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The Insiders
Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 08/16/2012

Political advertising is dangerous for democracy

I have written before about the unique nature of political marketing and its negative impact on our democracy, and what I’ve said bears repeating as the negative ads pile up. Political advertising is the only form of marketing that consistently devalues its category. Candidates will practically do or say anything to get elected because unique to their sales challenge is the need to get 51 percent market share on a certain date. If you don’t, you not only lose, as people have pointed out, they also take your produce off the shelf.

Product marketing doesn't do this. Tide could attack Cheer to get a little market bump, but Cheer would respond, and soon nobody would be buying detergent because things would be, well, a little dirty. This is exactly the kind of market degradation that has made our politics so reviled by so many. The consequences are not limited to campaigns; they now impact our entire democracy. How can you govern without any semblance of trust? And how you can have any trust when candidates have won office in a way that has not only compromised their credibility but reinforced the cynicism that already infects democracy?

My current "favorite" example of political marketing cynicism belongs to Mitt Romney. He is currently running an attack ad attacking President Obama for running attack ads! That kind of says it all.

By  |  10:10 AM ET, 08/16/2012

 
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