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The Blue & Gray Press | February 25, 2018

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Candidates Shoot at Each Other, Lose the Vote

By MARIAH YOUNG and JONATHAN POLSON
Ads, conventions, campaign tour visits; every four years, the presidential election seems like a never-ending event. Your television starts to function as a monotone loop of political buzz words, and your basic Internet sources become destinations for the faces that want your vote.

Pandora and Spotify play political ads in between your favorite songs, and not even a half-hour sitcom can be watched without an attack ad interrupting laughs. Welcome to the election season!

Ever since this election’s Republican candidates began throwing their hats into the ring, this election has become the centerpiece of American culture. The candidates have become celebrities, and the details and events of campaigns have remained top news around the country, even through the great split of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise.

With the expansion of social media in the past four years, candidates of this election have been given the ability to reach more eyes and ears than ever before. Even those who attempt to turn a blind eye to the political mud-slinging have found themselves being force fed platforms and opinions, left and right.

Both sides have taken advantage of this, narrowing in on convincing those elusive fence sitters to hop on over to their side. These attempts have consisted of accusatory statements, playground fighting and countless attack ads.

Instead of concentrating on the American people, and what is best for the country, both the Republicans and Democrats have chosen to practice their finger-pointing.

The closer we get to the election, the more we hear from each Party, informing us of why the other is not functional enough to serve in the White House.

Rather than clarifying their own stances and beliefs, each side attacks the platform of the other. Any opportunities to insult the words and actions of the opposite party are grabbed.

Every situation that makes major media headlines becomes a chance to bash the other side’s policies, views and statements.

The recent incident in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the loss of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, became a moment of hostility between the two parties.

According to CNN, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo released a statement Tuesday morning condemning “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” CNN later reported that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt never signed off on this statement.

However, just a few hours after the statement’s release, the Romney campaign put out a statement taking aim at the Obama administration.

CNN reported Mitt Romney stating, “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

The same night, the Obama administration replied to the comment from Romney’s camp stating, “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Gov. Romney would choose to launch a political attack.”

This playground warfare and back and forth accusatory statements show how out of touch each side seems to be with those who they are trying to receive support from.

Each side is focusing on having the last one to laugh, and being the first to make it to the finish line.

Political campaigns have always been dirty, but the amount of mud each side slings continues to increase as we grow closer to the election. The political ads we see on television, hear on the radio and read online do not solely exist to support a party, but also to bash the other.

These comments and ads do nothing but distract the people from deciding which candidate would be best for us, the voting public. Advertisements full of blasting and criticism do not inform the public of the candidates’ platforms, but rather make them appear to be nothing more than opponents climbing over each other to see who can reach the top first.

After the tragic shooting in Aurora this past July, Democratic strategist, Paul Begala, put it perfectly in a CNN interview when he stated, “No decent person hears about a mass murder and thinks immediately of politics.”