Here’s the dirty truth about political advertising:

It only works on stupid people.

Of course, there are lots of stupid people, and most of them are on social media, where it’s easy to target campaign messages to specific types of dopes. Whether it’s gun nuts or anti-gun kooks, pro-life fanatics or pro-choice extremists, tree huggers or forest despoilers, MAGA or antifa, a creative candidate can appeal to everyone with carefully crafted spots filled with exactly the lies each pod of imbeciles will embrace.

Technology has finally made it possible to be all things to all people. Or at least to all people with IQs that look like soccer scores.

I mention this not to disparage those with yogurt for brains. These misleading ads feed into their prejudices, and make them feel better. Also, all this deceptive advertising has little effect on the outcome of elections because of another dirty truth:

There are about as many stupid people on one side of every divisive issue as there are on the other. So, they cancel each other out.

No matter. Those attempting to influence the outcome of next year’s elections in Maine are prepared to dump unprecedented amounts of cash on the state in an effort to influence the stupid vote. According to a Bangor Daily News story, projected spending on this state’s U.S. Senate race alone could reach a staggering $55 million in 2020. That would more than double the record for a single race, the $23.2 million squandered on the 2018 2nd Congressional District contest.

Will even that expanded budget for wretched excess be enough to convince voters who are barely smart enough to put their shoes on the correct feet to cast their ballots for one senatorial hopeful or another?

Probably not.

Marketing expert Cary Weston told the Bangor paper that the prevalence of ads on TV and online is so overwhelming, it devolves into noise. “It’s loud. It’s obnoxious. It’s everywhere,” Weston said. “I really don’t think anyone’s going to notice because it’s so loud and obnoxious anyway.”

Of course, obnoxious noise sounds like music to the chronically dimwitted, so ad spending will be skyrocketing in almost every race. A report from Advertising Analytics and Cross Screen Media projects Maine will see $13 million worth of presidential spots. If that’s correct it will amount to twice the total spent in the state by every presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016 combined.

Then there’s that 2nd District seat, which both parties consider vulnerable. It doesn’t seem outlandish to expect Democrats to empty the bank vault to keep Rep. Jared Golden in office, and Republicans to do likewise in an attempt to oust him after a single term. Expect spending to run another $25 million or so.

When you add in the few million that will be wasted on the noncompetitive 1st District contest, total spending on all major races next year will approach $100 million – of which approximately $49.13 will be spent telling the truth.

I may be overestimating that last figure.

That’s good news for stupid people, who have long complained that nobody pays attention to their dumb-ass opinions. For once, they can feel superior while being bombarded with commercial messages with content so at odds with reality that it makes even the most clunk-headed voter feel clever by comparison.

They’ll be so elated, they won’t notice that their votes don’t really count.

Emails sent to [email protected] should use small words.


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