Knowing Candidate Antidaote to False Accusations

November 08, 2013
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Election smears reduced by voter experience with candidate

Another campaign season has almost ended in the City of Atlanta.  Run of elections are yet be held for a number of races.  But a trend in this election cycle was running a negative campaign.  It has seemed to mirrored national races of the past 20 years that were successful as painting a candidate something that they were not.  The classic case is the Senate race between Max Cleland and Saxby Chambliss, where Senator Cleland was portrayed as not being a patriot after serving in Vietnam having lost his two legs and right arm. 


I witness a local race where the incumbent was accused of a high absentee rate from city council meetings.  After providing detailed information to refute the charge it remained in the mailings and on community chats up until the election.  Furthermore some of the community newspapers continued to report the erroneous information as stated by X or Y candidate.  Then the major local newspaper provided a fact check on the issue agreeing with the incumbent.  The incumbent won with over 60% of the vote. 


Another race in Upstate New York has the same perimeter for a county wide race for district attorney.  The challenger quickly portrayed the incumbent as soft on crime and incompetent.  Former judges and the local paper defended the incumbent and they won.  The issues were cited all the way through the election.


While on a national election is it harder to have that personal connection with voters that actual know the integrity of the candidate.  On the local level where a candidate has met or been seen many times by the voters, it is harder to prove the lack of integrity without true validation and providing a broader context to the issues.  Candidates running for office need to not skew the facts to create a narrative that is false, as in the end they will risk their own integrity.


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