While the Olympics are supposed to be an apolitical sporting event, the truth of the matter is that politics has often been at the forefront of the Olympics. While political campaigning isn’t an Olympic sport (and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be, since politics is not an athletic competition), Hillary Clinton is running a lot of television ads during American television coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Most of the Hillary ads that I’ve seen during Olympic coverage have been on either NBC or NBCSN (although I’ve seen Hillary ads on CNBC as well during the Olympics), and Hillary’s ads have aired during commercial breaks of Olympic programming blocks without any real regard to what sports are being aired during the programming blocks in question. I’ve seen Hillary ads during Olympic programming blocks at many different times of day and have included swimming, gymnastics, rugby, fencing, cycling, water polo, diving, table tennis, golf, and beach volleyball, just to name a few sports. Some sports, such as track & field and golf, are scheduled for later in the Games. All of the national political ad buys have been from the official Hillary campaign committee; I have yet to see an ad from a pro-Hillary/anti-Trump political action committee (PAC), the Donald Trump presidential campaign, or a pro-Trump/anti-Hillary political action committee.
Most of the ads that Hillary is running during the Olympics are aimed at blue-collar progressives. The positive ad that Hillary most frequently uses is an ad detailing her plan to reign in greed on Wall Street. The negative ad that Hillary most frequently uses is an ad featuring a clip from the David Letterman-era CBS Late Show attacking Trump over the Trump line of clothing being manufactured in foreign countries where workers earn, on average, much lower wages than workers in the United States.
In addition to the national Hillary ad buys, my local NBC affiliate (WAND-TV) has aired pro-Tammy Duckworth (from Duckworth’s official campaign committee) and anti-Tammy Duckworth (from a Republican political action committee of some kind) ads, but those ad buys were sold by the local affiliate because Duckworth is running for U.S. Senate here in Illinois. Duckworth’s ads air mainly, but not exclusively, in the NBC primetime Olympic programming block on my local NBC affiliate.
Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the first Bernie Sanders television advertisement of the 2016 presidential election:
According to the Associated Press (AP), the ad is scheduled to air in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to vote on major-party presidential nominees, for ten days, and the Sanders campaign is spending a total of $2 million on the ad buy.
I think that the ad is an excellent introductory ad for Bernie. In fact, Bernie could use the same exact ad for a first general election ad buy, if he were to win the Democratic nomination. While the AP claimed that the ad included “a not-subtle dig at the (Hillary) Clinton political brand” for including a clip of Bernie saying that “people are sick and tired of establishment politics”, Bernie has been fighting the political establishment in America for his entire adult life.
If you’re a taxpayer in the State of Illinois, your taxpayer dollars are paying for…well, this horrible TV ad:
Yes, that is an actual taxpayer-funded public service announcement (PSA) from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). While the intent of IDOT’s “The Driving Dead” ad campaign is to encourage people to drive safely in order to have a lower risk of being killed in an automobile crash on our state’s roads, I didn’t get that message at all from watching the PSA. I saw either the PSA shown above or a different one from the same ad campaign at least once during the FOX broadcast of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race last night, and it was not obvious to me that it was a PSA designed to encourage people to drive safely until I stumbled upon the ad campaign’s website. Who the hell came up with this ad campaign?
Let me make it clear that I’m not against taxpayer-funded PSAs at all, but there certainly has to be a much better way to encourage people to drive safely on our state’s roads and highways.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have made edits to the blog post and title to accurately reflect Nation Consulting founder Thad Nation’s use of a 501(c)(4) organization to give money to right-wing organizations and Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s employment by Nation Consulting.
I’ve found information that proves that Thad Nation, Wisconsin Democratic chairperson candidate Jason Rae’s boss at Nation Consulting, has provided money to at least seven right-wing organizations, including at least four that are funded either directly or indirectly by the Koch Brothers. Nation himself was listed in a 2012 IRS 990 filing as the principal officer of Coalition for the New Economy (CftNE), a 501(c)4 organization that opposes government-run broadband internet services in areas where private-sector firms currently provide broadband internet service. CftNE has also given money to at least several right-wing political groups that have actively opposed Democratic and liberal political candidates, have actively supported Republican and conservative political candidates, and/or have advocated for far-right policies that would have a negative impact on America. Here’s the organizations that CftNE has given money to, according to page 17 of the 2012 IRS filing by that organization:
- $15,000 for “general support” to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a right-wing anti-tax organization that has, among other things, effectively supported allowing the U.S. federal government to default on the national debt. NTU has received a total of $32,500 from the Koch Family Foundations from 1998 to 2008, including $5,000 from Charles Koch’s own foundation in 2008.
- $5,000 for “general support” to the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF), a right-wing organization that spent $1.9 million in television advertising in an attempt to help Republicans win U.S. House races that were seriously contested by both major parties in the 2012 elections. CIF spent a slightly larger amount of money on a similar effort in the 2010 elections.
- $5,000 for “general support” to Americans for Prosperity (AfP), a far-right political organization founded by the Koch Brothers themselves. In Wisconsin, AfP spent $866,000 in ads designed to help Scott Walker win the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race and approximately $2.9 million in ads in opposition to the 2012 recall effort against Walker that was strongly supported by Wisconsin progressives.
- $10,000 for “general support” to FreedomWorks, a far-right organization that has, among other things, ran several anti-union campaigns in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and supported far-right extremist Chris McDaniel, who, among other things, blamed rap music for many of our country’s problems, in his unsuccessful 2014 Republican primary challenge to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
- $5,000 for “general support” to Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), a right-wing organization that was founded by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and, among other things, opposes taxation and supports privatizing Social Security. IPI has received $35,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is identified by the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch as one of the four Koch Family Foundations. IPI is the only one of the organizations listed in the CftNE filing that is a 501(c)(3) organization; all of the others are listed as 501(c)(4) organizations.
- $15,000 for “general support” to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a right-wing organization that has, among other things, attacked the federal government over the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, two of the largest cable television providers in the country.
- $14,740 for “general support” to the 60 Plus Association (60 Plus), a right-wing organization funded by Koch Brothers-funded organizations like Freedom Parners and American Encore as part of a complex web of Koch Brothers-funded organizations. In Wisconsin, 60 Plus ran this advertisement attacking now-Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin for supporting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), federal legislation that provided millions of Americans with health insurance.
That’s a total of $69,740 that Thad Nation has, through CftNE, provided to right-wing organizations that have supported Republicans like Scott Walker, ran smear campaigns against Democrats like Tammy Baldwin, and have supported far-right policies that would make America a much worse place to live. Thad Nation is also the same person who employs Jason Rae as a senior associate at Nation Consulting, and Rae is running for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. If Rae is elected DPW Chair, it would be at least an apparent conflict of interest for someone like Rae to be the head of a state-level Democratic organization if he were to remain employed at Nation Consulting, because the founder of that organization was the head of a 501(c)(4) organization that gave money to groups that support Republicans and their destructive far-right agenda.
Let me finish this post by saying two things about Rae and his supporters. One, Rae’s supporters are some of the most vile people I’ve ever interacted with online. Two, Rae completely lacks the temperament to be in a Democratic Party leadership position of any kind.
An anti-transgender group called the Child Protection League (CPL) paid for a full-page ad in four Minnesota newspapers calling for the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL), the governing body of high school sports in Minnesota, to reject a proposal to allow transgender athletes to participate in high school sports in Minnesota and ban transgender athletes from participating in Minnesota high school sports.
The ad ran in Duluth, Mankato, St. Cloud, and Winona newspapers covering parts of northeastern, central, south central, and southeastern Minnesota.
These ads amount to anti-transgender bigotry, right-wing fearmongering, and hate speech being published in Minnesota newspapers. Unlike the anti-transgender bigots, I firmly believe that transgender people should be allowed to play in sports with athletes of the same gender identity (i.e., transgender people who identify as male should be allowed to play on boys’/men’s teams, and transgender people who identify as female should be allowed to play on girls’/women’s teams).
I’ve decided to enter the MAYDAYin30 video contest that MAYDAY PAC, the Lawrence Lessig-led, crowd-funded SuperPAC that supports ending the culture of big-money politics in this country by, among other things, overturning the Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision by a federal constitutional amendment.
My submission is a video supporting the campaign of Staci Appel, the Democratic U.S. House nominee in the 3rd Congressional District of Iowa. Appel, who has been endorsed by MAYDAY PAC. Staci supports amending the U.S. Constitution in order to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision and end the era of big-money campaigns and SuperPACs that can raise unlimited amounts of money from big-wig donors.
Here’s my video:
If you like my video and would like to see it aired as a TV ad on stations covering Central and Southwestern Iowa, you can vote for my video here!
Rick Weiland, the Democratic candidate in the U.S. Senate race in South Dakota, is running this ad blasting Republican candidate Mike Rounds, a former governor of South Dakota, for a scandal in which the Rounds administration in South Dakota sold EB-5 visas, which are given to foreigners who invest money in the United States, to the highest bidder:
Unlike Mike Rounds, Rick Weiland believes that government shouldn’t be for sale to the highest bidder. That’s why Weiland is visiting every town in South Dakota at least twice, meeting with South Dakotans, and listening to their concerns. Weiland will fight to end the culture of corruption in this country’s political system by getting big money out of politics.
While Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic establishment doesn’t understand Weiland’s populist appeal to South Dakotans, I believe that he can win on November 4. If he wins, he’ll be a wonderful representative of the people of South Dakota.