Is this campaign season less civil than previous ones?

“I think Donald Trump’s lack of civility is hurting the political process,” California state assembly Republican Rocky Chavez, a 2016 US Senate candidate, told AFP.

“We have serious issues that need to be discussed,” he added. “To lower the bar to calling people names is not beneficial.”

The amount of smack talk has surprised some observers.

“What’s interesting about this election: there’s never been somebody like Donald Trump who is so flagrantly uncaring about civility,” said Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at Southern Methodist University.

It is politics as reality TV, Kirk said, fueled by Trump’s “swashbuckling, my-way-or-the-highway persona” that he cultivated on the wildly successful NBC show “The Apprentice.”

The Republican National Committee, worried about how trashing fellow GOP candidates and popular female and Hispanic TV personalities might hurt efforts to broaden party appeal, warned in July that the name-calling “needs to stop.”

“It only worsened,” writes

Today’s Question: Is this campaign season less civil than previous ones?

  • Pearly

    I like it

  • Gary F

    Hard to say if actually more. But with the increase in social media, the internet, cable/satellite TV, the traditional gatekeepers of news can’t control the story.

  • No longer a Democrat

    It is less civil but it started back in 2008 when the DNC allowed their candidates to use racism charges when ever a Repub disagreed with their policy. Last week, Hillary equated Rebublicans with terrorists for their conservative views. Appalling!!

    • Yanotha Twangai

      No, it goes at least as far back as the slanderous “swift boat” ads against John Kerry in 2004. Both parties have been equally uncivil in recent election cycles, but the Republicans’ abhorrent policies have given the Democrats a lot more to be uncivil about. It’s remarkable that the Dems are able to hold their tongues as well as they do.

      • Pearly

        A vast right wing conspiracy

      • whitedoggie44

        how about Bush 1 and Willie Horton, which by the way, were all true and accurate.

      • No longer a Democrat its the Republicans fault that the Democrats have become so vile and slanderous? Thanks for clearing that up Yanotha with the typical progressive ( radical socialist Saul Alinski tactic ) “accuse your opposition of what you started or do.”

        • Yanotha Twangai

          You read me wrong. I have zero admiration for Saul Alinski. He was an anti-intellectual and a rabble rouser. However, I do find it remarkable how well the right wing is using his tactics these days, especially his advice about sticking to emotional sloganeering and demand-making rather than engaging your opponents in reasoned debate. Nuance is lost on ideologues, especially conservatives (which is the main reason Kerry lost in ’04, I think). The Swift Boat attack on Kerry was a classic Saul Alinski tactic. By the way, I’m no longer a Republican.

      • David P.

        Most political wonks would agree that Lee Atwater wrote the book on modern smear and innuendo tactics in a political campaign.
        He also demonstrated that such tactics are very effective. Karl Rove learned his lessons very well.

  • Martha

    What about Hillary’s comments as well as Trump for being uncivil? Why is the article slanted one way, only against the GOP candidates??? Isn’t MPR to represent everyone and not just the liberal side?

    • whitedoggie44

      If you believe MPR is not a nest of radical lefist democrats or worse than I do have some swampland for sale.

  • FeelTheBern

    We are totally civil over in the Sander’s camp, but the rest of you…. yew.

    • Khatti

      Sorry to be a disappointment.

    • Martha P

      Yes we are extra civil, because one must be to the old and infirm. Sanders as well as Bush are so fragile, they both have the posture of a 90 year old with a motor dysfunction. Imagine either handling the rigors of travel on Air Force One? Sanders can’t even recall or address how to defeat ISIL, as if it doesn’t exist to him. Is that why they call him the Neville Chamberlain of the 21 century second only to testicular challenged Obama? Ouch!

      • Yanotha Twangai

        “They” call Sanders that? Who is “they” and why should we listen to “them”? And as for that epithet you used for Obama, it sort of disqualifies you from complaining about anyone else’s uncivil words, doesn’t it? Same goes for the evident disdain with which you regard 90 year olds with motor dysfunction.

        Keep posting Martha P. You’re making your side look as cold and unfeeling as it actually is. The truth will out.

  • John

    The U.S. has to have a president that can be a diplomat on the international stage as well as all the other qualifications.

  • lindblomeagles

    Thus far, this campaign season has not been less civil than previous ones. What’s different this season is Donald Trump does not want to be civil to anybody, and a lot of early Republican voters like Donald Trump’s incivility. Look, practically all of the Republican Presidential candidates have not publicly chastised Donald Trump. None of them have waged an ongoing war against him in the press. As for the Democrats, Sanders’ focus is income inequality, Hillary is trying to stay in the middle lane, and the Democratic Party are openly worried about Hillary’s emails. There isn’t a need yet to be uncivil in that camp.

  • Hunter

    I wonder if the main street media will once again give cover this election cycle for the Progressive side as they did for the Obama reign. The media has ignored the terrible remarks from most Democrats. They ignored Biden’s comment to a black audience, ” “Be careful or They (republicans) gonna put ya all back in chains.”
    If Dr.Carson wins, he would be our first truly BLACK President not an African American by virtue of being bi-racial. What can the liberal media do to him? call him an Uncle Tom? Hmmm.
    Here is a list of why i suppose people such as No Longer a Dem have changed sides?
    Obama likes Louis and kept his Attorney general from taking legal action_ After a recent speech given by Minister Louis Farrakhan, he took questions
    from the audience. One woman goes to the mic and asks Farrakhan about leadership and what she needs to do to be a good leader. Farrakhan gives her an answer about leaders and then says “If they resist you, Kill them all”
    And another one:
    Flashback — Gems from Journolist…“F—ing Nascar retards…”; “Sarah Spitz, producer of the KCRW public radio program ‘Left, Right and Center,’ which is heard on a number of NPR stations across the country, wrote on JournoList that if she witnessed Limbaugh dying of a heart attack, she would ‘laugh loudly like a maniac
    and watch his eyes bug out.’”

    Flashback — Montel Williams to GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann:
    WILLIAMS (1:30:32): Michele, slit your wrist.
    Go ahead… or, do us all a better thing [sic].
    Move that knife up about two feet.
    Start right at the collarbone.

    I could find a list of 100 events where the Democrat Progressive radical extremes have said even worse but choose not to, to stay civil on a forum.

    Trump has said nothing even remotely close to such vitriol toward the Dems.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      Another off-topic rant from the ranter in chief….

  • boygeezer

    It’s only less civil because there’s a certain Republican candidate in the mix this time around — whose name rhymes with rump — who doesn’t give a rat’s rump about civility, and nobody is doing anything about it, aside from lamenting it and wringing their hands.

  • Martha

    It appears by all accounts that this period is less civil however, it seems the negativity reached an all time high when my favorite Hillary Clinton equated the Republican candidates toTerrorists because of their opposing conservative view that a baby’s life matters. Oddly enough, Hillary supports an accepts donations from Planned Parenthood that has been caught killing babies illegally done, in order to sell their body parts. ISIL terrorists behead children, ISIL rapes thousands every month,
    I found a list that rivals the earlier poster on why this season is a bit less civil.
    the leftist hate:

    National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg:
    [I]f there is retributive justice [Sen. Jesse Helms] will get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.

    USA Today syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux, on Clarence Thomas:
    I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.

    Washington Post syndicated columnist Richard Cohen:
    For hypocrisy, for sheer gall, [Newt] Gingrich should be hanged.

    Members of the St. Petersburg Democratic Club:
    And then there’s Rumsfeld who said of Iraq “We have our
    good days and our bad days.” We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall
    and say “This is one of our bad days” and pull the trigger.

    James Carville on Ken Starr:
    He’s one more mistake away from not having any kneecaps.

    Syndicated columnist Alexander Cockburn:
    There is a sound case to be made for dropping a tactical
    nuclear weapon on the Cuban section of Miami. The move would be
    applauded heartily by most Americans. Alas, Operation Good Riddance
    would require the sort of mature political courage sadly lacking in
    Washington, D.C., these days.

    Columnist, author, media pundit, journalist, and newspaper editor Dan Savage:
    My plan? Get close enough to Bauer to give him the flu,
    which, if I am successful, will lay him flat just before the New
    Hampshire primary. I’ll go to Bauer’s campaign office and cough on
    everything. Phones and pens. Staplers and staffers. I even hatch a plan
    to infect the candidate himself; I’ll keep a pen in my mouth until Bauer
    drops by his offices to rally the troops. And when he does, I’ll
    approach him and ask for his autograph, handing him the pen from my
    flu-virus-incubating mouth.

    That column also appeared on It was a little more than hate “speech” — the guy actually did try to give Gary Bauer the flu.
    It’s racism you want?
    Democrat Senator Robert Byrd:
    There are white niggers. I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I’m going to use that word.

    Democrat presidential candidate Jesse Jackson on Jews:
    and on New York City:

    During his presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson was linked with (and refused to denounce) Louis Farrakhan, who has at times been linked with the Congressional Black Caucus, which also supported his Million Man March. Farrakhan is a man of the left who has been a harsh critic of President Bush.

    Here’s Farrakhan on Jews:
    Many of the Jews who owned the homes, the apartments in
    the black community, we considered them bloodsuckers because they took
    from our community and built their community but didn’t offer anything
    back to our community.

    Farrakhan on Pope John Paul II:
    no good cracker

    Farrakhan on white people:
    White people are potential humans – they haven’t evolved yet.

    And again:
    Murder and lying comes easy for white people.

    Does it count as “hate” speech if you say you “hate” Republicans?
    Howard Dean:
    I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for . . .

    Back to assassination wishes:
    British pundit Charlie Brooker, during the presidency of George W. Bush:
    John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. — where are you now that we need you?

    Actual ELECTED officials have engaged in hate speech:
    Democrat Representative Pete Stark, speaking to a Republican:
    You think you are big enough to make me, you little wimp? Come on. Come over here and make me, I dare you. You little fruitcake.

    Alabama Democratic congressional incumbent Earl Hilliard, on challenger, Artur Davis:
    Davis and the Jews, No Good for the Black Belt

    Huffington Post blogger Tony Hendra wished for Dick Cheney to die:

    O Lord, give Dick Cheney’s Heart, Our Sacred Secret
    Weapon, the strength to try one more time! For greater love hath no
    heart than that it lay down its life to rid the planet of its Number One
    Human Tumor.

    prominent leftists have said some pretty awful things.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      Another off-topic rant that looks awfully similar to those Hunter writes. Are you two cutting and pasting from the same source, or are you both aliases for the same individual?

  • Michael P


    Yanotha Twangai

    an hour ago

    how about Bush 1 and Willie Horton, which by the way, were all true and accurate.

    Yikes. How is Obama any different from Dukakis when he had released criminals like Willie Horton?
    And why do our Senators Franken and Amy refuse to endorse Kate’s Law? 346,000 illegal criminals have been released to our streets under Obama’s orders and the media is quiet. Bet they won’t be so silent when one of these illegals attacks their family.
    The real problem with being civil depends on who it is that is complaining.
    Don’t condemn Planned Parenthood, just Kill more black babies at their sites, release more illegals to commit more crimes, and waste time in Alaska giving a speech while our neighbors, our police are assassinated in the street_ and he says NOTHING????? that dear friends is what we elected….a never worked, a Chicago grass roots organizer, but surely is not a LEADER. That is our first bi-racial president..what a disappointment to all Americans.

    • David P.

      Get your script edited.
      Willie Horton was in a Federal prison and was out on a weekend furlough via a Federal program. Gov Dukakis didn’t have any more to do with Willie Horton being out on a weekend furlough than you or I.
      The rest of your trolling rant is just as misinformed. Cheers!

  • Abdi Amed Abba 9, St paul

    I am worried when our party allows the extremes within our Party to get away with incendiary remarks. The DNC said nothing when Al Sharpton once said he’d run for office and he was despicable yet, the media said nothing. Here is an excerpt from Jacoby of the Jewish World on Sharpton, the same guy who has been at the Obama side, visited the White House hundreds of times and was appointed by Obama to foster the Ferguson post riots. Sharpton has been using the protest slogan of No Justice No Peace since before 1991! Sharpton even had his own show on CNBC. Progressives endorse his work. The question is WHY does our Party of Hillary and Bernie support this race baiting divider with his uncivil actions and speech? I don’t get it.

    In case one forgets, here is a list of such memorable uncivil moments of Obama’s friend Sharpton.

    1987: Sharpton spreads the incendiary Tawana Brawley HOAX, insisting heatedly that a 15-year-old black girl was
    abducted, raped, and smeared with feces by a group of white men. He singles out Steve Pagones, a young prosecutor.
    Pagones is wholly innocent — the crime never occurred — but Sharpton taunts him: “If we’re lying, sue us, so we can . . .prove you did it.” Pagones does sue, and eventually wins a $345,000 verdict for defamation. To this day, Sharpton
    refuses to recant his unspeakable slander or to apologize for his role in the odious affair.

    1991: A Hasidic Jewish driver in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights section accidentally kills Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old black
    child, and antisemitic riots erupt. Sharpton races to pour gasoline on the fire. At Gavin’s funeral he rails against the
    “diamond merchants” — code for Jews — with “the blood of innocent babies” on their hands. He mobilizes hundreds of
    demonstrators to march through the Jewish neighborhood, chanting, “No justice, no peace.” A rabbinical student, Yankel
    Rosenbaum, is surrounded by a mob shouting “Kill the Jews!” and stabbed to death.

    1995: When the United House of Prayer, a large black landlord in Harlem, raises the rent on Freddy’s Fashion Mart,
    Freddy’s white Jewish owner is forced to raise the rent on his subtenant, a black-owned music store. A landlord-tenant
    dispute ensues; Sharpton uses it to incite racial hatred. “We will not stand by,” he warns malignantly, “and allow them to
    move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” Sharpton’s National Action Network sets up
    picket lines; customers going into Freddy’s are spat on and cursed as “traitors” and “Uncle Toms.” Some protesters shout,
    “Burn down the Jew store!” and simulate striking a match. “We’re going to see that this cracker suffers,” says Sharpton’s
    colleague Morris Powell. On Dec. 8, one of the protesters bursts into Freddy’s, shoots four employees point-blank, then
    sets the store on fire. Seven employees DIE in the inferno.

    If Sharpton were a white skinhead, he would be a political leper, spurned everywhere but the fringe. But far from being
    spurned, he is shown much deference. Democrats embrace him. Politicians court him. And journalists report on his
    comings and goings while politely sidestepping his career as a hatemongering racial hustler.

    When Sharpton came to Boston to promote his campaign, for example, the news coverage was uniformly upbeat. The Boston Herald noted the “joyous singing and thunderous applause” that greeted the “civil rights leader,”
    whose “energetic visit left many enthusiastic about his presidential bid.” The Globe announced the arrival of “the colorful and controversial 48-year-old community activist” with a story listing the places and times of his public appearances. The
    only allusion to his ugly record was a vague quote from a local minister: “He obviously has a lot of history and controversy to overcome.” That was quickly countered by Sharpton’s own self-description as a man known “for my fights against racial profiling and discrimination.”

    Well, that isn’t what Steve Pagones or the family of Yankel Rosenbaum or the loved ones of those who were burned
    alive at Freddy’s Fashion Mart know him for. As they can testify, Sharpton is a vicious liar and a dangerous bigot. As a
    matter of moral hygiene, his party and the press should be able to say so, too.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      Hmm. Yet another alias, or yet another cutter and paster from the same source of off-topic rant material?

  • Sue de Nim

    Yes, and I think the reason incivility is on the rise is that no one pays attention to civil discourse. Candidates get a lot of attention when they insult segments of the population, and even negative attention raises a candidate’s name recognition. On the other hand, the media don’t highlight candidates who keep civil tongues, because that’s not sensational enough to attract attention to their outlets. We get the politicians we deserve. If they’re becoming less civil, it’s because we voters let them.

    • David P.

      Agreed. Loud, brash and angry will always “trump” thoughtful, courteous and articulate, in the media and in the beer hall.

  • Yanotha Twangai

    It’s remarkable how uncivil are the complaints about how uncivil the other side is.

  • Independent of MN

    Does Today’s Question include the political talk of Black Lives Matter (BLM)? I doubt liberal professor Rita Kirk would address that in the above article.
    Listen up folks, if you want to discuss un-civility in politics, then why does NPR refuse to fully cover the outrageous nonsense of how Progressive billionaire George Soros started BLM and take a look at how much he just donated to his self initiated Progressive group of BLM which began after the Zimmerman arrest? Was it $125,000.00 or $250,000.00 ? Why does NPR and most media not show the State Fair protest, the day after a police officer was assassinated, screaming for frying pigs? Ya all got to get over your feigned White Guilt because of slavery.
    Sadly it is true, the Democrat party has been taken over by the farthest left radicals and few seem to know that. Uncivil talk is what BLM and the Black Panthers use..calling for the deaths of police while our US Attorney General ignores them! Sheriff Clark of Milwaukee County asked for a meeting with her back in July and she ignored him!
    The DNC chairman Debbie Wassermanshulz wants less negative talk about their candidates because some of the GOP are no longer afraid to call them out on their hypocrisy. She calls against symbols of hate while she then endorses and hails BLM, a slime group calling for police deaths. Being a Democrat today is even worse then being an Old Guard Republican.

  • Floyd R. Turbo

    Why on earth would we want it to be any more civil? After all, the worst wars are civil, and the nastiest lawsuits are civil. People go for a civil marriage when they have no religion and are afraid to go to church. With that track record, civil seems to be a bad thing. Maybe we should pronounce it like it rhymes with “evil.” I think we should stamp out civility wherever we find it.

    By the way, where’s Johnny Carson when you need him?

  • Rick

    Hard to say … but the internet comments sections sure are.

  • boygeezer

    It’s so comforting to know that we can always count a small Usual Suspect group of ranters to shed lots of heat and no light on any given topic.

    • John O.

      And much of that heat radiates from sources similar to what is depicted above.