Democrats Intent On “Winning Ugly”

According to The New York Times, “Democratic candidates across the country are opening a fierce offensive of negative advertisements against Republicans, using lawsuits, tax filings, reports from the Better Business Bureau and even divorce proceedings to try to discredit their opponents and save their Congressional majority.”

“The Democratic ads are like a prosecutor’s case, carrying no rebuttals or countervailing facts. Yet for all of the protestations that arise every election year about negative advertising, there is plenty of evidence that the attacks are effective, particularly against candidates without a deep connection to voters.”

“When you’re talking about whether an individual really belongs in Congress, you’re not talking about the national issues,” said Steve McMahon, a Democratic consultant who creates television advertising for several candidates in the party.
I might add that character, or lack thereof, is an excellent indicator of how a person might behave in office. That doesn’t mean I’m fond of attack ads, just that character is a defining issue for voters. Naturally, going on the attack is a also an indication of character, and a move that can easily backfire.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.