For a moment anyway, on Election Day politics gets cleaner—because the ads stop. In the final weeks and days of the campaign the messages from both parties have been consistent, regardless of the race. Republicans have sought to tie Democrats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. Democrats have tried to tie Republicans to the Chinese. Though the messages are similar, one area where ad makers can show their creativity is in picking the gruesome shot of their candidate’s opponent. There are a wide variety of ways to make your opponent look sinister, goofy, and unrecognizable to even his own mother. The trick, says a strategist involved in several races, is to “make your opponent unattractive or alien without making the exercise cartoonish or unbelievable.”
Click here for a brief tour through this year’s best examples of the form.
Become a fan of Slate and John Dickerson on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.