NBC News: “Trump’s spending in early 2019 was more than the Democratic campaigns combined, but he has been outspent by some candidates in recent weeks. Beto O’Rourke outspent Trump two weeks ago, dropping $157,000 on Facebook compared to Trump’s $109,000. Last week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), spent $198,000 to the president’s $150,000.”
“While Democrats’ campaign launches have sucked up national attention, President Trump’s re-election campaign has quietly spent nearly twice as much as the entire Democratic field combined on Facebook and Google ads,” Axios reports.
“Political advertising strategists say that this level of ad spend on digital platforms this early in the campaign season is unprecedented. The data (captured between December 2018 and now) provides a window into the Trump campaign’s 2020 strategy, which until now has been virtually invisible aside from a few rallies.”
Los Angeles Times: “Welcome to the new frontier of campaign tech — a loosely regulated world in which simply downloading a weather app or game, connecting to Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or powering up a home router can allow a data broker to monitor your movements with ease, then compile the location information and sell it to a political candidate who can use it to surround you with messages.”
“Campaigns don’t match the names of voters with the personal information they scoop up — although that could be possible in many cases. Instead, they use the information to micro-target ads to appear on phones and other devices based on individual profiles that show where a voter goes, whether a gun range, a Whole Foods or a town hall debate over Medicare.”
Politico: “Priorities USA Action, the top Democratic super PAC targeting President Trump in 2020, is promoting its head of digital operations to a new role overseeing all paid media — something akin to a watershed moment in presidential politics.”
“The move to install Danielle Butterfield as paid media director leading the organization’s integrated marketing effort… is a tacit acknowledgment of the growth of digital spending as a share of campaign ad dollars.”
Joshua Green: “Democrats built a midterm electoral wave by centering their message around health care. But since the Nov. 6 election, many Democratic ads have shifted focus from protecting health insurance to protecting special counsel Robert Mueller.”
“In the past several weeks, prominent Democrats have run thousands of Facebook ads urging viewers to sign petitions in support of Mueller, who may be vulnerable to political interference by the Trump administration after the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. They include Senators Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Corey Booker of New Jersey and billionaire activist Tom Steyer, along with a super PAC tied to former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.”
New York Times: “Several House candidates whose compelling biographies (and slickly produced renderings of them) helped put them on the national radar lost on Tuesday, including Randy Bryce in Wisconsin, Amy McGrath in Kentucky and M.J. Hegar in Texas. Ms. McGrath and Ms. Hegar made it close in traditionally conservative areas, though Democrats had higher hopes for full breakthroughs in recent weeks.”
“The conclusion is certainly not that viral videos are counterproductive; they remain a useful and efficient way to raise money and introduce a candidate to a wider audience. But at times, it seems, the audience was not always the intended constituency.”
The Hill: “A handful of Democratic hopefuls barreled into the general election with seemingly larger-than-life profiles that captured priceless media attention and raised the hopes of their supporters. But a number of them came up short on Election Day.”
“Major television networks and Facebook have taken the unusual step of rejecting an inflammatory ad by President Trump’s political team that effectively closes a fiercely fought midterm campaign with a message portraying immigrants as a violent threat,” the New York Times reports.
“The 30-second political spot, which mirrors the president’s apocalyptic warnings about a caravan of asylum seekers in Mexico, was widely denounced as racist and misleading after Mr. Trump shared a longer version of it last week.”
“NBC and Facebook, both of which had run the ad over the weekend, reversed course after a backlash on Monday and announced that the commercial would be removed, saying it fell short of their in-house advertising standards. CNN had refused to air the ad from the start, calling it ‘racist.’ Even Fox News, which has made warnings about the migrant caravan a staple of its prime time coverage of the midterms, felt compelled to distance itself from the ad.”
“The Republican Party has aired eight times as many ads focused on crime and public safety as it did during the last midterm election, according to a HuffPost analysis, a reflection of President Trump’s strategy of trying to fire up the GOP’s base with fear.”
“During the last midterm elections, in 2014, Republicans running for House and Senate seats aired ads about public safety more than 12,000 times… That number spiked to nearly 107,000 for the 2018 election, an increase of more than 800 percent.”
“In the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years, President Donald Trump and the Republican Party accuse Democrats of plotting to help people they depict as Central American invaders overrun the nation with cop killers,” CNN reports.
“On the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, a Vice News investigation found the ‘Paid for by’ feature is easily manipulated and appears to allow anyone to lie about who is paying for a political ad, or to pose as someone paying for the ad.To test it, Vice News applied to buy fake ads on behalf of all 100 sitting U.S. senators, including ads ‘Paid for by’ by Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer.”
“Facebook’s approvals were bipartisan: All 100 sailed through the system, indicating that just about anyone can buy an ad identified as ‘Paid for by’ by a major U.S. politician.”
Wall Street Journal: “In the midterm elections of his first term, 28% of all House and Senate ads — fully 50% of all GOP ads — were anti-Obama. This year, less than 7% of the ads carry an anti-Trump message. Trump-opposition commercials make up just 15% of Democratic ads.”
The Wall Street Journal reports on a new type of political ad.
“It’s low budget, never airs on TV, and is helping unknown, novice candidates make headlines.”
Michigan U.S. Senate candidate John James (R) apologized after it was pointed out that a swastika makes a brief appearance in one of his campaign ads, The Hill reports.
The Nazi symbol was pinned to a bulletin board in a school hallway featured in the ad.
Said James: “I need to fess up and admit this was a terrible error on our part.”
Politico: “Over the last 30 days, close to 100 Republican-funded TV spots casting Hillary Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — or both — as villains have aired more than 34,000 times… In three battleground Senate races alone — Indiana, Missouri and West Virginia — ads featuring Pelosi or Clinton blanketed TV screens, running more than 1,100 times in each state.”
“All told, Republican campaigns or affiliated groups sunk $28.4 million into the Clinton and Pelosi messaging over the last month.”
Politico: “Attacks ads have always been a staple of campaign season. But Republicans have twisted facts in some ads to an extraordinary degree as they fight to save their House majority, weaving narratives about Democratic candidates that are misleading at best — or blatantly false at worst.”
“In several ads, military vets — who count as some of Democrats’ best recruits to defeat sitting Republicans this year — have had their patriotism called into question.”
“Democrats say the spots, aired mostly by the outside GOP super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund and the National Republican Congressional Committee, smack of desperation. In some cases, local Republicans, religious leaders and newspaper editorial boards have have denounced the attacks.”
Constituents in Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) district “may find a curious campaign mailer on their doorsteps or in their mailboxes this week,” the Visalia Times-Delta reports.
“That mailer isn’t attacking his opponent in the November election or promoting the eight-term congressman’s accomplishments.”
“The glossy 38-page, full-color magazine titled The Fresno Bees: The dirty little secrets of the Valley’s propaganda machine contains criticisms of the McClatchy-owned newspaper’s coverage of the congressman in office since 2003.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) released one of the stranger political ads of the year.
“My siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President Trump. These disgruntled Hillary supporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Stalin would be proud.”