I live in northwest Arkansas, a red section of a red state (though there are occcasional pockets of blue). I have had the luxury of missing most of the campaignn ads save for what have come across the screen here. I spent several weeks traveling with a deep red friend from Texas, and all we could agree on was that we were each lucky that we did not live in Ohio or Florida so that we did not have to watch non-stop political ads. But last night...
I saw a whole bunch of ads unfamiliar to me. Mostly Super-PAC, American Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity?, and at least one other.
Why now? Arkansas is far from in play. There is not a Senate race. There is not a Democrat running for Congress. In terms over viewership, we cover perhaps one county of Missouri, and three or four in Oklahoma.
Sure there is a turnout guarantee aspect to it, but in the end, what is the marginal utility of these ads? The few undecideds are probably not even voting.
Now for some accounting: When we tally up the money spent on ads this cycles, the dollars spent on these ads will "count" as much as the dollars spent in the spring on narrative building, or last week in FLOHVA.
Is it that the money movers shift spending into places where they are ahead to be able to say, "Look at what a margin we bought here."?
Didn't Joseph Kennedy say something like, "I don't mind buying an election, but I am sure as hell not going to pay for a landslide."?