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Campaigns and Campaign Advertising

Our current campaign- advertising system markets candidates just as we market automobiles and beverages. It can be hard to draw the line of when the media is overstepping it’s bounds or being manipulated by politicians, interest groups or the government and when it is simply performing its duty by informing citizens. With the 2016 election in mind, the advertising and marketing strategies (primarily by Trump’s campaign) were in fact brilliant. However, ethics come in question when creating commercials for candidates who could be running our country that resemble advertising for commercial products. Trying to “sell” candidates has an odd feeling of being connected to “buying” election results. If candidates were forced to stand in front of cameras to explain their thoughts on issues or policy, it would likely decrease the impact of ads merely glamorizing the candidates. This tactic of turning candidates into celebrities (or as in the 2016 election, turning celebrities into politicians), is seeming to decrease the American interest or investment in politics. While forbidding candidates from using negative advertising or mandating television networks to provide free political advertising sounds appealing in theory, there could devastating problems in constructing and implementing such rules. First, forbidding candidates from using negative advertising goes against the individual’s freedom of speech and the right to criticize or call out other candidates on their fallacies. Similarly, mandating television networks to provide free political advertising could turn consumer’s off from an interest in politics. I believe a major problem in the 2016 election was having politics too much in people’s faces to the point of individuals (typically ones out of the center of political activity) were disinterested by the time of the general election. The mannerisms of the 2016 election turned American politics into a reality television show and a running joke for the rest of the world. If the United States wishes to be taken seriously again, it needs to revive it’s polite sportsmanship and quit trying to sell every single aspect of today’s society. Politics should not be a business, elections should not be a show, and politicians should not be celebrities. When the stake of the nation and individual liberties are at stake, it should be taken a bit more seriously.