Monty: So this week I was listening to the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast before work. They were talking about the Trump campaign’s ad strategy and it suddenly occurred to me that I haven’t seen any US political ads for this cycle, not living there and all, and I’m morbidly curious to see what they’re like.
Anna: I…haven’t seen any, and I do live here. This worries me in the sense I think Biden really should do a Hulu ad buy or something for all the cord cutters, but advertising in 2020 is an entirely different beast. The trump campaign has been advertising since day one of 2015 and it has never stopped, but it’s all someone’s uncle on Facebook sharing a post. I saw a couple ads during the Dem primary for like, Bullock and Bloomberg, but that obviously did not pan out. Depending on who owns your tv station, you’re getting Trump subliminal messaging.
Monty: Well the impression that I got from the podcast is that the Trump campaign is trying to turn out a suburban Republican base that no longer exists. I hesitate to say that Trump himself as a strategy, because he never has, but his personal appeals on Twitter to the “suburban housewives” of America was highlighted for its pre-Vietnam absurdity.
That said, I’m not really qualified to comment on the nature of the suburbs. The only ones I’ve ever lived in were Raanana and Ramat Gan.
Anna: if only someone here was raised in a conservative suburban hellhole where they’re currently pretending corona doesn’t exist and protesting the change to the high school football schedule.
I’ll put it this way; if someone talks about politics around here, the only time Democrats come up is to complain about them. That doesn’t mean Democrats don’t exist, but most of government is lumped together as one long-distance unneeded fuckup. Many people have some progressive ideas (the ones that benefit them) and some reeeal racist hangups about peoria, and Trump’s policies haven’t affected them. He’s an idiot, but those stonks prices. My mother, legend tells, rebelled against his election by writing in a Pence/Kasich ticket. The only reason these suburbs exist is to avoid living in the city where diversity exists, so the local economy is people working in the city and taking all that money out and putting it into local property taxes and school districts of extremely non-diverse small towns. This has, incidentally, led to Peoria rates of COVID rising (and all the hospitals these suburbs use are in Peoria) while my brother just had an in-person graduation ceremony last weekend where masks weren’t required.
Monty: Where I come from originally, there are very, very few suburbs with white Christian majorities, or anything close to that. And to Trump’s doubters, that seems to be the modern suburban reality, not a picket fence to be found, nor a single-income home.
But the only way to be sure is to see some ads.
First I wanted to bring up this online clickbait ad. It attracted a lot of attention for being antisemitic, as the Perdue folks made Jon Ossoff’s nose bigger and accused him of Schumer of trying to “buy Georgia” (you know, but spending campaign money, that thing that is done in elections).
Some people in the thread find it surprising that this is done, or that anyone thinks it’s effective. I’m surprised that they’re surprised. Antisemitism is very old and happily spans the political spectrum. It’s not for nothing that something like this comes up in every election cycle (my first thought is Congressman Virgil Goode in 2008 finding an old Facebook photo of his opponent with a beard, photoshopping it to make him look darker, and calling him a “New York lawwwyerrrrr”).
Anna: they didn’t need to photoshop the nose for suburban votes, that was a nice touch for the base. This ad features the words Democrat, Schumer, spending, and introduces the concept of “buying” Georgia. Spending money!?!?! In this economy!?!?!
Monty: I think there are plenty of swing voters who would hesitate to vote for a Jewish candidate if reminded of it.
But that’s the sideshow. Let’s get to Trump’s TV ads. Hit me.
“Abolished” (not posting it here because it will fuck up my finely-tuned YouTube recommendations of animated history videos and documentaries about shipbuilding)
Well…that’s not as bad as I expected. The Washington Post notes that it falsely claims that Joe Biden wants to defund police, but I’m more struck by the fact that the campaign seems to think that absurd and pointless wait times for police are alien and scary (my car was burglarized twice in the US, and both times it took a solid six hours for anyone to show), and that what is happening on the streets today between police and protesters is somehow…actually happening in the future?
Long story short, this is not in touch with my experience as an American. But then I have been away for a long time. Let’s do that again.
Anna: I also love that they’re acting like suddenly now there’s gonna be long wait times for any movement on rape cases like uhh.. that’s already how we handle rape cases in this country.
Monty: Okay, this ad is about how the US economy is booming. I don’t think that’s the case. And I really don’t think everyday people who aren’t in his cult will appreciate being told their existence is a lie.
(unable to find more of the ads she’s looking for, Anna has sent me a series of articles on ad buys).
Monty: Okay, it’s clear at this point that the Trump campaign is spending most of its ad buys on Fox News, specifically in the DC area. Not a good Republican area. But they are pouring money into putting ads somewhere Trump will see them so it will make him feel better which…you know, when movie producers do that, I can imagine how that would be fun, but this…
…I have never felt more confidence in the Biden campaign than in this moment.