The 2018 election is about a lot of things, chief among them, President Donald Trump and health care. Here are some campaign ads and some longer candidate videos that show the issues candidates and voters care about.
A September Gallup poll found 56% of Americans planned to send a message about Trump with their vote, both for and against. For some Republicans, they’ve made him a central part of their ads.
While campaigning for Tennessee Senate candidate Rep. Marsha Blackburn earlier this month, Trump said, “A vote for Marsha is a vote for me.” She returned the favor in her ad “Get The Job Done.” It opens with Trump saying “we need” Blackburn in the Senate, and she says Tennessee needs a senator who supports Trump.
Some Democrats in red states are making their own appeals to Trump voters too. In Montana, Sen. Jon Tester released an ad titled “Our Border” which touts his endorsement from the National Border Patrol Council. The group, the ad notes, also endorsed Trump. You can view it here.
On the flip side, there are Republicans in tight races where being tied to Trump isn’t a good thing. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican who ran an ad in 2016 vowing to stand up to Trump, was hit in an ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showing how frequently he votes with the President.
The actual top issue in campaign ads this year is health care, according to an analysis of campaign ads by the Wesleyan Media Project. It was the subject of Republican Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley’s “Driven” ad, in which the state’s attorney general says his son has a pre-existing condition. Hawley says in the ad he supports forcing insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions, one of the most popular components of Obamacare.
It’s Democrats who are talking about health care the most, though. The issue has appeared in 54.5% of pro-Democratic ads, including this one by Beto O’Rourke where he criticizes opponent Sen. Ted Cruz’s votes to repeal Obamacare. Obamacare has had at least 50% support since Trump took office, according to Gallup, the most popular the legislation has been in its lifetime.
Jobs Not Mobs
Trump has characterized the election as a choice between jobs and mobs, and it’s a message that’s shown up in ads, including one by the National Republican Congressional Committee. It shows images of protesters and vandals while a voice says, “liberal extremists are tearing America apart,” and then says House candidate Elissa Slotkin in Michigan “is one of them,” showing her face next to someone who appears to have written the word “revolution” in spray paint.
Year of the Woman
A record number of female candidates are running this year, and many of them celebrate their gender in ads, like Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally in Arizona. Her campaign announcement ad included biographical details like that she was the first female fighter pilot, and she fought a military policy that required her to wear a head-to-toe gown while in Saudi Arabia.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened her “The Courage to Change” video with gender: “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office,” she first says. Interspersed are shots of her putting on makeup and changing into heels at a subway station, scenes that give a glimpse into a day-in-the-life of a female candidate.
Few ads this campaign cycle have shown how politically divided it can feel these days than Arizona Democrat David Brill, whose “Paul Gosar is Not Working for You” ad uses Paul Gosar’s own siblings to criticize his opponent in the House race.
Note: h/t to the NBC News Political Unit, which surfaced some of these unlisted videos.