republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump. The following annotated bibliography serves to explain how negative campaign works for different politicians:

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Annotated Bibliography

Johnson-Cartee, Karen S., and Gary Copeland. Negative political advertising: Coming of age. Routledge, 2013. In their book Johnson-Cartee et al in 2013 titled Negative political advertising: coming of age tackle the role of advertising in the quest for political posts. They use different cases particularly those in the United States of America. According to the book, negative political advertisement is defined as the different ways in which politicians use to mudsling their opponents while selling out their ideas. The authors further point that negative campaign is based on the fact that winning is the ultimate quest in any given elections and thus a candidate has to use different techniques that will deface and defame his or her opponent as a way of dissuading the clients from voting from the attacked candidate. In this case, the goal is to bring the opponents to ones side. Based on the ideas from the book, negative campaigns dominate all political venues where candidates use all forms of attacks and innuendoes that would serve to discredit their opponent as not fully fit to serve the people. The authors however conclude that while negative campaign can be labeled as unethical and evil, it has served a better purpose in attracting votes to those who master the art.

Cottam, Martha L., et al. Introduction to political psychology. Routledge, 2015.Just like any form of advertisement, politicians have mustered the art of using rhetorics to their advantage as pointed by Cottam et al in their book Introduction to political psychology. They have come up with different techniques that would endear them to the masses and make them vote for them in political elections. It is through this form of using rhetorics in political advertisements that psychologists have identified one common form of campaign rhetoric. They term it as negative campaign where a given politician and his or her team come up with a strategy that would serve to depopularize the other using tactics such as running contrast ads and negative ads as part of the negative campaign process. The authors point that negative ads are meant to slur and stifle the opponent's personality, opinions and records while contrasts ads are negative campaign processes where the politician decides to juxtapose him/herself with the opponent. The juxtaposition serves to show the character of the politician in good light while that of the opponent in the dark. In the book, the authors point at the manner in which negative campaign was used against President Barack Obama in his bid to become the president in the year 2008 and 2013. The campaigns were working as they resulted to decline in his popularity following the launch of the attacks. For instance, in the case of the 2008 election campaign period, the book reports at how Obama found himself in uncompromising positions in most of the cases. This was due to the negative campaigns orchestrated by his Republican rival John McCain and other media papers such as Washington Post, New York Times, Thinktanks and even his own opponents. The negative campaign was geared towards tarnishing Obama's pledge to adhere to the political campaign fund where one was required to have access to $85 from the Watergate Scandal members on condition that he would accept no funds from other sources. The campaign worked effectively as Obama lost some of his followers during that period. It concludes by citing other efforts to defame Obama by Donald Trump on matters regarding his identity. This cost him some white votes though he was able to pick up after re-visting his campaign process.

Marks, Eric, Mark Manning, and Icek Ajzen. "The impact of negative campaign ads." Journal of Applied Social Psychology 42.5 (2012): 1280-1292.

In their article The Impact of negative campaign published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 2012, Marks et al presents the different reasons why negative campaign works for different politicians. The authors point at the manner in which the politicians and their campaign strategists employ different tactics that only serve to popularize themselves while negating the campaign trail of their opponents. The fact that it is based on the concept of lies and rumor-mongering about the nature, personality and character of their opponents makes it negative campaign. From the article, it is evident that through negative campaigns, the masses are able to gain access to information that was privy to them before the campaign trail. They point at the case of the negative campaign advert raised by United States businessman, Donald Trump on the original birthplace of President Barack Obama in his bid to become president for the first time in 2008. Before the negative ad, little was known about the original birthplace of Obama. All that was known about him was that he was the senator of Illinois. The campaign and the conspiracy theories presented made people to dig deeper to understand who they were voting for in Barack Obama. This shows that negative campaign works better in politics. The negative campaign works also to support the manner in which campaign funds are used. It is thus for this reason that most politicians and their campaign teams embark on negative campaign that would serve to popularize their bid. It uses different studies carried out by psychologists who found out that negative campaign has the impact of persuading the not-yet decided voters thus showing the effectiveness of the campaign process.

Goldman, Seth K. "Effects of the 2008 Obama presidential campaign on White racial prejudice." Public opinion quarterly 76.4 (2012): 663-687.

While most underestimate the power of negative campaigns in the quest for political process, there are those who point at the different cases that show their effectiveness. Goldman Seth is one example of scholars who believe in the power of negative campaigns in turning political candidates into election winners. In his article titled Effects of the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign on White Racial Prejudice published on the Public opinion quarterly, the use of negative campaign practices by the Democrats in their bid to oust the Republican party to the president was successful. Obama's campaign team was able to build around negative campaign trails that juxtaposed the views on Republican hopeful, John McCain on the issue of social issues affecting the minority races in America. The campaign painted the Republican Party as being inconsiderate and only serving to propagate the high level of discrimination on the blacks, Hispanics and other minority. The negative campaign was effective in helping Obama win the approval of minority races and the young people who felt that he was the one destined to solve the problems facing the minority races. It is this form of campaign of de-popularizing the opponents using negative campaign against his opponents that won him the elections. The author concludes that negative campaign works by using the successful effect of using the cases of racial prejudice against the minority race by the white majority.

Trubowitz, Peter. "How the Trump factor came to dominate the 2016 election." USAppAmerican Politics and Policy Blog (2016). Never has the political campaign process in the United gained much momentum and coverage as the road to the United States 2016 presidential elections. This is a campaign that has seen both parties; Republicans and Democrats face off in tough campaign processes during the party primaries similar to the one witnessed in the final elections. One man who has stood out in the party primaries is business-man-cum-politician; Donald Trump. The suave and outspoken Republican Party candidate has redefined the manner in which political parties primaries are carried out in the United States of America. His direct and controversial nature of campaigning has seen him win both foes and fans and equal measure. His ability to use negativity as part of popularizing himself in the campaign process has seen him lead right from the start. He is the front runner for the party nominations ahead of popular senator, Ted Cruz. If he can win the party nominations, then there is little to stop the provocative and flamboyant politician. Trubowitz in his article How the Trump Factor came to dominate the 2016 election shows how negative campaigns work for those who learn to get the best out of it. Trump's campaign is an epitome of the power and effectiveness of negative campaign. This can be seen in the manner in which his policies are directed towards his opponents. His direct nature of courting controversy through juxtaposing his policies and those of his opponents shows how he is reaping the benefits of negative campaigns. For instance, his articulations and tweets on some sensitive issues such as building a wall barring Mexican immigrants from crossing over to the US, abortion and the issue of Syria has made him a favorite. Political analysts believe that his approach of saying things as they are serves as the reason why the negative campaign has been working for him. Trubowitz concludes that negative campaign works well if used to ones advantage and cites Donald Trump as one who is taking its advantage in steering his campaign process.

Mayer, William G. "Why Trump and How Far Can He Go?." The Forum. Vol. 13. No. 4. 2015.

In his article Why Trump-and How Far Can He Go? Mayer Williams point at the role of negative campaign and how it endears one to his supporters. He gives the example of how Donald has shaped his campaign process by courting controversy. His campaign style which has largely been dominated by barb trades and criticizing his opponents has seen him lead the primaries right from the start. It is through this aspect of Trump picking up political fights with everyone who comes in his way towards the presidential elections of 2016. The author points that Trump's style is one that makes use of negative campaign to his advantage as can be seen in the manner in which he espouses all his opponents as being evil and cowards. This negative campaign has seen him the one poised to win the Republican Presidential primaries and if he continues with this trend, nothing seems to stand his way to White House. The article thus shows that Trump's negative campaign is working well for him despite many doubting on his ability to even make it to the primaries. He concludes by pointing out that Trump's campaign is built upon the concept of negative campaign that uses the media to popularize anything despite its rightful or wrong nature, a move that has been serving his political ambitions and ideas well.


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