Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 - History - 267 pages
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Going Dirty is a history of negative campaigning in American politics and an examination of how candidates and political consultants have employed this often-controversial technique. The book includes case studies on notable races throughout the television era in which new negative campaign strategies were introduced, or existing tactics were refined and amplified upon. Strategies have included labeling opponents from non-traditional political backgrounds as dumb or lightweight, an approach that got upended when a veteran actor and rookie candidate named Ronald Reagan won the California governorship in 1966, setting him on a path to the White House. The negative tone of campaigns has also been ratcheted up dramatically since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: Campaign commercials now routinely run pictures of international villains and suggest, sometimes overtly, at other times more subtly, that political opponents are less than resolute in prosecuting the war on terror. The book also outlines a series of races in which negative campaigning has backfired, because the charges were not credible or the candidate on the attack did not understand the political sentiments of the local electorate they were trying to persuade. The effect of newer technologies on negative campaigning is also examined, including blogs and Web video, in addition to tried and true methods like direct mail.

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Eye of the Beholder Defining Negative Campaigning
What Good Old Days? Notable Developments in Negative Campaigning from the Late Eighteenth Century through the Dawn of the Cold War
Going Nuclear 1964 The Rise of Television Attack Ads
Dismissive Politics The Governor against the Actor
The Truth Shall Rise Again Brock versus Gore for US Senate 1970
Confrontation Bluster and No Compromise The Campaigns of Jesse Helms
DoleGingrich Going Negative Early and Often
The Politics of Fear Negative Campaigning in the Post911 World
A DoubleEdged Sword When Negative Campaigning Backfires
Hitting the Mark Negative Campaigning Efforts That Just Plain Worked
Its in the Mail Negative Campaigning Comes Home
Conclusion The Future of Negative Campaigning
Selected Bibliography
About the Author

Opening the Floodgates Campaign Finance Reform and the Rise of Negativity

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About the author (2006)

David Mark is a senior editor for The Politico.

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