There were many firsts in the election that was held Tuesday. At least, for this writer. The money spent by candidates in some races reached a new high. Most of it went for television advertising.
The amendments and propositions also drew quite a bit of advertising.
Candidates used social media at record levels. The race for the U.S. Senate in Missouri topped anything we have experienced before — in news releases and requests for campaign donations. We deleted more emails than we ever had before. It got to the point that even news releases were deleted and were not read.
We received more requests for donations — some were begging for money, desperate pleas — right up to Election Day.
Never can we remember having received so many requests for campaign donations as in this election. We rarely have ever donated to political candidates — because of the profession we are in.
We’ve commented before about the personal attacks — the large number, the mean tones, the misleading and untruthful ones — that we witnessed in this election.
We have never heard so many comments expressing disgust with the political television ads. In many instances, it was money wasted because people turned away from them. We heard from voters that many of the ads were an insult to their intelligence, and they refused to look at most of them.
The out-of-state donations in the U.S. Senate race must have set records in the state. Millions of dollars were contributed from out-of-state individuals and political committees. It’s doubtful if Missouri ever had a U.S. Senate race that attracted as much national attention as the 2018 contest.
Another observation, with all the interest in the political contests we didn’t hear locally that many arguments about the candidates. We believe many voters made up their minds months ago. To them all the TV advertising was a waste of their time.
That may have been true nationally also.
Politics can bring out the worst in many people. Aristotle (384-322) said: “Man is by nature a political animal.” If he were living today he might say, “Men and women are by nature political animals.”
Henry Brooks Adams (1938-1918) had this to say about politics: “Politics . . . has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.”