The only way to reduce the number of nasty, negative TV ads in political campaigns is to remove restrictions on donations—not impose new ones.
The majority of negative ads come from outside interest groups like labor unions that have spent hundreds of millions in recent elections. These organizations get donations with no restrictions--that’s a matter of First Amendment free expression –but they’re forbidden from coordinating messages directly with candidates. When you can’t work with candidates you like, it’s easier to simply go negative on opponents.
Donations to candidates rather than organizations are more likely to be used for positive messages, but those contributions are tightly restricted. If Americans want uplifting messages rather than attack ads we should end limits on contributions to personal campaigns, letting these contenders receive money now flowing to negative ads by outside groups.
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