Creating a Clean Slate: Stopping Presidential Mudslining Before it Begins


There is no denying that the 2016 presidential race has been immensely entertaining. With candidates calling one another ridiculous names, getting into screaming matches with one another during debates, and just being outlandish in general, this race to the White House has captured the entire world’s attention. However, is this kind of attention something that America should be proud of; do we want our potential commander in chief to be nothing more than a joke to foreign nations? And do we honestly long for a president that is incapable of having a level-headed debate with fellow politicians (politician who generally care about the same issues as them)? I do not think so, and I believe that is not the image that other Americans want for our future leader either.

Unfortunately, presidential candidates resorting to mudslinging throughout their campaigns is not a new trend; presidential hopefuls have been mocking and lying about their opponents for hundreds of years. Candidates have always loved using these lower tactics to get voters on their side. And voters love a loud, mean candidate. We love it because it makes the candidate seem like a real person and not just a political figure, someone who could be your neighbor or coworker that you gossip with daily. Therein lies the main problem. A president should not be an average, every-day person. A president of the United States has power; they have got to above average in all aspects in order to effectively do their job.

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A president, first and foremost, needs to be honest. Constant dishonesty and makes a person seem extremely untrustworthy– not exactly a quality fitting of a president. For example, Hillary Clinton is currently hoping to become America’s first female president. Recently, she has aimed her campaign to the millennial generation by attempting to use socially trendy slang terms and phrases (very poorly, I might add), and she also has flip-flopped on many of her stances on hot button topics in order to try and appeal to more voters. This makes her seem very untrustworthy; if she will say anything to get our votes, what is stopping her from going back to her original stances once she is in office? Nothing at all. Next, a candidate needs to be level headed in tense situations, as well as an effective speaker- they need to know how to get their point across without sounding hateful or insulting. Republican nominee, Donald Trump fails at both of these qualities miserably. Hands down, Trump has been the most hateful candidate in the 2016 presidential race. He mocks and disrespects other candidates, mediators, reporters, and practically anyone who disagrees with him on anything. These candidates were not always like this (at least to not this extent). So what has caused them to fall so short of the qualities needed in order to properly run this country?

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We have. The voters are directly responsible for the current strategies employed by the presidential candidates. We have placed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the front of the line in this race, despite their true lack of credentials. We attend their rallies decked out in their t-shirts, carrying signs with their campaign slogans on them, and chanting their names over and over again. We donate money to their campaigns, we place their campaign signs in our front yards, and place their bumper stickers on our cars. And while it may seems harmless, these actions show candidates that they can behave however they want and still have unbounding support. As the voting public, it is our responsibility to make sure that the right person is placed into office next year. And a candidate that constantly switches sides on important issues or conducts themselves no better than a child while debating with fellow politicians is not that person. It may seem like a daunting task; correcting century old trends does sound quite impossible. After all, who is to say that the candidates will even respond in the way we need them? For that matter, what are we even supposed to do or say in order to make them change their unprofessional behaviors? We can look at the past for answers.

There have been a few times in history when the voting public decided that enough was enough; they were not going to tolerate outlandish mudslinging campaigns from a candidate who deemed himself worthy of governing our nation. Back then, it was as simple as not giving the particularly ridiculous candidate the votes they needed. Nowadays, a lot more is required in order to get through to the candidates that the voters mean business. We, the voters, caused this problem by supporting candidates we found entertaining and relatable. We lost sight of the fact that those qualities are not important for a president of an extremely powerful nation. The candidates may be constantly throwing mud throughout their campaigns, but we are the ones responsible for placing them in the pig pen in the first place.

We have to create a clean slate. We need to let the candidates know that we will not stand for or support a candidate that treats the presidential race simply as if it were a reality television show. We must stop giving support to candidates that utilize hateful strategies. Do not purchase their merchandise. Do not attend their rallies. Do not tune into their televised speeches. Do not place their campaigns signs in your yard or on your car. Do not donate money to their campaigns. And if you mention them on social media or anywhere else, make a point of stating how foolish their behavior has become to you. Simply cut off all methods of support to them if they continue to use unintelligent methods of campaigning.

Without the voters support, appearances, and money, a candidate will become invisible: the absolute last thing that a presidential candidate wants just a few months from elections. They will have to rely on their own money to fund their campaign, news and media outlets will stop broadcasting their speeches because no viewers will tune in, and sponsors and venues will pull out of their rallies due to lack of attendance and revenue. Therefore, a candidate will be left with no choice but to change their campaign, or drop out of the race altogether. And the fewer immature candidates the better.

What we will be left with our candidates who take the presidential race seriously and properly. Candidates who not only make sure to stick to their beliefs despite majority public opinions, but remain calm and collected when it comes to potentially explosive topics and debates. The candidates left with our support will be adults who focus on explaining their plans for our nation, not children who focus on the physical flaws of the other candidates. In short, if we only give our support to someone who truly goes above and beyond the average candidate, we will have a president who is above and beyond as well. And is not that what our country desperately needs right now? I certainly believe so. We have had enough presidents who refused to take their role seriously; it is time to let a true leader emerge from mud thrown by candidates who are no better than pigs. It is time us, the voters, to stop treating candidates like reality television contestants, and treat them for what they really are: potential presidents of our nation.

Works Cited

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“Donald Trump under Fire for Mocking Disabled Reporter.” BBC News. BBC, 26 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 May 2016.

Goldman, Julianna. “Donald Trump vs. Marco Rubio Gets down and Dirty.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 27 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 May 2016.

Hess, Amanda. “Does Tweeting “Yaaas” Make Hillary Clinton More Likeable, or Less?” Slate Magazine. The Slate Group, 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 May 2016.

“Infinite Unknown.” Donald Trump Leads Hillary Clinton 41 to 39 in Latest Rasmussen Survey Comments. Infinite Unkown, 2 May 2016. Web. 10 May 2016.

Mclelland, Mac. “Ten Most Awesome Prential Mudslinging Moves Ever.” Mother Jones. Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress, 31 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 May 2016.

Mclelland, Mac. “Ten Most Awesome Prential Mudslinging Moves Ever.” Mother Jones. Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress, 31 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 May 2016.

Popp, Evan. “Hillary Clinton’s Leftward Flip-Flops.” Consortiumnews. Consortiumnews, 22 July 2015. Web. 10 May 2016.

Press, The Associated. “Is Donald Trump the New George Wallace? Anger, Fear Fueled Both Campaigns, Critics Say.” Alabama Media Group, 24 Mar. 2016. Web. 10 May 2016.

Ungar, Rick. “The Dirtiest Presidential Campaign Ever? Not Even Close!” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Aug. 2012. Web. 10 May 2016.

Zoom, Deep. “GOP Presidential Candidates Debate 2015 – Best & Memorable Moments Video.” YouTube. YouTube, 27 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 May 2016.