Elections are more important than you may think

By Anthony Szudarski

Advertisements have a profound effect on any campaign, especially presidential elections.

Campaigning with TV advertisements is nothing new in politics. We’ve all seen commercials saying something about how their opponent wants to, has done or will do something that the incumbent is against. I’m sure by now you get just as annoyed as I do when you see the same ad over and over.

As Northern Star columnist Troy Doetch pointed out in a Wednesday column, the Obama campaign’s Big Bird ad was one of these ads that was meant to turn voters against former Gov. Mitt Romney due to his plans to cut government funding to PBS.

In my opinion, what the Obama campaign did was tacky; however, the ad could have gotten the president the vote of those who are fond of the show.

In past presidential elections, advertising campaigns could make or break the campaign. The more the public understands and relates to a candidate the better. One of the best examples of this is when then-Senator Barack Obama was willing to be interviewed by MTV during his 2008 campaign. He did this because former President Bill Clinton was interviewed on MTV in 1994; in the interview, Clinton gave a whole explanation of his views on the issues and how he planed to help change things and then answered questions from audience members. Some went so far as to ask the most unimportant question of the night: boxers or briefs? This was one view I don’t agree with since Clinton said he preferred briefs, but this made the younger generation of voters approve of Clinton as president. Obama was hoping his 2008 interview would do the same for him.

One of the most successful campaign ads on TV was the Daisy ad for then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign in the 1964 election.

If you’ve never watched it, it’s on YouTube and it’s very powerful. The ad was only aired once and it affected the vote so much that Johnson won by a landslide. During the time, our country was at war in Vietnam and the threat of nuclear holocaust was present. The ad focused on the threat of losing our nation’s children to the war due to then-Senator Barry Goldwater’s extremist views. Sure, compared to now the quality of the ad is horrible, but the message was extremely clear. Vote Johnson: “We must either love each other or we must die.”

Pretty straight forward, don’t you think?

Today ads aren’t quite that powerful. They beat around the bush with messages like “Vote Obama” because former Clinton believes he’s the better choice or vote Romney because he’s not going to raise taxes and he’s going to get more Americans jobs.

Since there are few presidential debates, advertisements are one way I use to find out in 60 seconds or less what one view of candidate is or how they plan on bashing the other. According to the Washington Post, 67 million people watched the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, an awesome increase of 15 million from the first 2008 debate. Clearly I don’t have to say how important it is to keep watching them, but I’m going to anyway.

This election is more important than who’s winning The X Factor or American Idol. As students, we have a voice and for many of us (including myself) it is the first time we will be able to use that voice and vote in a presidential election.

So I ask you to please keep informed and, come Election Day, show everyone you’re voting for a candidate you’re confident in. Because I believe no vote is wasted, so long as you do vote.