As the presidential election looks to be featuring two of the most polarizing candidates in modern American politics, we can expect a hard sell of potential stories and ads to try and make Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton more appealing. But the real deciding factor will once again be an avalanche of negative advertising, designed to tear down the policies and besmirch the personal behavior of the other side. Already, commentators are expecting an historical use of negative campaigning. And voters should be thankful for this.
Appropriately, negative ads and campaigns get a very bad rap. They turn off voters, demonize opponents for perfectly acceptable policy disputes and coarsen the political culture — all of these are legitimate complaints. But negative campaigns are still a breath of fresh air compared to the toxic potential of positive ads.