It was hard to watch TV in the past 6 months due to Midterm elections. Coast to coast American citizens were barraged with ads from politicians, PACs, and Super Pacs. Between commercials there were televised debates, the 5 and 10 o’clock news had political stories and even preachers were banging the campaign pulpit. It’s official, the 2018 Midterms were the most expensive in history with spending topping $3.9 billion. Sure, that helped flipped the House, a record number of women are at the Capitol but what did the average American receive besides monied representation? Not much. Electoral campaigns should have time limits, Federal Trade Commission oversight on all advertising and be decided on the local level. We the people must formulate new ways to control campaigns for our own good.
How Much Longer Is The Ride?
Illinois residents suffered through the longest gubernatorial race in history with commercials starting a full 18 months ahead of the election. These same residents witnessed billionaires battle spending $255 million dollars over the prized governors mansion. Just imagine what it was like to watch TV in their houses? Unfortunately, the length of the campaign did have a positive effect on the election. JB Pritzker won with a nearly 20% increase in voter turnout. This may be an anomaly as the anti-Trump resistance movement was extremely mobilized, but it did occur. The results align with scholars beliefs that the longer the campaign the more the voter learns. Voters are inundated with various commercials, ads and information that can swing votes or mobilize them. But the price tag for such a lengthy process is inhibitive of truly free elections. There aren’t many average politicians with great ideas that can raise hundreds of millions or campaign for 18 months. Time limits must be enforced to provide fair elections for all.
Regulate Political Ads
Political ads are missing the most fiercely advocated rules of American consumerism-adherence to the Federal Trade Commission guidelines. According to the FTC, all advertising must be supported by truthful, equitable research. According to political advertising analysis in studies provided in Dollarocracy, political ads are anything but equitable. Campaign ads should not be deceptive, misleading or loaded with slander. We have witnessed hundreds of politicians back track and apologize for presenting political ads that have been found racist, misleading, misogynist and flat out lies. Even though they publicly apologize very few pay FTC fines or are banned from making the same loaded commercials again.
Negative ads are now the rage in politics. Even as studies prove these ads turn voters off, they continue to appear. After the first non-FTC regulated negative commercial airs in a campaign, the vicious cycle of negativity begins with constant attack ads from one politician to another. Americans vote differently than they shop obvious in the rise of independent candidates that refrain from negativity. These rising stars are now entering our Capitol due to their ability to recognize advertising patterns in Americans. Americans don’t buy Tide, the leading clothes detergent, because they attack Gain detergent. They buy it for it’s emotionally compelling advertising based on customer responses, picturesque scenes and FTC regulated vision. Politicians must be held to the same guidelines as the FTC holds our businesses. As politics has become a corporate powerhouse filled with one millionaire after another, the people deserve protection from their misleading and meandering ads as a constitutional right. As earlier stated, campaigns have become longer and with that knowledge can be incurred by voters but it’s our governments civic duty to make sure it’s higher learning.
All Politics Are Local
The formidable solutions for campaign issues with elections can be the responsibility of local governments to protect us. If all politics are local then our city, municipal and even state leadership must protect us. A quick review of the Federal Election Commission and you’ll find nearly every state has differing campaign contribution limits. Surprisingly, Alabama, Nebraska, Oregon and a slew of other states don’t enforce any limitations. If our state legislators are not willing to protect us from million dollar corporate takeovers of our government then we must issue legislation. The Kansas City Council enforced legislation to limit campaign contributions to control corruption. While, Chicago’s reputation for windy politics will remain intact as the 18 mayoral candidates won’t have a contribution ceiling. Local ordinances can work due to autonomous rules for municipalities. Citizens should be protected from intrusive political ads that we understand are not legally based to excessive campaign trail times. Our future democracy cannot be based on monied control of the TV or elections. If we the people want to take back our true role as electors, then it’s time to knock on your local representatives’ door. The future of American campaigns is in your hands.