Well that was the philosophy of Richard Nixon, and while many have suggested he won in 1972 using underhanded tactics, documents released today prove this was the case. So what sort of tactics are we talking here? When dealing with opponents, Nixon's rule was 'hit them and hit them hard', in the spirit of this, an AP report claims he "tried to tie Democrats [George McGovern and running mate Sargent Shriver] to the mob, gay liberation and even slavery". While it seems an unlikely cocktail of crimes, Nixon's plan seemed to be to undermine them on different levels via different media.
McGovern, now 85, commented that this offered “another example of how the Nixon administration drifted away from both common sense and decency.” But I wonder. Negativity is now the mainstay of political campaigns, the difference is that the messages are screamed at voters via television advertisements as opposed to being surreptitiously placed into the newspaper's gossip columns. Nixon may have been typically underhand in his methods, but was he an aberration or the forefather of modern US political campaigning?