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Negative rhetoric ramps up ahead of midterm elections

(NewsNation) — At a virtual campaign event Thursday night, just 18 days out from the election, Oprah Winfrey asked and answered her own question:

What can voters do to help Democratic hopeful Georgia governor Stacey Abrams, whom polls show is trailing Republican incumbent Brian Kemp?

“The biggest answer is you vote because too much is at stake not to,” Oprah said. “What will happen if you don’t vote? It’s really frightening.”

Playing to the fears of voters has become a common occurrence this midterms election cycle.

“The streets of our once great cities are drenched in the blood of innocent victims,” former President Donald Trump said on Oct. 8.

President Joe Biden on Sept. 1 made his own comments about his predecessor.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA republicans represent an extremism,” Biden said.

The strong and often negative language seems to be ramping up.

On Friday, President Biden put a twist on a phrase he’s used to describe some Republicans.

“They’re going to raise your health insurance premiums,” Biden said. “It’s mega-MAGA trickle-down— the kind of policies that have failed the country before and will fail it again.”

The rhetoric has made its way into campaign ads and speeches directly from candidates or their high-profile representatives.

Emory University Marketing Professor David Schweidel has researched the effectiveness of negative political advertising and says the trend of negative ads and language goes back at least a decade.

The negativity, he said, just works, and it reflects a divided country.

“If I scare you, if I come out and say, ‘if you don’t do this, this is where we’re heading, it’s going to be a really bad place’ — If I can trigger that fear in you, that’s more likely to get you to act,” Schweidel said.

Elections 2022

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