Election Day: Bring It On!
Although I have often enjoyed being in the sometimes-center of the political universe by living in the First-in-the-Nation-Primary-State of New Hampshire, I’m so ready for the campaigns to be over. Aren’t you?
I feel like I’m being assaulted daily by campaign ads on television, the radio, in my newspaper and in my mailbox.
Please, just make it stop. November 6th cannot come soon enough.
I am not imagining this onslaught. The Manchester Union Leader reports that between Jan. 11 – the day after New Hampshire’s presidential primary – and Friday, Oct. 19, a whopping 16,369 political commercials for president, governor and Congress ran on the only television station based in our state, alone.
Unfortunately, I think I’ve seen all of them. And I fear there will be at least 16,000 more before Election Day.
When it comes to the presidential race, my tiny state with a population of just 1.3 million – smaller than most major cities – is home to only FOUR electoral votes.
Yet, so far, the presidential campaigns and outside issue groups have spent $33.7 million since May 1 to try to get those votes in NH, spending it on TV advertising in NH, as well as stations in Vermont, Maine and the Boston area – all of which reach NH voters – and I’m writing this two weeks before the election. This spending is good news for the stations, but not for me or my fellow Granite Staters, I assure you.
Consider that the only thing I watch on television is the news. So not only am I hearing about the candidates via their TV ads, most of which are just plain nasty or carefully calculated to make me think their candidate is America’s No. 1 patriot, I’m also hearing about them on the news.
I can’t take it anymore. I want to be an informed voter but how do you believe any of these ads, especially when one makes a specific point about the challenger and his or her opponent says exactly the opposite? Can’t we have political ad fact checkers?
What am I saying? We can’t even get consistent debate fact-checkers. I guess the bigger question is: Do facts even matter?
Consider that one-third of U.S. voters will cast their ballots BEFORE Election Day. So who are these ads targeting? According to the Union Leader, they’re after the 6 to 9 percent of NH voters who haven’t decided (really – is anyone STILL undecided?) and another 10 percent who might be swayed. In NH we don’t have early voting so these ads will pummel us until the end.
Imagine what would happen if the millions being spent on political advertising in New Hampshire and other states were spent on some of the problems the candidates are talking about.
That might mean fewer ads, too.
I suppose I could dwell on this for a while, but right now I’m mostly thinking about how quiet it’s going to be on November 7th when instead of being bombarded by political ads, it might be quiet enough that we can reflect upon what our country is going to look like over the next few years.
And no matter who wins, I think most of us are going to be relieved that the campaigns are over!
I'm Pat Remick and I approved this message.