Gary Lindstrom: Don’t believe the negative ads
So when will this madness end? Please don’t say after the polls close. I hear that after every election, and things just seem to get worse. The candidates get more and more negative and the only people who benefit are the media, the political consultants and the people who design, print and mail the flyers.
The sad thing is negative advertising works. It is a proven fact. People love to watch train wrecks, car wrecks and the destruction of a person or a political campaign. We are drawn to the negative because it is so much more fun and exciting than the positive.
Some of my political heroes are our District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, Sheriff John Minor, and State Sen. Dan Gibbs who is now running unopposed for my old county commissioner seat in Breckenridge. Mark is term limited, and John is running unopposed also. All fine men. All fine politicians and all very positive people just trying to do a good job. They have the support of the Republicans and the Democrats alike.
I don’t ever remember any of them saying that they were going to save the world. None of them ever made any false claims about what they would do if they got elected. They are public servants running for office to do the right thing for their constituents. To them, being an elected official is a calling and not a job or a profession.
Until a few years ago the Summit Democrats and the Summit Republicans got along very well. There were very few contested races in the general election, but there were some great primaries within the two parties. I remember going to Democratic functions as a Republican and Republican functions as a Democrat. It was the Summit County way. We answered Rodney King’s plea of, “Why can’t we all just get along?” In Summit County we did “all did just get along.”
Some heavy-handed so-called conservatives moved to Summit County a few years ago and that all changed. The cooperation thing was over. Done for. Killed. Heaven forbid we might all agree on what is best for Summit County.
The United States Supreme Court decision in January did not help. The court affirmed that money is a form of free speech and therefore any law that might attempt to control the spending of money on elections is restricting free speech.
Today we have people running for office making false claims or claims that cannot be supported in their bid for election. We have people running that do not have a clue as to what the office they are seeking can or cannot do under the law. They are flat out not telling the truth. The sad thing is people believe them.
I realize that many of you have already voted so this might fall on deaf ears. For those you who have not or for those of you voting in the future I have some advice: Do not believe any of the negative ads. For the most part they are not true. Examine each candidate and see which one most closely matches your personal political beliefs and then vote for that person.
One comment I hear over and over again is that voters wish that there was a space on the ballot for “none of the above.”
Gary Lindstrom has taught social and behavioral science including political science and American government at Colorado Mountain College since 1983. He calls himself a “recovering politician.”
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