There has always been debate; this special election cycle is no different, in the media and now amongst social media about dirty campaigning. We are again abuzz and aghast with the campaign mail hitting homes, websites popping up, Facebook posts and parody twitter accounts from candidates, independent expenditures and political activists challenging certain things as crossing the line as attacks, going negative, slinging mud and dirty politics. How dare you sir!
Going back to early United States history you see the mudslinging from some of our most distinguished and cherished elected officials. It was never pretty. My point is whether attacks are really mudslinging is in the eyes of the beholder. For the attacker, they will claim they are only exposing the side of the candidate voters should be aware. Just reaching back to our last mayoral election we hear from insiders and outsiders, “Why didn’t anyone tell us about former Mayor Bob Filner?” Umm, that would be a charge of mudslinging, right? What rises to the level of presenting the facts about a candidate or mudslinging? The only answer I can see is depends from where you stand; making it or receiving it.
Another interesting angle is when one slings mud claiming it is the guise of casting the light on another’s mudslinging. A negative on a negative, classic! I had to hand it to the independent expenditure supporting former Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, they did the negative on the negative and went one step further, showed a photo of him and his family with mud splatters on them. The mailer suggested the attacks they were defending were on the whole Fletcher family. No one has ever made any attacks on his family, but just the candidate.
In the end, the candidate needs to stand on their record, the good and the bad. Those snarky comments by supporters of a candidate crying foul need to be judged on not how they respond to when their candidate is attacked, but how they respond when their candidate or the independent expenditure in support of their candidate attacks the others as well. Mud will fly this election cycle, if you aren’t being hit, then you are throwing it. Splat!