It’s just five days until the most significant US midterm elections in forty years, and the hate-filled rhetoric is really starting to boil over. Attack ads, baseless accusations and off-the-cuff claims seem to be the Republican strategy, and this appears to be more alarming to me than any Americans I spend time with.
Attack ads are not normal in the UK, it’s not seen as the “done thing”. Maybe that’s why Americans think British people are “polite, but also a little stuck-up”. They’re not wrong.
Around two months ago they started airing on YouTube, on social media and on the occasional TV broadcast I’d watch, and nobody else in the room seemed surprised by their presence. A typical, local attack ad has been along the lines of…
Because my only exposure to attack ads that are base-level personality jibes (not about policy) has been Parks and Recreation, I thought at first that they were comedic shorts put between programming. Until they started to use names I recognised from signs around town.
The most alarming attack ads were the five second clips on YouTube that play before a video. I’ve only seen anti-Democratic ads on this platform, so my analysis here is a little partisan. If someone can find equal anti-Republican attack ads to send to me, I’d genuinely love to see them.
In the space of five seconds, with flashing, brightly coloured text a woman rapidly reads “LIBERAL JARED POLIS WANTS TO TAKE AWAY YOUR TAX DOLLARS AND SPEND IT ON HEALTHCARE, COLORADO CAN’T AFFORD LIBERAL JARED POLIS.”
I thought subliminal messaging had been outlawed, but apparently not in America. I could only find a different, twenty-second ad on YouTube, but it’s paid for by the same company, “Republican Governors Association”, and uses a similar tone, albeit a little less rapid.
Now, I don’t want to talk about the political ideology of Jared Polis here, I don’t know enough about him to vocally endorse him. But, after reading about him for just five minutes (on non-partisan website balotpedia) I learned that he’s not a “far-left” politician, he’s a classic centrist (rich, entrepreneurial business-orientated, supported Hillary Clinton). He’s a multi-millionaire, who has some basic humanitarian ideas, such as universal healthcare.
In fact, healthcare a small part of his policy, his main focus seems to be on business. He’s a “self made millionaire”, just like their man in the White House, so Republicans should love Jared Polis and his policies.
His centrist politics of family values, business investment and job creation are what won Donald the White House. But because of attack-ads like this one, they won’t vote for him because the TV said so, and probably because he has a (D) next to his name.
I wouldn’t support Jared Polis, because I don’t see how a multi-millionaire can have the best interests of constituents in their hearts or minds. You can be rich and serve the people, don’t get me wrong, but Polis is worth nearly two-hundred million dollars. It’s not Trump money, but it’s pretty damn close. Nobody should have that much wealth, especially not people who claim to serve others.
So I identify more with the Democratic party on a lot of issues, and after five minutes of unbiased critical analysis I can see that Polis isn’t for me, and that traditional Republicans would be better off in their daily lives if they voted for him.
Remember that in local elections, you should ignore the (R) and the (D), and look at the people as individuals. Look at their records, their history, and how they’ve voted on key issues so far.
The sad part is that some people will view that attack-ad and not vote for Jared Polis, even though it would be in their best interest to do so. They won’t think to do some research for themselves, even though it takes no time at all in the grand scheme of absolutely everything.
Attack ads like this one are simplistic acts of cowardice, that play into our worst, base human emotion; Fear. The Republican Governors Association are worried that if they tell you the cold-hard facts about Polis, you’d actually want to vote for him, and so they make you scared of him. They use quotes from sources that just aren’t reputable. It would be like a pro-Polis ad using a sentence from this very blog post as evidence that you should vote for him — Please don’t do that.
Attack ads like this play into the double-standards of Republican voters, and they’re assuming that from the outset. To put it simply, they think you’re idiots.
Personally, I think Republican voters are misinformed by a bunch of people who want nothing more than to control others, but that they’re individuals who genuinely want the best for their family and country. And so, because of their commendable sincerity on the beliefs and issues they hold true to, billionaires make them scared that their way of life is under attack, in exchange for unquestionable support.
Dear Republicans, I’m a filthy liberal, and I would never insult your intelligence, but your own leaders are counting on you to not do your own research and therefore fall into the traps of hypocrisy.
For example, this attack ad claims that Jared Polis has not paid tax in five years. Which may well be true, despite the fact that the source is a local article from ten years ago, with two disparate connecting quotes, of which I can find no evidence of online after a frustrating half-hour search.
But let’s assume, for a second, that it’s true. Republicans supported Donald Trump, and as much as they can claim that the media makes up a lot of things about him (they don’t have to, but let’s assume), it’s generally accepted that Trump has avoided tax for his entire life. He won’t show his tax returns, and there has to be a reason for that.
So this Republican-funded ad attacks Polis for doing the very same thing that the President of the United States has done all of his life. And they’re assuming that Republican voters won’t even notice that.
Attack ads are new and strange to me, I’d laugh at them if I didn’t think that some people were taking them seriously. Personally, I don’t care who you vote for, because that’s the beauty of a strong democracy. However, a strong democracy also doesn’t expect its voters to make an important decision based on twenty-seconds of footage. America is better than that. America can be better than that.
With election day just around the corner, and reports of premature success from both sides of the aisle, my only advice to anyone on either side of the political spectrum would be to stay accurately informed, and vote.
Today is Thursday, November 1st and would any Americans like to celebrate Bonfire Night with me? I miss November 5th.
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