Spotting the good guys

Well, 2018 is an election year. Planning has begun for congressional, mayoral, gubernatorial and other races, not to mention campaigns for the state Legislature and County Council.

We realize that this is undoubtedly asking the impossible, but we’d like to reiterate a plea we make every election cycle:

To all the candidates — and the independent political action committees that back them — please foreswear the attack ads that seem to dominate modern campaigns.

Every election year we write at least one editorial — usually many more than that — condemning these ads. Unfortunately, as the 2016 election proved, negative advertising is the rule.

But personally, we are much more attracted to candidates who extol their own virtues instead of attacking the other folks in the race. Despite poll after poll showing attack ads work, we have an innate sense that most people would rather vote for a candidate, instead of against one.

Perhaps that is naivete on our part, but we always wonder about the motives of any group that spends thousands of dollars ripping apart someone with the guts to run for office. The next time you see one of these ads on TV, ask yourself: Why aren’t they talking about what their candidate will do if elected instead of trying to scare me away from his opponent?

After 48 years watching elections from a media viewpoint, we think candidates and campaigns can be summed up by three axioms:

1. People who fail to present positive ideas in advertisements don’t have any.

2. Nasty campaigns are run by nasty people.

3. Candidates who will do anything to be elected — or let things be done in their name — are not worthy of your vote.

There are good, honest candidates in both parties and on every side of every issue. Spotting them is easy — the good guys debate their opponents. The bad guys debase theirs.

(Portions of this editorial have appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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