Tomorrow, November 8th, it will finally be over.
Unless it isn’t.
The brutal, vituperative 18-month presidential campaign will have been decided for all but the most hardcore conspiracy enthusiasts. People for whom “what if” is a beginning with no ending.
The political ads this season were especially vicious, contentious and just downright angry-mean.
The airwaves, not to mention (unsurprisingly) the digital ether, was chock-full.
Broadcasters gleefully rubbed their hands together. All the way to the bank. So plentiful were the political ads that they drove out most other advertisers. Indeed, the 2016 election season was realization and confirmation that the FCC issues licenses to print money.
A week-long vacation in Southern Maine the last week of October offered robust exposure to the full breadth of political advertising.
Ads for the Senate, the House, the White House and elected positions far lower on the ballot were plentiful. Pervasive, in fact. Candidates from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine all advertised in the broadcast coverage area I was situated.
Ads promoting one candidate were followed immediately by ads for the first one’s opponent.
“Don’t vote for the nitwit” preceded spots advocating for and trumpeting the virtues of the aforementioned nitwit.
Strikingly absent – leaving aside such trivialities as policy positions, statements of conviction and substance, and at least occasionally, decency – were commercials for all other product and service providers normally populating the airwaves and who we long thought we had had enough of.
Common, garden variety, insipid commercial advertising: shampoos, paper products, cereals and the like.
Instead, viewers and listeners were accosted by pseudo-soundbites, embarrassing video clips (everyone was embarrassed), testimonials and nasty playground name-calling, all wrapped in red, white and blue bunting.
Reinforce the committed, crystallize the predisposed and inoculate the partisans against foreign thought-germs. Voter conversion, it has long been acknowledged, was written-off as impossible. Or at least not worth the effort given ROI. (Which is not the capital of Brazil.)
After a week packed to the brim with the political advertising, exposure reached saturation. And patience-trying.
Besides vaguely nostalgic yearning, one wonders if we will be able to discriminate between the loud, obnoxious, pie-in-the-sky promises of candidate and car dealer.
Though one suspects a curious sigh of welcome relief or even appreciation for the car dealers.
It seems they’ve been gone so long.
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