Wasting Time

If you have a heartbeat, and watch television, there could not be a better time to be “wasting time”.  The combination of local and national sponsored political ads running for State and Federal positions presents an amazing display of what is not important, relevant, or at all helpful in knowledgeably selecting the candidate who will represent your interests better.

So many television advertisements are negative, mean spirited, and intentionally misleading that the feel good, “look here’s my family, I approve this message” while more pleasant to hear or see, are too weak to catch and hold the voters’ interest.

Advertising experts tell us that their craft is about catching the listener/viewer’s attention and then implanting an idea which will keep reminding the observer to take a certain action, like “vote for Joe”.  There is no time, these experts say, in a print or TV ad to teach.  Instead the ad must be emotive and encourage the recipient to act on “feelings”.  

Town hall meetings, potentially, allow for a more in-depth discussion and questioning.  Even in this format, dog whistle topics can achieve the same emotive outcomes.  What about 

  • “Immigrants are taking your jobs”, or

There is a fact component and a “so what” component.  If immigrants are in fact displacing longer term residents, why is that?  What alternative jobs are available (or could be) and what skills would those jobs require.  What is candidate X’s proposal to provide the opportunity for upward job mobility?

Invariably the candidate who warns of “immigrants are taking your job” has no policy or idea of how to grow the larger pie.  It is far easier to arose xenophobia than to think creatively and attempt to raise all boats.


  • “he’s a socialist who will raise your taxes”, or 

Once again the emotive word “socialist” is handed out like candy.  In truth, social welfare policies must be paid for and so the possibility of increasing taxes would exist.  But here in lies the intellectual dishonesty.  Where is the discussion of what specific policies would result in increased need for tax revenues?  Ironically, “Medicare for all” ( a euphemism for Universal healthcare) is core to most solutions aimed at achieving a balanced Federal budget and eventually reducing the national debt.  (The idea is that unless the US lowers its per capita healthcare spending to be in line with best in class globally which is about one half US spending, there is no path to a balanced budget.) 

What are candidate Y’s views on fixing the decaying infrastructure, providing basic healthcare with no exception around pre-existing conditions, or spending on social needs versus military spending?

  • “she’s a fighter who will change Washington (DC)”.

“She” might be your preferred candidate, but what does “she” see as key policies?  What is it about her make up that underscores “she is a fighter” and why would that be good?  Of course a candidate could have wonderful ideas, present a cheery disposition, and become a “get along, go along” type of elected official. 


Deep down, voters need to believe any candidate will put the business of governing ahead of their natural sense of increasing their personal wealth.  Is that message presented loud and clear?

Without a doubt, negative ads are cost effective and in the absence of any fact or policy filled presentations can be any easy pick.  The current crop of hollow, misleading TV ads intimidate most politicians, and the knee jerk reaction is to counter in kind.  Informed voters must, however, look beyond, discard all negative ad influence, and highly discount all other ads which do not communicate policy recommendations.

Otherwise, we are wasting time. 

Explore posts in the same categories: Politics, Uncategorized

3 Comments on “Wasting Time”

  1. I rarely watch Television these days. By that I mean normal TV. I have my hands full with Netflix and Amazon Prime.
    But you have made an interesting point which has led me to ponder.

  2. Deborah Baird Says:

    I press mute on the remote when the political ads come on. Time is not the only thing wasted. So much money going down the toilet. After hearing them over and over
    ad nauseam they begin to sound like Snoopy on “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Wah, wah, wah…….

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