At some point last weekend another incredible, awful ad dropped out of that dark cloud of money hanging over this state.
Another ad in the long list of ads aimed at women by men trying to get them not to vote.
Another ad that makes the art of deconstructing meaning and intent of political advertising child’s play, like a connect-the-dots puzzle with only two dots.
In it, a young, attractive, smartly dressed woman bemoans her boyfriend, Barack Obama. She’s disappointed and wants to break up.
Instantly repulsive, it gets worse from there as various talking points are ticked off using the relationship theme.
Needless to say, the man who paid for the ad and the guy who made it are very proud of themselves. John Jordan, a California winery magnate, said the ad, which is running nationally and heavily in Colorado and North Carolina is Jordan’s effort to get the message to women in a new way. That message: Everything sucks so don’t vote.
Salon’s Joan Walsh, one of the first to flag the ad and its origins, said in a lengthy takedown that the ad is creepy as well as condescending. “The ad is clearly targeting the most loyal Democratic constituency: College-educated and unmarried women voters who may or may not be white,” she wrote.
The torturous spot may create a lot of blowback, but don’t expect the tactic of using ads targeted toward that crucial demographic to go away. Less than six weeks before the election and less than a month before early voting starts we are at that point where outside groups will throw everything against the wall to see what sticks. If anything does, there’s enough money and enough airtime already reserved to saturate the land with whatever message keeps the women of North Carolina, who both historically and in recent polls skew heavily Democratic, away from the voting booth.
The woman in the boyfriend remorse ad, who also says she’s going to unfriend Kay Hagan or something like that, joins the growing ranks of women in ads upset and/or turned off at Democratic politicians and just politics in general. Other than Thom Tillis mansplaining why Kay Hagan, former NC Senate budget writer and bank veep, doesn’t understand math, women, usually seated at the kitchen table with a stack of bills, have been the main messengers in political ads in the 2014 cycle.
If you live in North Carolina and you’ve tried to watch something on YouTube lately you’ve probably had to endure the sad tale of Nell, a middle-class woman squeezed so hard by Obama and his policies that toward the end she actually winces while urging the audience to tell Kay Hagan to make it stop.
Generation Opportunity, the Americans For Prosperity shop aimed at millennials that put out the icky Uncle Sam-in-your-lady-parts ad during the fight over the Affordable Care Act, has made regular buys in North Carolina on Hulu, Twitter and other social media. Their latest effort, aimed at young mothers, uses a line of political parody action figures.
These ads are all pretty easy to decode. They’re negative and meant to build cynicism about politics. There’s almost no attempt to present the other side because they aren’t about changing hearts and minds. They’re about turning women off to politics and the prospect that things can ever change. They don’t want women to vote for anything. They just want them stay home. Preferably, in the kitchen.