If we have so little patience for advertising, why do we obsess over political advertising? Why do we claim to be immune from the ministrations of marketers, whose measure of success is not so much an increase in sales but increased awareness of the products they seek to sell, while we invest anything partisan with a power it does not possess?
How do we go from changing channels to having the medium channel us, where our cynicism dissolves into compliance, until we repeat the words of the narrator and finish the narrative on Election Day? Are we just patsies in a bloodless coup d’état in which the path to Pennsylvania Avenue starts on Madison Avenue? Please.
Let us, therefore, stop pretending that Donald Trump won the presidency by way of a cabal of Russians and a combination of Facebook ads. If I am wrong, show me the people—give me the names—of the men and women who were “with her” before they voted for him.
I ask because, if true, a handful of Muscovites are the world’s greatest magicians. I want them to promote my movies and music. I want to hire them, if I can afford them, because they convert mouse clicks into a hypnotic melody. They are the pied pipers of Hamelin and all other villages and hamlets.
If only it were so easy. If only a non-rigged election were in fact rigged by machines instead of a political machine. If only there were an intelligence too high to be human, which not even Hillary Clinton—a genius, I know—could equal.
If only, indeed, since Clinton’s supporters could then make her a martyr. They could cry foul and fascism—they already do—so as to dismiss a campaign that was as inept as it was infuriating to those deemed too deplorable to be American and too blind to see the true future of America.
If only political advertising worked so well.