Political attack ads target voter’s T.V.’s instead of candidates

Tomorrow, at 8 a.m., the polls open for the 2022 midterm elections. Spots are up for re-election in the House of Representatives, Governor, Senate and many other government offices in Nebraska.

One thing everyone knows comes with an election is the countless phone calls, emails, texts and ads attacking several political candidates. This year was especially ruthless, with the position of governor being up for grabs since Governor Pete Ricketts had reached his term limit. The final race is between democrat Carol Blood and republican Jim Pillen.

Aside from governor, the competition is especially heated between democrat Tony Vargas and republican Don Bacon fighting for district two’s House of Representatives seat.

I personally have seen the most attack ads for Vargas and Bacon. Honestly their race has overshadowed the gubernatorial election, which I think is somewhat more important since the governor is the highest position in the state.

House of Representatives candidates Tony Vargas (bottom) and Don Bacon (top). Photos courtesy of Mark Johnson.

You can’t drive down any street in Omaha without seeing a political sign for Bacon or Vargas. For anyone that has a phone number listed on any public forum, the calls are constant.

In my opinion, all of these ads are annoying to hear about all the time and don’t do much good for the candidates. Most people l’ve talked to about it agree that the ads are more of a nuisance than anything, and make them dislike the candidates that put them out.

In today’s political situation, a lot of voters already know who they’re voting for right off of the bat. Politics are so divided that some decide who they’re voting for solely based on the party the candidate is in, or who they associate themselves with.

The attack ads put out could also effect whether or not people vote. History teacher Anthony Razor shares his opinion on this.

“I could see people not voting out of spite. They get so annoyed they just don’t vote. Less than 50% of eligible voters in this country vote,” Razor said.

Nebraska’s district two race is also unique. It’s not a red or blue district but more of a purple one, and can go either way. It is vital in close presidential races, and won an electoral vote for Joe Biden in 2020.

“Nebraska’s district two is a swing district so we get all the ads from both the candidates and national organizations. But the thing is, Nebraskans for the most part are rational voters. We don’t, and have never had, a politician that is extreme in one way or the other,” Razor said. “We don’t have politicians that make waves. So the aggressive nature of some of the ads, from both parties, don’t really help around here.”

Although not all politicians put out these attack ads. Some campaigns throughout the years have had minimal ads. Razor sites two  people as an example.

“I want to hear what you have to say about an issue, not what is wrong with your opponent. I find Tony Vargas’ campaign really refreshing because all of his ads are positive. He doesn’t attack [Don] Bacon, he just tells people who he is and why they should vote for him,” Razor said. “I remember Jim Suttle doing that when he ran for mayor years ago, and he won.”