I think that elected officials who execute the particular pettiness and vindictiveness that their voters want to see played out do better at the polls than elected officials who are above that regardless of the political advantage that can be had.
If we want our elected officials to conduct the business of our legislatures and executive branches with propriety and decorum, then we have to be willing to withdraw support from those who do what we want in a way that is not in keeping with how we want politics to be conducted.
Voters do not do that any more. They criticize the improprieties of their political adversaries, but they do not execute negative consequences on their own elected officials when they are guilty of the same thing. They make excuses for them, instead, or else rationalize that other priorities of their party are too important to penalize partisans for not following niceities. Voters are far more lukewarm in their support of candidates who are dutiful, honest, humane and “boring” than on more flamboyant candidates who fail to conduct themselves in a way becoming to their office.
We can thank ourselves as voters for the pettiness, vindictiveness and gross behavior in politics. Because of us and how we vote, it works. It is a recipe for a career in politics, and we made it possible.