Don’t be negative

On the way to the 2004 presidential election, Howard Dean seemed to be winning the democratic nomination in Iowa. Last second, he lost to John Kerry. Part of the reason he lost was because he ran a commercial that featured him on a white background bashing his opponent.

This type of situation happens more often than it should.

Politicians and their supporters know how negative ads work. Negative ads bring opponents down, but they also hurt whoever’s giving the information.

That’s why, with the rise of Internet campaigning, supporters are realizing the need for micro sites. A micro site is a website that’s funded and usually operated by the campaigning party. But it’s not a main site. They try to make it look independent.

Micro sites are important for a couple of reasons:

  1. Voters are more likely to trust an independent source than a politician’s main site. An independent site doesn’t seem as biased, even if it does have the fine-print disclaimer at the bottom.
  2. Micro sites can bash opponents without the negative reputation hitting the campaigner so hard. Independent sites provide some insulation.

Because, in politics, they know firsthand how destructive negativity can be, for both sides.

It’s a lesson we could all learn. Maybe that’s what this whole post is about, just a long way of saying, don’t be negative. Or, to take my own advice, be positive.