If a character evaluation of American politicians was made based upon the printed material going into homes, the television and radio commercials being run across the USA in strongly contested Senatorial and Congressional races you could easily come to a most negative conclusion. If you accepted the evaluation of one candidate of his/her opponent you would conclude that American politicians are incompetent, corrupted, self-serving liars who are a step removed from being imprisoned. Negative attack ads are designed not only to instill fear of the other candidate’s position but also put in question the character of the primary opponent.
Americans are staunchly proud of the two party system. The rules, funding and campaign structure makes a viable third party functionally impossible. A heavy dose of negative attack advertisements is readily possible when you only have one candidate upon whom to focus. A competitive third party would push candidates to utilize far more ads proclaiming their positions and fewer attack ads. As long as the two party system remains the American political scene will be dominated by the low road.