May 2, 2008

Vol. 23 , No. 09   


View Entire Issue (Vol. 23 , No. 09)


Claremont Colleges Debate Union: America Should Prefer Negative Campaigning
GERALD DAVIS '11
CASSANDRA GURROLA '11
ELIZABETH SCHMITZ-ROBINSON '11
NICK WARSHAW '09
AARON CHAMPAGNE '10, moderator
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2008

In a survey of campaign conduct, the Institute of Global Ethics found that “more than eight in ten voters say attack-oriented campaigning is unethical, undermines democracy, lowers voter turnout, and produces less-ethical elected officials. And 60 percent are ‘very concerned’ that candidates attack each other instead of discussing the issues.” But research also indicates that voters react positively to negative campaign advertising, information, and tactics – negativity may increase voter participation in the electoral process. It is certainly the case that candidates and political consultants do not shy from ‘going negative.’ As political organizations, government officials, and the public work to improve campaigning, should reforms emphasize that candidates and campaign consultants adopt strategies that are more respectful or more effective? Please join members of the Claremont Colleges Debate Union for a lively debate on the topic, “America should prefer negative campaigning.” The audience will have an opportunity to engage participants during a comment and question period during the debate. Heckling is also encouraged.
The Claremont Colleges Debate Union is the nation’s largest and among the most successful college debate societies. Students have won three national championships and ranked in the top ten in the nation for 15 consecutive years. Students have won top honors at international contests in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Korea, and China. The Debate Union additionally sponsors scores of live and broadcast public debates and discussions each year, as well as national and international educational outreach programs for thousands of secondary school students.