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“Tough Talk and Trickle-Downs: Republican Ads Heat Up in Iowa and New Hampshire

As America barrels towards 2020, the political advertisements have become increasingly more extreme. In Iowa and New Hampshire, Republican ads are reaching an all-time intensity, designed to stoke fear and remind potential voters of their most dreaded opponents. The Republican Party of Iowa has put out a series of radio and television ads featuring distressing content in order to bring people out to the polls on Election Day. In one ad, a “professional middle class voice” recounts an example of “tax increases, government spending, and rising health care costs” with the underlying message being that life in America is “heading in the wrong direction.” Surprisingly, it is not just the Republican Party of Iowa that is attempting to persuade constituents with fear and misery. The New Hampshire Republican Party recently issued a television ad attempting to bring to the vote through sheer lunacy and paranoia, citing the “state of the nation” under Democratic control. The ad warns viewers of Democrats’ “radical policies” and, in a particularly confusing moment, features a picture of the White House with the American flag on half mast. The Republican parties’ tactics are obvious — they are attempting to depict a dystopic future should the opposition take office. As the ads become more numerous and conspicuous, citizens are presented with more and more pessimistic renderings of the United States, aiming to convince them to vote Republican. The outcome of this cycle of increasingly extreme Republican propaganda remains unclear, and it remains to be seen whether Americans will respond to fear or to hope.