Reading about the campaigns of 1796 when John Adams ran against Thomas Jefferson, there’s really nothing new or original about the media smears and partisanships of today. People tend to believe strongly in different things and often feel the others are dangerously mistaken, at times traitors and liers, sometimes out to destroy the Republic as foreign spies or collaborators.
The issues at that time was the size of the federal government, foreign policy and individual liberty. Some thought a strong DC (or Philly at the time) was necessary to prevent the chaos and slaughter of the French Revolution – others saw that as return to tyranny and undermining the spirit of the Declaration of Independence for the State’s rights.
the kind of bought and manipulated government we see today is something quite different. Both Jefferson and Adams would’ve joined forces and strongly resented that kind of private wealth influence in the governing of the country.