by Chris Hayes|
Story of the Week,
Up w/ Chris Hayes
ABC’s Martha Raddatz did, I thought, on the whole, a pretty good job moderating Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, particularly when asking questions on her area of expertise, foreign policy. But her final question of the night, about the negativity and sordidness of electoral politics, really bothered me.
Here’s what she asked:
I recently spoke to a highly decorated soldier who said that this presidential campaign has left him dismayed. He told me, quote, “the ads are so negative and they are all tearing down each other rather than building up the country.” What would you say to that American hero about this campaign? And at the end of the day, are you ever embarrassed by the tone?
That soldier, of course, isn’t alone: Lots of Americans feel the same way. I’ve heard the same thing from random voters I’ve interviewed in every campaign I’ve covered. And it’s a recurring theme among the political press paid to cover politics to bemoan the nastiness and negativity of the thrust and parry of electoral politics. But it’s an impulse we should collectively resist, because it contains the kernel of an insidious view of the value of democracy and diplomacy and bureaucracy and the manifold ways that we as human beings channel and resolve conflict in a non-violent fashion.