Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a cynical, but well-paid man (or woman), known as a Political Consultant (PC for short), had a brilliant but diabolical idea. The PC discovered that it was much easier to help his employer (known as C ) defeat his opponents by painting them as evil, stupid and criminal than it was to convince the public that C was upright, moral and brilliant and therefore worthy of the public’s support. PC referred to this strategy as “The Yuck Factor”. By repeating the message of the opponents short comings (whether partially true, taken out of context or entirely made up), the public would reject the opponent because he or she was simply “yucky”.
This was done on a relatively small scale at first; start a rumor that was carried through gossip, print an unflattering picture in a flyer, etc. But as society and technology progressed, it became much easier to spread the “yuck” far and wide.
The opponent has two choices in this situation. 1) Ignore the accusations. The danger is that people tend to treat an unanswered accusation as the truth or 2) Sling mud at the C.
Predictably, the opponent usually opts for choice 2 and we are off on another election campaign that appears more like a preschool mud-throwing contest or a junior-high schoolyard fight. All hopes for a campaign based on thoughtful discussion and debate about the truly serious issues we should explore goes by the wayside.
Political campaigns and elections are hard – for the voters. Our job as voters is to look beyond the muck and mud, the half-truths and the outright deceptions and find the gold-who or what can you support that most closely reflects your beliefs and values. Good luck to us all !