And they’ll all be pretty much the same.
Their candidates will be depicted taking a tour of some business, factory or farm, sleeves rolled up and nodding their heads as if they know what the person guiding them is talking about. The opposition’s candidate will be shown in a black and white photo apparently ripped from a post office wall, holding a puppy in one hand and a butcher knife in the other.
My depression probably won’t get much sympathy from people in Iowa, where ads for the 2024 campaigns started popping up sometime in 2022. But that’s what Iowa deserves for pushing its way to the head of the campaign line. If it had let someone else go first, its biggest claim to fame still would be that it’s the state that has more pigs than people living in it.
Television viewers in New Hampshire and South Carolina have been putting up with political ads for a while, too. But at least the commercials disrupting their enjoyment of Jeopardy and Entertainment Tonight have had a lot of national interest. Here in Ohio all I’m seeing is a race between in-state politicians arguing about border control, which isn’t at the top of the list for most Ohio voters. But maybe they’re talking about a wall protecting us from Indiana.
Political ads for down ballot offices make some sense, I suppose, due to the name recognition factor. Without them we might never know the name of candidates running for the state legislature. We might not even know we HAVE a state legislature. But I’m not sure how important they are for the major offices.
According to Forbes magazine, “Political ads on TV have been around since ‘I Like Ike!’ in 1952 and we still don’t know in any definitive way how much of a difference they make in campaigns.”
And there’s hardly anything that hasn’t already been said, refuted, lied about or blamed on the news media by now. At best the presidential campaign has some entertainment value, with a couple of crabby old guys slinging insults back and forth. Sort of like the condo association board meeting episode on Seinfeld.
But without television campaign ads, voters still can decide who should hold America’s most important office the way they traditionally have. By watching Saturday Night Live.
Contact this columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.