Saturday, November 1, 2014

Negative Political Ads

      The midterm election takes place this coming Tuesday, November 4, 2014. I have already voted. One might guess from my zip code how I voted but who I voted for is not material to this blog post. This piece is not about trying to convince anyone to vote for a particular party or a particular candidate. This is about the horrendous advertisements we have been bombarded by this season.
      The ads are disgusting and for the most part negative. The candidates are all attacking their opponents rather than touting their own acumen and capabilities. The ads, from either party for most of the important races, make the opponents out to be incompetent and crooked. While this is a tried and true campaign strategy, the negativity of the ads this year seem at the extreme. In watching these attack ads, I am not even considering or evaluating which candidate to vote for. Instead, I find myself astonished that the candidate is not doing time in a maximum security prison.
      Allow me to focus on just two offices in which the candidates are setting a new low standard in negative ads. This year we are electing a Governor here in Illinois. The election pits the incumbent Pat Quinn against Bruce Rauner. There is also a congressional race 10th District where I live. The incumbent Brac Schneider is running against Bob Dold the fellow he unseated in the last election. Both races are close and this probably explains the number and intensity of the negative ads.
       Rauner is painting Quinn out to be crooked. He is supposedly the latest corrupt head of a state this has had four of the last governors do prison time. Really? Over half of the last seven governors have gone to jail. In listening to the ads, I am convinced that whoever gets elected on Tuesday should go directly to jail, not passing Go, and definitely not collecting their $200. Quinn’s ads paint the billionaire Rauner as a greedy one-percenter or, maybe in this case, a tenth of a percenter. In watching the ads, it seems he has killed through neglect due to greed several people in the nursing homes via which he made part of his fortune. I am not sure why Quinn waited until the election to bring these “facts” to our attention. He should have had Rauner arrested and prosecuted.
      The Congressional race is no better. If anything, it is more confusing. I am not sure which candidate hates old people and which hates kids. It is unclear which is corrupt and which is just plain stupid. The negative ads are so bad, that it is impossible to identify with a candidate based on the issues I am actually interested in addressing. It is not only disgusting but totally confusing.
     Here is the rub. I have actually met each of these four candidates in person and heard them speak. They are each intelligent, charming, and very well spoken. In person, the discussed issues more than they attacked their opponents. What a contrast to the ads that has me wondering why these fellows are not all in jail.
     Because of these ads, I have spoke with a few people who are not going to vote simply because they find all of this so disgusting. I could easily vote for whoever runs on a platform of
[1] Banning negative ads
[2] Making the no call list reall work
     Ah… democracy.

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