Campaign Ads

Would Clinton vs. Trump Be the Ugliest Campaign in History?

Attack ads circa 1800 suggest otherwise.


Given Donald Trump's proclivity for going on the attack—and all the skeletons he and Hillary Clinton keep in their closets—it's tempting to think a general election between these candidates would lead to fireworks like we've never seen before. 

In an article in The Fiscal Times, long-time pollster John Zogby says that for Trump,

it's no-holds barred. So this will be Monica's blue dress, this will be [Bill Clinton's] bimbo eruptions, this will be the Clintons' White Water [business deals in Arkansas] and we haven't even gotten to Benghazi yet.

On the other side of the coin, Clinton will have plenty of personal indiscretions from which to choose, including Trump's predilection for mistresses and record of ugly divorces. And that's just gravy, given The Donald's business practices (how's that B.A. from Trump University working out?) and disparaging comments about women, Hispanics, and many other categories of humanity. Such sentiments may not fly once outside of the GOP tent.

But will this dynamic play out in a more vicious general election than we've seen before? Is civility simply a relic of a bygone era?

Some historical context suggests otherwise. Watch the video below to see what political attacks were like circa 1800.