Third Party & Independents Archives

Why All The Hateful Bickering During The 2016 Campaign?

Today’s headlines are full of some of the most rancorous comments and insults in recent memory. The 2016 presidential campaign seems to more of a schoolyard fight than that of well educated adults. Some say it’s due to the atmosphere the competition breeds and others say it’s the media. In fact, there’s nothing new and what we see today actually pales in comparison to presidential campaigns of the past.

If you think Donald Trump is a nightmare with his caustic comments, bigotry, and wisecracks, you've not seen anything until you read about the elections of the early American landscape. In those days, even the Founding Fathers traded insult and mudslinging with the best of them. Opponents left no stone unturned when it came to digging up scandal and spite. The newspapers were full of such events and the politicians of the day took advantage of the free press. As a matter of fact, what took place in the late 1700s and early 1800s would never be allowed today.

Thomas Jefferson is a prime example. Not only was he on the receiving end of insults and slander, but he was no slouch when it came to firing back likewise. Benjamin Franklin had a wit about him that could take down any wiseacre. James Madison could hold his own too. They had to in those days as the battle for supremacy over the newly established nation was in high gear. That the colonies broke from Britain and Europe meant untold riches were denied the old countries. The American Revolution upended dreams of wealth and power and the country still had two-thirds of the continent to go.

This brought about hate and vengeance via the foreign powers and their allies in the states. Some weren't interested in the new rights and privileges established by the Constitution and wanted to exploit any and all resources, man, animal, mineral, with no sense or morals, ethics, nor responsibility. This then forged the financial support for political attacks. News periodicals and any print media was fought over and in some cases bribed or extorted into submission. In today's media climate, only a handful of corporations own all aspects of the news except that which is now internet based. To it's tribute, the massive new media and press manned by the public has taken over a great deal of media time. Social media networks in particular. The viperous comments, and ridiculous rhetoric abound on the web based media venues, but also in-depth reporting and analysis is to be found there too, the equal of, if not the superior to the corporate news media.

During the 20th Century, elections were corralled with new laws and guidelines, but they didn't last long. People are easily swayed when statistical fact is not presented or cited. Those who would try to manipulate public perception by giving out inaccurate and misleading information, are quickly exposed on the web, unlike in years past. Thus you have a more vehement exchange of hostile comments between the political camps, but they're no more caustic than those of the framers of the United States.

Politics is said to be another form of street fighting. Considering where it's been and where it is, that might be considered an understatement.

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