The Slatest

Bernie’s New Ad Is Powerful, Simple, and a Stark Contrast to Hillary’s

Above is Bernie Sanders’ new 60-second TV commercial, a version of which will begin running Friday in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Sanders camp has suggested they may have one more ad to unveil before voters in the two states kick off the presidential nominating contests, but with 11 days to go until the Iowa Caucus and 19 days to go until the New Hampshire primary, the commercial serves as something of a nontraditional closing statement in the two states for Bernie. Its simplicity stands in stark contrast to the more detailed and traditional spot Hillary Clinton is currently running in the two early voting states.

It’s pretty great! As an Iowa resident, I’ve been forced to watch an untold number of political ads over the past several months, and this one represents a welcome break from the usual campaign promises and stale warnings that usually interrupt my evenings on the couch.

With the Simon and Garfunkel song “America” playing in the background, Bernie’s ad features picturesque shots of quiet American life—parents with their children, farmers with their cows, young people at work—spliced together with more energetic shots of Sanders rallies. The payoff comes about halfway through as the lyrics “They’ve all come to look for America” appear over a background of digital photos submitted by people who made small donations to the campaign. Bernie logs a decent amount of screen time, but the only time he speaks is to deliver the required tag line at the very end: “I’m Bernie Sanders and I approve this message.” And the message that’s delivered: It’s about you, not him.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the 2016 campaign.