11/9 I Await You: I've Got Political Ad Fatigue

November 9th can’t get here fast enough for me.

I feel this way every election year. It’s because I can finally take my TV off mute when the commercials come on. It’s safe to turn the TV on without a relentless onslaught of back-to-back slimy political attack ads, each more brainless than the last.

Is it just me, or do these commercials get more hysterical, cartoonish, and intelligence-insulting the closer it gets to election day?  Darth Vader voice: “If you elect Candidate X, he/she is going to eat your children right in front of you!!!”

They are so bloody awful they make me want to vote for the candidate who is the subject of the ad just to spite the one who is running the ad. Except that the subject of the ad is running equally atrocious attack ads themselves. If you are running for political office, tell me what you are going to do, not how much your opponent sucks. There's an ad I keep seeing for a young guy named "Raja" which uses humor and positivity so effectively that I wish I lived wherever he is running just so I could vote for him. But the few positive ads are far outnumbered by the negative ones.

These ads are not always put out by the candidates or their campaigns, but by PACs and special-interest groups who oppose their opponent. But it’s hard for me to believe most of the candidates don’t at least tacitly approve, even when they don’t expressly endorse the message. These ads have always been obnoxious, but they have become like a cancer since the proliferation of PACs and Super PACs.

The commercials start earlier and earlier with each election cycle now.  With the ads for the 2014 governor's race starting in late 2013, through the 2015 Chicago mayor’s race and the 2016 election,  Chicagoans have been subject to political ads for more than half the time during the past three-year period.

Something's got to give. To make it worse, we have to endure ads for politicians who are not even on our ballots. I’m a Chicago resident and live nowhere near the district of Brad Schneider and Bob Dold (not to be confused with former presidential candidate Bob Dole), but every two years I have to suffer through their inane commercials. And now I’m getting ads for Indiana governor! What? Is there some kind of blocker you can buy for this?

It's enough to make one yearn for dictatorship.

But logic dictates that these campaigns and groups would not be spending many thousands of dollars on this dreck if it were not effective. There must be some poll or focus group or data that tells them it works. It’s believed to be how we got Rod Blagojevich over the worthier Judy Baar Topinka. This doesn’t reflect well on our electorate.

And that leads to a scary thought. A good chunk of the electorate makes their decision on who to vote for based solely on these ads, not on watching debates, reading newspaper articles or books, or doing research. You know, actually informing themselves. I don’t know if this is the Jerry Springer/Judge Judy Nation, but if I ruled the world, these people would be stripped of their voting rights for life. (But if I ruled the world, there’d be no elected officials anyway.)

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the upcoming ODD-numbered, electionless year of 2017, and the peace and quiet. Back to ED, overactive bladder and irregularity. Fine by me.

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