KSU professor digs through the dirt of political campaigns

Thought Provoking Podcast

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sep 18, 2020) — Think that the current presidential election is the dirtiest campaign ever? Think again, says Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint.

Kerwin Swint
Kerwin Swint
Swint, the director of KSU’s School of Government and International Affairs, points out that negative campaigns are nothing new to American politics. Swint is a nationally known expert on political campaigns and elections and is the author of the book “Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time.”

“Dirty campaigning is as old as the United States,” Swint said. “From the very first campaign that political parties competed for the presidency, in 1796, candidates have been going at each other.”

Swint is the guest on the latest episode of the “Thought Provoking” podcast, featuring research and expertise from KSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He discusses his research into the brutal political campaigns throughout U.S. history and offers insight on how recent contentious presidential elections compare.

For example, Swint addresses the notorious presidential campaigns between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams in 1824 and 1828. Known as “the corrupt bargain,” the Adams campaign made a behind-the-scenes deal with voters in the Electoral College in 1824 to put him in the White House.

“A great deal of personal animosity grew out of the 1824 election, and that just worsened the rivalries and the bitterness and the vitriol in 1828,” Swint said. “When you ask historians what is the worst campaign ever, a lot of people will put that 1828 campaign at the very top of their list.”

– Paul Floeckher

Related Stories


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu