Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.
Dear Dr. Ads,
There I was, minding my own business and reading Politico Weekly Score’s Pre-Election Day Special Edition by Madison Fernandez, when I came across this knee-buckling statistic.
— $16.7 billion: The new projected total spending on state and federal elections blows away the 2018 record. Federal candidates and political committees are expected to spend $8.9 billion, while state candidates, party committees and ballot measure committees are on track to hit more than $7.8 billion, per OpenSecrets.
What the hell, Doc – have they completely lost their minds?
– All Those Dollars and No Sense
Dear All Those,
Well yes they have.
Here’s how the Politico piece broke down the spending.
— $272 million: That’s how much party committees have booked on TV, cable, satellite, radio and digital ads from the beginning of the year through Election Day, per AdImpact. The Democrats spent more over the last eleven months in both chambers. DCCC tops that list with over $96 million, followed by NRCC with over $91 million. DSCC poured in over $45 million, and NRSC spent over $39 million.
— $693 million: That spending script is flipped when it comes to the parties’ flagship congressional super PACs. Republicans dominated the space, contributing to over half of that total. Senate Leadership Fund and Congressional Leadership Fund booked over $206 million and $189 million, respectively. Senate Majority PAC booked over $155 million, and House Majority PAC dedicated over $142 million.
Donald Trump’s MAGA, Inc. grudgingly coughed up $16 million across a handful of swing states, but that’s chump change compared to 1) the total amount he’s fleeced the rubes for, and 2) the amounts spent by other outside groups.
“We’ve also seen huge ad spending from outside groups like Club for Growth Action (over $61 million since the beginning of the year), Citizens for Sanity (over $59 million) and Mitch McConnell-affiliated One Nation (over $58 million),” Politico’s Fernandez wrote.
It’s all been pretty smashmouth, but especially vile has been the advertising campaign from the self-styled Citizens for Sanity, a dark-money PAC spearheaded by MAGA gunsel Stephen (Babysnatcher) Miller. As Matt Stieb wrote in New York’s Intelligencer, “[the] ads have been flagged on YouTube as “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences” and widely decried as blatantly racist.”
This one serves as a representative sample.
PolitiFact’s overall grades for the group tell you all you need to know about it.
Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today nd here’s what poured out.
Dear Dr. Ads,
There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News, when I came across this item by Max Cohen.
Voters in the country’s most competitive House and Senate races face a deluge of Republican ads focusing on the dubious claim that Democrats have empowered the IRS to hire an army of 87,000 new agents to target the middle class.
Since Aug. 1, Republican candidates and groups have spent more than $12 million on roughly 24,000 airings of ads warning of a massive influx of IRS agents, according to an AdImpact analysis. The spots are targeting vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and New Hampshire, as well as toss-up House races from Michigan to Kansas.
But at the heart of the attack ads is an argument the IRS itself says is “inaccurate.” Experts say that the IRS is mainly seeking to replenish its aging workforce and beef up its outdated tech, not hound average Americans.
What the hell, Doc – all these Republican grifters just get to lie their way into office?
That seems to be the general drift of this election cycle. Then again, $12 million is lunch money in the big scheme of this year’s U.S. Senate races, as evidenced by this Katherine Huggins piece at MarketWatch.
Outside spending is pouring into the 2022 Senate races, as Democratic control of the chamber hangs in flux.
Nearly $450 million in outside spending has been spent on Senate races so far this cycle, according to OpenSecrets, a watchdog group that tracks money in politics. Just over 80% of that sum, or about $360 million, went to the 10 races deemed competitive by Cook Political Report.
Lunch money or not, $12 million in lying ads is not nothing, as Punchbowl News points out, especially when it puts falsehoods like these on the public radar screen
→ Senate Leadership Fund, the GOP super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accused Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) of voting “yes to 87,000 new IRS employees to audit the middle class.”
→SLF also assailed Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) for his vote “to hire 87,000 new IRS employees to dig even deeper in middle class pockets.”
None of that is true. Here’s what is true: “The IRS expects up to 50,000 of its current 80,000 employees to retire in the next five years. And despite facing a far broader set of responsibilities, the agency is operating with far fewer employees than it was 30 years ago, when the IRS boasted 117,000 workers.”
So most of the new hires will simply replace the departing staffers. Beyond that, the IRS is about as technologically sophisticated as Donald Trump, so a bunch of the other new hires will be tech geeks, not jack-booted tax auditors.
The GOP’s deceptive campaign ads don’t stop there, though, as Judd Legum reported in his Popular Information newsletter.
One of the challenges of attacking any Democratic incumbent on crime is identifying a basis for the attack. Democrats have controlled Congress for two years and, for better or worse, have not done anything to reform the criminal justice system or reduce the power of law enforcement. Both the Senate and House have passed legislation, the Invest to Protect Act, that would provide tens of millions of additional funding to local police departments.
That didn’t stop Republican candidates and the groups that support them from running 53,000 commercials on crime during the first three weeks of September. Over the same time period, “50 percent of all Republican online ads in battleground states…focused on policing and safety.”
As Legum notes, however, the windfall for felons was a bipartisan gift.
The ad claims that Warnock voted “to send almost a billion in COVID relief checks to hundreds of thousands of convicted criminals in prison.” There are similar attack ads currently being run against Democratic Senate candidates in Ohio and Florida. And the NRSC has made the same claim against Democratic Senate candidates in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Nevada.
These ads, however, are extremely deceptive. If Democrats “chose felons” over law-abiding families, so did almost every incumbent Republican Senator and former President Trump.
A majority of GOP nominees — 299 in all — deny the 2020 election results
Experts say their dominance in the party poses a threat to the country’s democratic principles and jeopardizes the integrity of future votes
A majority of Republican nominees on the ballot this November for the House, Senate and key statewide offices — 299 in all — have denied or questionedthe outcome of the last presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Candidates who have challenged or refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory are running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republican voters in four states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races The Post examined.
The worst part? “Although some are running in heavily Democratic areas and are expected to lose, most of the election deniers nominated are likely to win: Of the nearly 300 on the ballot, 174 are running for safely Republican seats. Another 51 will appear on the ballot in tightly contested races.”