Negative campaign tactics are being used on both sides of the aisle in the Delaware Senate District 10 special election, and they are hurting our voting populous. Many people are not only disturbed by negative attack ads that focus on personal attacks instead of issue-oriented advertisements, but some are actually deterred from voting at all. Delawareans need the truth about their choices between various candidates. They need to know the truth about policy, and ethical and moral standings. Vague and often personal attacks are just the opposite of what is needed in today’s political climate, and should not be tolerated by voters or candidates seeking office. It does not matter who throws the first stone—if you respond in kind, then you are just as guilty.
Importantly, many (if not all) of the negative ads that you see in mailers and on television are not coordinated or perpetuated by candidates’ campaigns. They are funded, created, and carried out by third-party PACs that are not allowed to coordinate with candidates or their campaigns. However, candidates seeking office should denounce and reject this kind of behavior from third-party PACs or other entities.
Should we point out difference in the ideals, policies, ethics, and morals of two or more different candidates? Absolutely! If one candidate is pro-choice and the other is pro-life, should people point that out? Yes, but they should do so in a way that is both tasteful and respectful. If one candidate wants to abolish environmental regulations, should anyone be afraid to call that into question and bring it to the light of day? No, we should never fear speaking the truth of a matter. However, it must be done in the right way, and in the context of the entire objective truth.
Running personal attack ads about someone’s “having too much baggage” (a vague and personal attack), or lying and saying that a candidate opposes a woman’s right to choose when they have repeatedly expressed the exact opposite, is unacceptable. So are ads claiming that a candidate is a bad choice just because they belong to a certain party, especially when the candidate has expressed opinions that do not strictly follow the party line. Ads and accusations like this are not helpful when voters try to make an educated choice for their future. As voters, we need real policy positions on which to base our choices, not half-truths and vague slander.
We need our candidates and third-party PACs to treat voters as intelligent adults who want real, detailed, and valuable information, allowing us to make the best decisions when voting for representation. The increasingly negative tone of the Delaware Senate District 10 special election race that is being perpetuated by these third-party PACs is a disgrace to our democracy, and will further alienate voters and decrease participation in the political process.