5 political ads that may have changed the outcome of the election
- Election spending in 2020 hit a record of $10.8 billion with the Biden campaign far outspending the Trump campaign.
- Some ads in swing states targeting key voters may have impacted final results in those states, but it's impossible to say how much.
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The 2020 elections are the most expensive in history, with congressional and presidential races hitting $10.8 billion according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Throughout the campaign season, Biden has continued to outraise and outspend Trump, although ad spending doesn't always translate to wins. In three key swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Biden spent $57 million, more than double Trump's $17 million, The New York Times reported.
In a year of record spending, here are some ads that could have swayed voters in key states to change the course of the election.
The Trump campaign ran a number of ads targeting Latinos, particularly in the swing state of Florida. "Por Trump" ran in "key markets" the campaign said in a statement according to Fox News, and boasted of the president's accomplishments in a Spanish language ad with music from a Cuban-American group. It features Trump dancing in front of supporters with "Latinos for Trump" signs.
Trump is projected to win the key swing state of Florida, which has gone for Republicans in eight of the last 12 presidential elections. The state has 29 electoral votes.
Maximo Alvarez's speech at the Republican National Convention
This Facebook ad from the Trump campaign targeted Cuban Americans and emphasized fears of socialism, urging voters to vote for Trump and "CHOOSE FREEDOM OVER OPPRESSION!"
Variations of the ad featuring a portion of Cuban American Maximo Alvarez's speech at the Republican National Convention ran on Facebook in late October. At least 41 ads used a variation on this messaging, according to Facebook's ad library, and were seen by millions of people mostly in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Michigan.
A Trump ad called "Break In" aired in Orlando, Tampa, and Cincinnati, markets in swing states Florida and Ohio that both are projected to go for Trump, according to The Week, targeting older voters.
It aired during "Judge Judy" and "Jeopardy," according to Bloomberg claiming that Joe Biden would defund police and 911 operators. It leans into fears about crime versus law and order, showing an elderly woman's home being broken into and explicitly saying "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."
"Shop Talk — Our Right"
The Biden campaign ran some get out the vote ads in Michigan targeting Black voters. Biden is projected to win Michigan, a key state for Democrats after it went to Trump by a narrow margin of fewer than 11,000 votes in 2016.
The ad features Black men in a barbershop talking about the urgency of voting and putting experienced leaders in office. "There is no good reason, if you're able to vote, not to vote," one of them says.
Get out the vote messages are common, but The New York Times noted that television ads are rarely used for that purpose because the medium is so expensive. Instead, getting out the vote is usually left to door knocking and on-the-ground operations.
This year's strategy seems to have paid off as the state flipped its 16 electoral votes to Biden, with increased turnout among Black voters in the Detroit area pushing him ahead.
Biden's "Stand Together" ad in Georgia targeted Asian American voters, who "could play a decisive factor in the suburban 7th Congressional race," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The state has not been called for either candidate as of publishing, and though it has gone for Republicans every year since 1996, Biden still has a chance to take the state. Of the competitive races in the state, only the sixth Congressional district has been called for Democrats. The electoral votes, along with the senate race and seventh Congressional District, are still up for grabs.
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