Negating the negative political ads

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As of 8 p.m. Saturday, the 2019 Louisiana Gubernatorial Primary elections are over. And, the runoff election period has begun. We now have five more weeks until the runoff on November 16, 2019.

There are several political races yet to be decided, some statewide and some local. As such, there are just a few things that I feel need to be said at this point.

First of all, I hope that this recent primary election allowed you to exercise one of our most basic American rights and privileges, the right to vote. Secondly, I hope that the candidates of your choice won their particular electoral race. However, if your candidates did not win, I hope that you can support the winners in an amicable fashion and that you can find some way in which to feel that you are being fairly represented by those soon to be holding political office in our great state. 

All of this being said, I want to ask our local and statewide political candidates to stay focused on the issues at hand and to refrain as much as possible from all of the negative advertising that we were repeatedly hammered with during the recent primary election period. 

Obviously, I am a newspaper man. So, of course, I want as much advertising as possible. However, how refreshing would it be if  the advertising for our upcoming November runoff elections took on a more positive focus? What if the political candidates who made the runoffs focussed the majority of their advertising efforts on their own positive character traits, skills and abilities? 

Randy Brown, publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune

I truly believe that candidates should focus on informing the voting public as to what they can do in order to promote positive change and economic growth in terms of the issues with which we are faced in today’s technologically advanced and ever changing world. In short, what do you bring to the elected position that you are seeking? I don’t care about how bad and horrible your opponent is, I want to know what you bring to the table. Let me know what your goals and ambitions are for the political office you are seeking. 

Over the last several days and weeks, I have heard the usual complaints about all of the seemingly endless negative political advertising to which we are exposed during every election cycle. It seems that negative political advertising gets remarkably worse with each passing election cycle. These days, basically no degree of negative political advertising or “opponent bashing” is considered out of bounds or unfair. Essentially, no part of a person’s past or background is considered off-limits if this person is seeking political office. 

Unfortunately, a rather large majority of the negative political advertising to which we are exposed so often fills us with both assertions and facts —sometimes true, sometimes untrue — that we really don’t want to know and honestly don’t need to know. Most of the time, these “facts” have absolutely nothing to do with a candidate’s abilities and the skills they possess in relation to properly performing or carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the political office they are seeking.     

Several times through the years, I have dreamed that I ran for political office. The political office I was seeking was not revealed in the dream. What I do remember, however, is standing up on the political platform to make a campaign speech at a forum regarding the anti-negative advertising policy that I planned to follow during my campaign. Essentially, I told those in attendance that my opponent(s) could say anything they wanted to say about me. However, I was not going to retaliate. I was going to refrain from all negative attacks on my opponents in any manner. I was going to stay positive and focus solely upon what I thought I could accomplish. My, how refreshing this approach would be.

So, let me ask, is a concept such as this an attainable reality or merely just a dream?  

Randy Brown is publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com