SPRINGFIELD — You don’t have to look far to hear candidates pledging to run clean campaigns focusing on the issues.
But how many put that in writing?
According to a review of state election records, just 99 of the more than 740 candidates running in the 2012 election in Illinois signed their names to the Illinois Fair Campaign Practices Act, which calls on office-seekers to “follow the basic principles of decency, honesty and fair play.”
“I will not use or permit the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or his personal or family life,” the pledge notes.
As the nation heads toward the Nov. 6 deadline, voters may be getting a taste of why so many candidates ignored what is known as Article 29B in the state election code.
Mudslinging is commonplace in national and local races because the stakes are so high. The winners — candidates and parties — get control and power. Losers go to the sidelines to begin plotting their rise in the next election. ...
Kerwin Swint, a political scientist at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, told CNN in August he believes the presidential race will get progressively nastier as November approaches.
Swint, author of “Mudslingers: The 25 Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time,” also said negative campaigns are not new.
In particular, he pointed to the Lyndon Johnson-Barry Goldwater match-up in 1964 that kicked off the television age of negative campaigning with what became known as the “Daisy” ad.
The advertisement, actually called “Peace, Little Girl,” shows a girl pulling petals from a flower. A male announcer then begins counting down from 10. At zero, the image of the girl is replaced by the mushroom cloud of a nuclear blast, suggesting that Goldwater’s election could lead to nuclear war.
“That’s the one that set the modern standard,” Swint said.