9 Things Every Overly Patriotic Presidential Campaign Ad Has, From Bald Eagles To “Everyman” Visuals
Presidential campaign ads fall into a few categories. There are the short and sweet, the long and bitter, the shade-throwing, and the aggressively patriotic. It's those in the final category that are hands-down the most hilarious. Luckily for us, Decision 2016 is on the horizon, and we have a whole new batch of overly patriotic campaign ads to make fun of. We are not worthy.
Here's just a short list of things you're likely to see in some of these chest-thumpingly 'Murican TV spots: amber waves of grain, stars and stripes wafting in the breeze, explosions, and smiling Caucasian children. Granted, most of these things don't represent actual political issues. Political relevance aside, a bevy of (mostly conservative) politicians from, Lyndon B. Johnson to Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan to (of course) Ted Cruz have employed this veritable art form in an endeavor to convince the voters that they should lead the free world. Because as we all know, nothing says "I got this, America" like a bald eagle soaring triumphantly over a mushroom cloud.
Because America is super hilarious and bizarre, we're breaking down exactly what goes into these bleeding-heart patriotic ads. Make sure to catch more hilarious political commentary on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Mondays at 10:30 E.T. / 9:30 C.T. on TBS. 'Murica!
This post is sponsored by Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
1. Waving American Flags
Whether it's rippling in the wind or being gazed upon by a candidate who is awkwardly pregnant with reverence for their nation, you can't have a piece of USA-loving propaganda without the stars and stripes. For a hilarious critique of this trope, feast your eyes on Samantha Bee's parody of Ted Cruz doing this.
2. White Kids Enjoying Childhood
From LBJ's daisy ad to LBJ's ice cream girl ad, no campaign spot is complete without some blonde-haired, blue-eyed children playing and stuff. Such images mean that if you don't vote for said candidate, all the Aryan children will disappear or become Communists.
3. Regular Working-Class American Stuff
You can't run for president without having mountains of money, but you can't win without convincing the super regular, working-class everyman that you're just like him. People in boiler suits working on industrial projects, shots of farmers, and other pictures of the hard-working blue collar citizens accomplish this. Or you can always pull a Mike Huckabee and claim to go campaigning in a big ole' John Deere. After all, coach buses are for terrorists and people who shop at Whole Foods!
4. Badass Visuals To Connote Military Strength
Jets! Tanks! Explosions! Anything that demonstrates the might of America is the syrupy glaze on your campaign apple pie. Being the 'Murica-pumping zealot that he is, Cruz of course has some of this. Uh, duh!
5. A Triumphant Score
To be effectively inspirational, your background music should sound like the themes from Gladiator and Last of the Mohicans made passionate love and gave birth to the New York Philharmonic. That or a badass rock-and-roll song about America, like Herman Cain's 2012 campaign song, are the only options when it comes to tunes.
6. Hey! Check Out This Family That's Totally Mine ...
Voters aren't gonna believe that you stand for family values unless you possess your own nuclear family whom you parade around for them. Nothing captures the awkwardness of this self-conscious family presentation than Cruz awkwardly rubbing his wife's back on a pier. *shudders*
7. Quintessentially American Animals
Even when they stand for the lurking menace of our enemies (like the bear in the above 1984 Ronald Reagan ad), America loves animals. Your first choice should obviously be to find a bald eagle, cloak it in the flag, and train it to sing "Proud To Be An American." If you don't know any eagles or bears though, plop literally any other vaguely American animal in there — horses, deer, golden retrievers, and even beavers work.
After showcasing the majesty of U.S. fauna, nothing is more frontier-like than shooting said fauna. As we can see from the above Ted Cruz parody ad, even non-indigenous creatures get the desired point across. "USA! Don't tread on us!!"
9. American Landmarks And National Treasures
The Land of the Free's biggest tourist attractions are mandatory in your ad, from the Washington Monument to the White House to Mount Rushmore. If no landmarks are available, just make like Huckabee and bribe the most treasured of American icons, Chuck Norris, to appear in your ad.