When You Can’t Talk About Accomplishments, You Talk About Advertisements

We’ve already been bombarded by political advertisements for the midterm election. There really is little a person can do to avoid them. The thing is, we know the saturated airwaves will get worse the closer we get to November. Candidates and more noticeably political action committees will continue to pour dollars into television, radio, and digital. It is tiresome and there seems to be an obsession with advertisements in this cycle from political parties and partisan pundits. Why the constant critique and complaints?

When you can’t talk about accomplishments, you talk about advertisements. If the record of the candidate is nothing to stand on, you critique the ads pointing out that record. Don’t like the narrative from a group’s advertisement, find a way to negatively tie them to the opponent. At least that seems to be the pattern developing in North Dakota as of late.

Is the obsession with advertising this year something more? Is the emphasis because of Pat Finken who is President of Odney Advertising, manager of Kevin Cramer’s Senate campaign, and quite frankly the de facto operator of NDGOP advertising for years? It seems the duty of the whole operation has been to attempt and discredit advertisements.

As far as I can find, I’ve written about three political advertisements in 2018. The first was about a claim in one of Kelly Armstrong’s advertisements. The second instance was about Kevin Cramer’s first ad paid for by his campaign. Both were directed by the candidates’ campaigns, meaning they personally endorsed the content and tone. The third was about Americans for Prosperity thanking Heitkamp for her accomplishments regarding the banking bill. The latter was newsworthy because of the unusual move from a conservative group in an election year.

Don’t get it wrong. There are times and instances where critiquing, correcting, and even applauding ads are appropriate. In fact, I’m sure I’ll fill this space writing about another ad or two before the end of this election cycle. It is the mere obsession being displayed with every single advertisement this year that has caught my attention. It has me wondering what is behind it.

If people really want to go down the critique-every-advertisement road, let’s point out something about Cramer’s ads to date. Notice anything missing in those ads? Accomplishments. It’s soon August, and we’ve yet to hear what specifically he has accomplished in his six years in office. This brings me back to the point of this post, it appears when you can’t talk about accomplishments, you talk about advertisements.

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