Why is politics so negative, in contrast with marketing, its private sector analog, even though every participant claims to detest it?
To a candidate, convincing an uncommitted voter to vote against their rival by tearing them down is as valuable as convincing someone to vote for you. Getting someone who would have voted for your rival to not vote is also as valuable as another vote for you. Switching a rival’s voter over to your side is worth two votes, since it adds one for your side and subtracts one from their side.
The greater negativity payoff in politics is intensified because voters are less informed about what they are being sold than private sector customers.
The effects are worsened by the fact that rebutting accusations is far more costly and difficult than making them. And since politics, unlike marketing, is not subject to truth in advertising laws, non-truths are then piled up on the half-truths.
The only real solution to the escalation of negative politics is reducing the power of government over our lives, returning more control to the voluntary arrangements we make for ourselves.