Super PACs or Super Acts

This post is going to be short in the hopes that it spurs discussion.  I was thinking about this over the weekend in the mountains.  Something about the clean air and getting away from the noise of the news that clears the mind.

I don’t live in a battleground state, so the level of political ad spending is low versus what you would see in Ohio, Florida, or Pennsylvania.  That said, we are not blind to the effects of political ad spending.  Further, the pouring of money into the Super PACs has come to national attention in this election cycle, whether you get your news from CNN, Fox, or The Colbert Report.

What bothers me specifically about the spending on political ads by these unchecked funds is that they are buying air.  There is no public good being generated.  The effects are certainly lasting (i.e. a 4 year presidential cycle), but the value is ephemeral.  So here is my idea, open for discussion:

What if a Super PAC decided that it would funnel money to charities and public works projects?  I get that the point of Super PAC ads are to inundate the body politic with messaging about candidates, and there is no confusion about for whom they would like you to vote.  However, it seems to me that there’s a movement which could take root tied to acts of kindness funded by the PACs versus mud slinging.

“This highway funding provided by ‘Re-Elect Obama Campaign’”

“This levee restructuring brought to you buy ‘Elect Romney Campaign’”

“A years worth of food provided at this soup kitchen provided by …”

You get the point.

The adage that misery sells on TV is certainly true, and perhaps I am being too idealist that this could work, but in a time where everyone is acting one way, I believe there’s merit in the notion that to get noticed, one should act differently.  Further, the leadership by example in this case seems that it would do far more to drive home whatever message which is at the center of the platform of whichever party rather than the muck raking to which we are subjected today.  We the people can get behind movements.  We the people can support acts of kindness.  We the people can pass on news of these acts.  We the people deserve better.

So there’s the idea…thoughts?

  • Andrew

    Unfortunately people are far more motivated by the thought of losing something than they are by gaining something. That’s why negative ads work better than positive ones. It’s far more effective to suggest that if elected the other candidate will take something away from you rather than using your record of accomplishments as an indication of better things to come.

    With enough exposure most humans eventually get desensitized to almost everything though and I would guess that with the essentially unlimited money being spent in this election cycle that we have hit that threshold for campaign ads. At least that’s my hope and when billionaires see that they aren’t getting much of a return on their investment they’ll go back to counting their money as opposed to giving it to TV stations.

  • Awesome idea. I am (like you) unsure if it would actually work in the real world but I am an optimist at heart and still want to believe that people are naturally good. I know that it would be better than all the garbage spin/lies going on right now.