Nasty Politics and “Low-Information Voters” Are Nothing New

by Ryan McMaken

During this year’s election cycle, the mainstream media has told us to believe that there is something shockingly nasty about the tone of this year’s contests. CNBC typifies this line of thinking with an article titled “Trump v Clinton: Why this election could be the nastiest in history.”

For anyone with a working familiarity of past political rhetoric, this claims strikes one as rather implausible. After all, accusing someone of being likely to destroy the world in a nuclear holocaust, as Johnson clearly did of Goldwater in 1964, is a pretty”nasty” thing to do. Moreover, critics of Ronald Reagan were not exactly known for their reticence, with Reagan and his advisors being called racist, “feeble-minded,” “senile,” “demented,” and “hypocritical,” in both public and private comments by his detractors.

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