Is this the key passage in Dirty Politics Nicky Hager, Glenn Greenwald and Kim Dotcom should have given attention to before dropping their "bombshells" during the election campaign?
In Chapter One Hager quotes National Party strategist, Simon Lusk, on negative campaigning:
"There are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continue to turn out, and drives away the independents. Voting then becomes more partisan."
Hager goes on to refer to an article about a notorious ad the Republican Party used during the 1988 US presidential campaign. This ad associated the liberal position of Democrat candidate Michael Dukakis on prisons and law and order with the assault and rape of a white couple by a black convict, Willie Horton. It is widely thought it helped secure the presidency for George Bush senior.
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As Hager explains in Dirty Politics: "The article noted that Bush's presidential effort had trained a generation of campaign operatives how to run a negative campaign."
Dirty Politics' allegations of smear tactics by senior National officials, Judith Collins' resignation as Justice Minister, and Glenn Greenwald's claims that John Key has lied about mass surveillance in New Zealand did not have a discernible effect on the Nationals' election results.
ELECTION INTERACTIVE: Every vote, every seat, every result
However, the Labour Party slumped to a new low and the minor parties failed to deliver.
Winston Peters did not win his bid for kingmaker, Internet-Mana and the Conservatives won no seats and even Hone Harawira was edged out in Te Tai Tokerau. The Greens also failed to grow support.