Search

This Is A Pretty Shitty Political Ad-- And In More Ways Than One



Some overpaid consultant came up with this ad idea (above), probably a team of consultants: Trump endorsed Dr. Oz and now "Dr. Oz is losing. By A LOT." Presumably these kinds of ads bring in a few bucks from the base. The DCCC, DNC and DSCC use these exact same scare tactics very frequently. I always thought they were counter-productive. I mean people want to be associated with winners, not losers. And Oz seems to be painting himself-- and Trump-- as losers. Accurate, but unappealing.


I asked a really sharp ad-maker, Spencer Slovik, who runs his own L.A.-based advertising firm, Mycorrhiza Digital. He told me that his "first instinct, as someone who works in politics, is that this is pathetic. Losing by that much in a race for a seat currently held by a Republican? This is an embarrassing stat to put out. But, if the point here is to raise money, there's some potential it helps invigorate Oz's base and convince them to help him out-- because of the same reason I previously stated (a Republican should not be doing this badly in Pennsylvania). The DNC runs this sort of thing a lot for its candidates, usually with smaller margins to actually give the donor a (often false) sense of hope, so I'm sure there's some merit to it, but it's the type of substance-free campaigning I usually advise those on the left to avoid."


Besides, as of the April 27 FEC reporting deadline, Oz had raised $15,079,360, over $12 million of which (80%) had come from self-funding and just 4% had come from the kind of small donor contributions this ad is meant to appeal to. Close to $40 million has already been spent by independent SuperPACs and my gut says that that's where most of the money spent in this race is going to be coming from.


In any case, what about the way Oz tried tarring former small town mayor and current Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman with the gratuitous "Socialist" smear? Fetterman is a slightly left of center Democrat, not a socialist. Alan Grayson, currently running in his old Orlando congressional seat, told me that "Conservatives attack progressives as 'socialists' because they think that it inoculates them against the charge that they are fascists, even though so many of them are. It’s all projection with them, 24/7/365."


Washington state congressional candidate Jason Call took the argument a step further: "I’m absolutely fine with conservatives labeling me as a socialist. I’m a socialist. What I find amusing and gratifying though, is that the word isn’t the scare word that it used to be. Recent studies say that 40% of young people who consider themselves conservative don’t see socialism as anti-American. Of course, the Constitution doesn’t mention economic systems. There’s no constitutional ban on socialist policies and there’s no constitutional support for capitalism. It’s the capitalists, the ownership class that has sold that lie for the last 80 years. Socialism is a Democratic form of government. Collectivism doesn’t mandate authoritarian leadership. In fact, as Lee Carter, my friend and former Blue America-endorsed candidate for Virginia Governor says, 'if it’s not democratic, it’s not socialism.' Capitalism has run us into the ground. It requires exploitation to function, and when it functions it only functions well for the privileged. The generations coming behind me understand this, they are living it, and they will demand change."

In the 2016 run-up to the presidential election, Salon published a piece by Gary Legum that makes a point similar to Call's, Bad news for the GOP: America isn't scared of Bernie's "socialism". Legum emphasized that the Republican Party has spent generations raving about the dangers of socialism but that it isn't working anymore. He talks about how the socialism smear Republicans used against Bill Clinton and against Obama had had the net effect of denuding the word "socialism," boy-who-cried-wolf-wise, "of the negative associations that scares the crap out of Fox News viewers. Polling over the last few years has shown Americans are much more receptive to some of what socialism has to offer and will not wet themselves in fear when they hear the word. This is particularly true of younger voters who were in grade school when the Soviet Union collapsed. In 2011, a Pew Research Center poll found that 49% of 18-to-29-year-olds had a positive view of socialism.


No American president since Lincoln has been as beloved as Franklin Roosevelt-- and no American president since Lincoln has been as violently attacked by conservatives as Franklin Roosevelt. The Establishment never gave up calling FDR-- as well as Eleanor Roosevelt-- a socialist. In 1932 Roosevelt beat incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover with 472 electoral votes to Hoover's 59. Hoover only won 6 states. Once FDR got into office he started pushing his agenda of democratic socialism and the Republican Party and other rightists screamed "Socialism!" from the rooftops. Four years later, Kansas Governor Alf Landon was the GOP anti-socialism candidate and he lost Kansas and every other state but two. FDR won 523 electoral votes to Landon's 8. Roosevelt went from winning 57.4% of the vote in 1932 to 60.8% in 1936. In 1940, Roosevelt ran for an unprecedented third term and with the GOP still screaming "Socialist," he won 38 states and 449 electoral votes to Wendell Willkie's 82 electoral votes and 10 states. Four years later the GOP put up Thomas Dewey and just kept screaming "socialism." FDR's 432 electoral votes and 36 states seemed to prove to everyone-- but Republicans-- that "socialism" was as disliked as Republicans are.


Here's how, in part, President Franklin Roosevelt responded to the Republicans' shrill and unrelenting screeching about socialism in his 1936 Democratic convention acceptance speech:


It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.
Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.
The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.
...The brave and clear platform adopted by this convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.
But the resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.
For more than three years we have fought for them. This convention, in every word and deed, has pledged that the fight will go on.

If more Democrats spoke like this-- and governed this way-- we wouldn't be on the verge of a Democratic-- and democratic-- collapse and a victory for the kind of fascism our country beat-- under FDR as a matter of fact-- 8 decades ago. Even Truman, a relatively centrist Democrat, understood this-- and campaigned on it... and won:



148 views