Candidates should focus on issues, not smear tactics

An editorial from The Inter-Mountain 

ELKINS, W.Va. — For all of its benefits, reading posts on social media can be like reading graffiti on the bathroom wall – particularly, it seems, where local elections are concerned.

Some local politicians have been taking cues from their national counterparts by launching smear campaigns against their opponents. And they’re using Facebook and other social media outlets as their war rooms.

We don’t need to name names; you know who you are.

Rather than running clean campaigns focusing on their own strengths and qualities, some candidates are choosing to go negative. It’s easy to slam an opponent from behind a keyboard, without having to deal with a face-to-face response. Why bother with a public debate when you can trash talk your opponent from home in your pajamas?

Facebook doesn’t need more drama; it already has plenty. And it’s low-grade, vitriolic rubbish. Nothing says “low class” more than a public tirade on the Internet.

Here’s a fact: There are plenty of issues in North Central West Virginia which need to be discussed. We have school levies, local budgets, underfunded public services, decaying infrastructure. Each community has its own individual problems and projects.

These are issues on which candidates need to be articulate and well-versed. These are the issues which affect voters on a daily basis.

Local candidates need to focus on these issues, whatever they may be, instead of on their opponents’ perceived faults. If you’re running for a local office, talk about your own history and qualifications. That’s what voters need to hear, so they can get a true sense of the type of person you are.

Torching other candidates online may get you some attention, but it’s the wrong kind. Any voter with half a brain will see right through the political smearing to the simple truth: Anyone who would waste their energy tearing down someone else isn’t fit to hold office.

Voters need to feel positively about the election process. Smack talk only besmirches the entire process, and nothing good can come from that.

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