How to campaign

To the Editor:

As we head into the fall election, rumblings about “negative” campaigning have already begun. What do we mean by “negative” tactics? Our bipartisan board of directors would like to share our perceptions on the subject with candidates from all parties, at every level.

What’s positive?

• Explaining how your policy on a particular issue differs from that of your opponent. This is a legitimate, in fact, necessary element of any campaign. Tell us what you stand for and how it is different from your opponent’s policy.
• Painting a vision of the future. Tell us what you plan to do and why that will make our state better.
• Working hard to connect with as many voters as you can. Explain your record. Tout your experience and your abilities without criticizing your opponent personally.
What’s negative?
• Launching personal attacks on your opponent. That practice should have been left behind in junior high (or as it’s now called, middle school).
• Defining your opponent with derogatory labels and slogans. They are not informative and they insult the voters’ intelligence and sensibilities.
• Demonizing your opponent. This practice only demeans the one doing it.
• Taking words and phrases out of context and twisting their meanings. This practice should be beneath the dignity of honest candidates and parties. Manipulating your opponent’s visual image is a similar form of deceit.

We can have a hard-hitting, full-bore campaign on the issues without sinking into the muck of negative campaigning. Iowa voters are more than ready for a civil, respectful contest. We sincerely hope the candidates and their parties will deliver.

Jean Lloyd-Jones, Iowa City; Maggie Tinsman, Davenport
Co-chairs of 50-50 in 2020.

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