Voice of a Nation

The latest U.S. Presidential election is as expensive as it is utterly devoid of sincerity or serious ideas about the nation’s vast problems and injustices. Its hidebound and irrelevant chatter will apparently wind up devouring more than one billion dollars.

TCT could provide you with an extended analysis of the various travesties entwined in the continuing reduction of all public discourse to marketing campaigns. It could also ponder the meaning of the fact that running for President now requires access to $500 million in surplus cash.

Rather than doing that, however, TCT commends your attention to this remarkable video, which says about all that needs to be said at the moment:

The March of Progress

dollar_shadow Some interesting, if unsurprising, facts on the latest advance in the marketing process known as “politics,” from a recent Advertising Age report:

The most marked changes in what viewers will see this fall compared with prior falls is not only in how many ads will confront them, but who is behind them. The explosion of Republican groups — super PACs, 501(c)(4) organizations, trade associations with political arms — is without question the biggest development in all 2012 advertising.

At the presidential level alone, between April 10 (when Romney unofficially claimed the party’s nomination) and early September, these groups accounted for 55% of all presidential ads aired on the Republican side. The remaining 45% were aired by Romney and the Republican National Committee. During this same timeframe in 2008, only 3% of all Republican ads were sponsored by outside groups; 97% were aired by the McCain campaign or the RNC.

On the Democratic side, the difference between 2008 and 2012 is negligible: 91% of all presidential ads aired during the April-September period in 2012 were sponsored by either the Obama campaign or the Democratic National Committee; just 9% of the ads aired came from outside groups such as Priorities USA Action. In 2008, the breakdown was 96% to 4%.

This not only confirms the basic nature of how the U.S. system now works — the rich blatantly buy elections, but also provides yet another major proof of the bankruptcy of the Democratic Party, which makes not a peep about this trend.

And, of course, the explosion in the degree to which all “campaign” discourse now occurs via TV advertisement continues. The same Ad Age reporter estimates that there are now 43,000 political television advertisements running every day in the United States.

The Toothpaste Factor

If you know what you’re looking for, reading the professional “how-to” business press is an excellent way to track reality. It often beats the conventional corporate “news” sources.

Take the recent Advertising Age piece by Elizabeth Wilner, “VP of Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks and analyzes broadcast TV advertising content, placement and spend.” Wilner recounts her recent conversation about political marketing with “a semi-retired political strategist who helped engineer one of the more imaginative blue-chip marketing campaigns of this century.”

At base, my friend offered, selling a candidate is no different from selling toothpaste.

Let’s start with market share. A brand of toothpaste can succeed with a small share, but in a two-candidate race, even a 49.9% share is a loss, plain and simple. Put another way, for toothpaste, the difference between 49.9% and 50.1% is nothing. In politics, it’s everything.

Political advertisements are patches in a crazy quilt, created and targeted to stitch together diverse audiences into a coalition that comprises the winning market share.

Naturally, Wilner and her friend never stop to wonder whether political marketing is compatible in any way with democracy. They couldn’t do that, of course, because the obvious answer is “NO.”

Romney Can’t Read

This in no way constitutes an endorsement of Zerobama, who offers no serious alternative to the continuation of outdated overclass sociological howlers, but it’s just too funny to pass up.

As he travels Israel rehearsing and endorsing war crimes, Mitt “the Barber” Romney apparently dropped this schtick on the host religious-staters:

I was thinking [sure he was!] this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries. And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita for instance in Israel which is about 21,000 dollars and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority which is more like 10,000 dollars per capita, you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.

In his remarks at the fundraiser, Romney also reflected on books he’s read by Jared Diamond, David Landes and his adviser Dan Senor to help him better understand Israel. The Landes book, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, helped him understand decline in great civilizations, he said.

If you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it’s this: culture makes all the difference, Romney said.

So, Romney claims that culture makes all the difference in determining wealth and poverty. And on his reading list of proof for that hoary old claim is Jared Diamond, who won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for showing that culture makes none of the difference!