Attack ads dominate in the run-up to the primary elections
According to local historian Russell Tremayne, the road to this political reality was paved by the first televised presidential debate
Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Throughout the election season, there is one change just about no one can miss, the sheer number of political ads.
“Wall-to-wall ads that tell us nothing about political issues,” said local historian Russell Tremayne.
He says these ads are more than just attacks on opposing candidates, but the advertisements should be seen as insults to voters, and he is not alone in that sentiment.
“This is an insult to our intelligence,” said one local resident.
“I think the people putting those ads together are dumbing down the electorate and, basically, insulting our intelligence with these ridiculous negative ads,” said Twin Falls resident Jeff Rolig.
Tremayne looks to some ads in Idaho that display the sorts of attacks that distract from the real issues at hand.
“Look at Brian Smith and Congressman Simpson. That is like a mosh pit, back and forth, back and forth. I mean, that is about as low as you can get,” he said.
According to Tremayne, the road to this political reality was paved by the first televised presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960.
“That was dynamite and [they] realized how decisive the TV was and how powerful it was,” he said. Now, staggering amounts of money are spent on political advertising.
$14.4 billion was spent during the 2020 election cycle, and projections by analysts at OpenSecret, show that the record will be broken soon.
So are these ads effective, or would voters rather see something with more content?
“I would like to see ads that put out what the people intend to do if they get elected, that would be more helpful,” said Rolig.
“Not a seminar, but a little forum so that people from the community can come forward to get a chance to come in and ask their questions and actually become informed,” said Jerome resident Lexus Reigh.
Tremayne says politicians should be held to a higher standard, but the blame for the state of our political culture may be right in the mirror.
“Shame on us for not demanding more from our elected officials,” he said.
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