Editorial: The season we love to hate

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2016

Consider this a public service announcement. The political ads are coming, probably sooner than you think.

It might be hard to believe, but candidates for U.S. president spent $100 million on advertising in 2015 without any caucus or primary’s being held. Not surprisingly, $72 million of that total was poured into Iowa and New Hampshire alone.

Right now in New Hampshire, 25 percent of all commercial time on the state’s biggest television station is devoted to political advertising.

What kind of television ads have you missed? A group backing John Kasich of Ohio ran a spot in December likening Donald Trump to a hippopotamus — pictures of Trump and a hippo were juxtaposed. The overriding message was that Trump was a “hippo”-crite.

What else? A super PAC for Ted Cruz ran a television ad going after fellow Republican Marco Rubio, portraying Rubio as unfit for the presidency. But it’s difficult for Rubio to play a  victim. His campaign unleashed an attack ad on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The Rubio ad criticized Christie for supporting an online sales tax, Common Core and Medicaid expansion, but it really went after Christie’s embracing of President Obama in 2012, during the days after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey.

A group supporting Jeb Bush aired a commercial faulting Rubio’s attendance record in the U.S. Senate. It also went after Trump. One of Trump’s first television ads played on the fears of immigration and ISIS.

A Cruz ad in Iowa titled “Victories” credited the candidate with protecting the Ten Commandments, Pledge of Allegiance, and Second Amendment. There have been more, lots more.

The examples are offered as an introduction to what’s ahead for us. North Carolina’s Republican and Democratic primaries have been pushed ahead this year and will be held March 15. Not that they all will be running media advertisements, but North Carolina has 27 presidential candidates on the primary ballot — 12 Republicans, four Democrats and 11 Libertarians.

A great winnowing of candidates may occur before March 15 and save us from a complete avalanche of  political advertisements that, let’s face it, offer little on which the electorate can make informed decisions. Before March 15, 24 other states already will have held their primaries or caucuses.

Who knows, the big-party nominees already may be clear by then. For now, things look as muddy as the Yadkin River.