Why Presidential Candidate John Hickenlooper Refuses to Use Political Attack Ads

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper stands out as one of the few unapologetic capitalists in the fight for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination for the 2020 election. While rivals like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders push against corporate America, Hickenlooper staunchly defends capitalism and uses lessons from it to inform his platform - including his unconventional opposition to political attack ads.

"They work. They're very effective," Hickenlooper told Seth Meyers earlier this week. That statement might make you think he'd be onboard with launching negative ads against fellow contenders, but while he doesn't deny their effectiveness, Hickenlooper believes that attack ads ultimately devalue brands - whether that be Coca-Cola or American democracy.

"You don't see them in business," Hickenlooper explained. "Coke doesn't do an attack ad against Pepsi. They hate each other...but if Coke did an attack ad against Pepsi, then Pepsi's sales would go down. Pepsi would have no choice but to attack-ad Coke. Coke sales would go down. Coke would attack Pepsi, Pepsi would attack Coke. You depress the entire product category of soft drinks."

And that same phenomenon of diminishing returns happens in politics as well as business, according to Hickenlooper.

"What we're doing is, we're depressing the product value of democracy, and we cannot afford to."

That's why instead of slinging mud, Hickenlooper prefers to draw attention with stunt ads like the one where he talks about tax revenue while skydiving. (Check it out in the clip below.)

Whether or not you support Hickenlooper and his noble intentions, it will be interesting to see if his ideals can withstand the pressure to go low, as the fight for the 2020 nomination heats up ahead of next winter's presidential primaries.


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