Tackling the opponent instead of state issues



Ominou music. Pictures of Illinois in disarray. Depending on whose ad it is, some general statements about how the opponent is going to ruin the state if elected. Rarely, if ever, has there been a campaign by a Republican or Democrat that didn’t involve a heavy focus on slamming their opponent.

With Rauner grabbing the Republican nomination, the stage has officially been set for what will likely be a very competitive election. That means we, the voters, must be subject to the endless bombardment of political ads that will supposedly convince us that the other candidate is unfit to be governor.

Both parties have wasted no time with this and already their campaigns are hitting childish lows. Quinn recently released an ad that compared Rauner to Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons” and Rauner fired back by paying actors to dress up and parade around as “Quinnocchio” because Pinocchio lies and apparently so does Quinn. Regardless of which candidate you support, these are antics one would expect from  fifth graders running for class president, not two grown men who want to be governor.

While it has been this way for decades, it is sad that campaigning is essentially a candidate tearing the other down rather than focusing on why they themselves would be worthy of votes. For myself and likely others, it has gotten tiresome. Not only that, but it hasn’t bolstered any hope that either candidate will be good for our state.

Candidates spend millions on their campaigns. Much of that goes to preparing and filming commercials in which they have only a few minutes to deliver a message to us. With such precious, expensive time, one would think that they would try to deliver a powerful message on how they will bring about change. Instead, more often than not, they focus on the faults of the other person.

Personally, I can’t help but call into question the character of any candidate that would devote so many resources into degrading their opponent. What kind of morals and integrity are they really showing with these ads? It’s easy to make an ad that makes someone look bad, but to me it would be much more impressive to see an ad that solely focused on the individual’s campaign. That would go much farther to getting my vote at least.

It’s a vicious cycle, with candidates firing ad after ad at each other with the voters caught in the crossfire. If you don’t react fast enough, the other candidate may have tarnished your reputation for good. I remember the infamous debate over John Kerry’s military record and how he initially failed to respond to the criticism. By the time he had and began to question George W. Bush’s own military record, the damage had already been done. Research later showed  that none of the criticisms were true, but it still proved to be a turning point in the election.

It’s a shame that elections can’t simply be about the issues with political campaigns leaving it to voters to decide who has the better morals.

Despite all of this, come this fall I will still vote. Elections of such gravity are too important to not have a voice. Even after having to endure all the negativity and ugliness these campaigns create, I’ll still send my choice of who I think is “best.” But I can’t help but dread if whether or not I’ll be choosing someone that I actually think will be a great leader or if I’ll simply be choosing the lesser of two evils.


Nick Ulferts is a junior English education major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to 



2 Responses

  1. Irene L. Ulferts

    I just became aware of your articles and how to get them. Read the Tackling the Opponents article and I agree with you 100 per cent!!! It is so refreshing to get opinions from the younger generation!! It makes me feel that maybe there is hopes for this country after all!!! I am so proud of you — keep up the great work . Hope to see you over Easter Love

    I have just found out about your articles and how to pick them up – read the tackling the opponent piece and I agree with you 100 per cent. It is so refreshing to read such a good article and written by a ISU student . Makes me think with young people like you there is still hopes for this country. I am so proud of you! Hope to see you over Easter weekend. Love Gm

  2. Dr, Hackenbush

    Excellent commentary from a young voter. Even though most of the time we are choosing between the lesser of two evils, we need to do so. There have been so many elections that have shown us that every vote counts. Remember the hanging chads in Florida? Just a few ballots can change the direction of history. We have a great responsibility to be educated as citizens, and to stand up and be counted, to make our voice heard, especially when big money is tainting our elections and buying our politicians at every level of government service.


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