By Sara Nydam |Staff Writer|
Negative campaigns prove to be an effective way to sway voters but are harmful to the decision making process of those listening.
Although you like to believe you judge people based on merit and reputability, it is human nature to focus on the bad rather than the good.
This is why attack ads have worked in the past and will work in upcoming elections, because “there’s nothing like a sinister portrayal of a greedy, self- centered villain, replete with grainy images and menacing music, to stir up our unconscious minds,” reported The Los Angeles Times.
I believe that attack ads normally begin as ridiculous exaggerations of events that occurred when the candidate was out of the spotlight but unfortuantely end by swaying voters in an untruthful way.
Consciously, you think to yourself that it’s wrong and unfair for a candidate to bring up old dirt about their opposing candidate.
Unconsciously, you think to yourself that you wouldn’t want someone who’s been rumored to have tried LSD in the 80’s to run your city or maybe even your country.
Let’s examine the current campaign involving Neil Derry and James Ramos, both of whom are running for the upcoming position of San Bernardino County Supervisor.
Together, these two candidates will be able to start a Mexican mafia as well as a White gang, according to campaign strategies that bring up rumors about the candidates.
Derry recently slammed Ramos in an attempt to air out his dirty laundry, labeling him as a “‘Casino Boss’ with ties to the Mexican mafia,” reported the San Bernardino County Sun.Ramos fired back by saying voters “deserve something better than these types of gutter politics.”
While I believe that voters shouldn’t ignore attacks made against candidates, I think that they should search deeper for the truth instead of relying upon information that may be exaggerated or entirely untrue.
“[Attack ads] make you think, discrediting someone in a negative way, instead of using facts. They just use an ad hominem effect,” stated student Erik Whitaker.
Derry’s attack specifically was both racist and profound but has brought attention to other relevant information regarding Ramos as a citizen.
“Ramos personally benefits by receiving millions of dollars in casino profits- but he doesn’t pay any state or local taxes,” according to the San Bernardino County Sun., “He contributes nothing in taxes from his casino profits to our local schools or our local communities.”
Although I am glad that Derry’s campaign has surfaced what I think is important information about Ramos, Ramos’ campaign has also surfaced information about Derry that voters should know.
Derry was accused of laundering money from a campaign contribution in 2008. He failed to report the contribution in his campaign report and was sentenced to 3 years of probation, reported the San Bernardino County Sun.
Despite this, as the incumbent it is much easier for Derry to win the upcoming election on June 5th and his vile attack ads may help him in the polls even more.
It is difficult for me to make a choice on who to vote for when negative campaign ads surface because it is nearly impossible to know who to trust.
Although attack ads are effective, I encourage you not to believe them all but instead take into consideration comments made about candidates and evaluate what is being said. In other words, make sure to do your research so you don’t fall for attack ads.
Negative campaigns are more often just an untruthful way to throw off another candidate and make that candidate look untrustworthy when in reality, the only untrustworthy person is the attacker.
My suggestion is to stick to your gut and even though negative ads can be persuasive, learn more about the candidate instead of strictly believing what’s said about them.
Photos by Sara Nydam