With only three months remaining until the Nov. 3 election, you can bet television is going to be clogged up until then with lots of dirty political ads. In fact, they’ve already started. They become so irritating that I think most voters simply ignore them. I like to watch them just to get some good laughs.
One of the funniest types of dirty ad is the one where the candidate accuses his opponent of being against something popular, such as veteran benefits.
“My opponent voted against aid to veterans,” the ad declares, quoting the House or Senate bill number and dates, trying to make it look more authentic.
Of course, what the ad doesn’t tell you is the opponent did vote against the bill the ad quotes, but only because he voted for another bill which gave veterans even more benefits.
Another funny ad is the one that blames a candidate, who happens to be a defense attorney, for defending murderers, robbers and rapists. Of course he does. He’s a defense attorney. That’s his job. Our justice system provides for a fair defense and presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Also, defense attorneys are often appointed by the court to provide defense for a person who cannot afford his own attorney.
An interesting ad being aired by the Trump campaign is one that declares, “If Biden is elected, we’ll have rioting in the streets of American cities.” Then, it shows videos of current riots in city streets, during the Trump administration.
There’s going to be lots of dirty Republican ads during the next three months, because that’s Trump’s last hope for reelection. His poll numbers are not going far above the 40% level, the hard-core supporters who will vote for him even if he does shoot somebody dead on Fifth Avenue.
Trump’s campaign is not bringing in any new voters to his camp, so their strategy is to try to suppress the voter turnout. Forty% is not going to win an election unless the opposing side becomes frustrated with the whole process and fails to turn out at the polls. All polls will tell you Trump’s supporters are much more solid behind him than Biden’s supporters are behind their candidate. The Trump vote is coming from Trump supporters and the Biden vote is coming from anti-Trumpers. It’s more of a “yes” and “no” vote.
So the Republicans are going to be throwing everything they can dig up against the wall, to see what sticks. One recent ad points out a 1970s Biden vote against busing for racial integration. They know it won’t win any African-American votes, as all the polls show the GOP with only about 5% of the black vote. However, they’re hoping they might stir up some resentment that will slow the black voter turnout.
Another tactic is to suppress women’s votes by allegations about Biden sexual harrassment or his affinity to close contact. Naturally, Democrats could counter with all the many allegations against Trump, but his voters don’t care. They showed that in the last election. But Republicans know Democratic women take sexual allegations seriously and they’re hoping to cut the Democratic female voter turnout. Female suburban voters are one demographic group where Trump is badly lagging. Then, there’s the old accusation of Democrats being socialists because they propose legislation to help working people. If the government helps the wealthy and big business, Republicans call it a subsidy. If the government helps poor and middle class citizens, the GOP calls it socialism.
One good thing is Democrats don’t have to dirty their hands with all these negative ads. Anti-Trump Republicans are taking care of those dirty ads for them. Biden can keep making ads about all his positive plans, while Republicans sling the dirt among themselves.
Winston Jones is a retired journalist who lives in Carrollton.