Recently I went on a long weekend trip to North Dakota. It is an annual bird hunting trip with family and friends. I look forward to this every year. Lots of fun with great people and dogs, enjoying the rugged beauty of the prairies and the wildlife.
It is a refreshing vacation, taking me away from the stress and responsibilities of today's hectic life for a few days. On election years, it used to be a break from the negative, attack political ads that flood the mail and airwaves in Northwestern Wisconsin. It's bad enough to have to put up with them, but where I live, most of the radio and television stations come from the Twin Cities market, so I have to tolerate ads for candidates who aren't even running for offices that represent me.
I say the North Dakota trip used to be a break from the attack ads, because up until this election cycle attack ads seemed rare out there. To be fair, I don't watch much TV out there, but when we travel from hunting spot to hunting spot, there wasn't much for attacks on the other candidate.
But, this year they caught up to the rest of us with a vengeance. Pretty much every ad was a negative ad and with good reason (I guess). It's been pretty well documented that negative ads work. Researchers have found that we humans remember negative things better than positive. Plus, when a politician only talks about how bad the other guy is, it's one of the few times they can actually be honest.
On our way back this year, I heard the ultimate attack ad. I dare say the mother of all attack ads. It was a radio ad of the format of two everyday people talking back and forth about a candidate. You know the format. It sounds like two friends talking over coffee, or at the grocery, or at the break room table at work.
It went with one person saying how the candidate (the ad was attacking) supported one thing, then the other person saying the candidate was against one thing and how that will further hurt the economy. Then the first person said this candidate was aligned with another political figure and will only vote along party lines.
Then came the kicker that set it apart from the thousands of ads that followed the above format. The second person said "and I really don't like the way she is running her campaign." The first person replied "I know! Her campaign is a bunch of negative attack ads against (the other candidate). That's not how a campaign should be run."
That's right folks, an attack ad attacking the other candidates attack ads.