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October 24, 2014

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Commercials are becoming more outrageous than anything a cartoonist can create.’

Mike Smith’s take on Campaign 2012

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Mike Smith

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A Q+A with: Mike Smith

Editorial Cartoonist, Las Vegas Sun, Smith’s World.

What trends have you seen during this election?

The flood of money into the process from the super-rich campaign contributors. Now that there are fewer restrictions, I suspect we’ll see more super donors attempting to manipulate election outcomes to their liking.

Also, the continuously deteriorating level of discord displayed in campaign commercials. These ads are beginning to look like “Saturday Night Live” skits.

Any trends you are pleased with or worried about?

As a cartoonist, I make my living practicing the art of exaggeration to make a point. But it’s becoming increasingly hard to lampoon campaign ads that are full of outrageous exaggerations. Campaign commercials are becoming more outrageous than anything a cartoonist can create.

Any Nevada-specific trends?

I’ve heard enough accusations about how corrupt a candidate thinks his/her opponent is. Can we please talk about where the candidates stand on issues of importance to Nevadans?

How would you tag this election on a blog?

Silly. Cartoonish. Brutal. Mean-spirited.

Best thing(s) you’ve seen this election?

The debates. I love debates and I wish we had more of them. It’s the one venue where we can see the candidates perform free of the filters of the media and the campaign ads.

Worst thing(s) you’ve seen?

Aside from the nasty tone of the commercials, one of the worst things is the misrepresentation displayed in them. I wonder if the makeup of these ads is turning voters off. Many of my friends have mentioned that the ads are so infuriating that they have stopped paying attention to the campaign process. Then again, candidates wouldn’t run these ads if they weren’t effective.

Anything else notable/memorable for you this election?

I’m disappointed in the lack of interesting faces to caricature. For me, an election isn’t an election without great faces like Sharron Angle and Harry Reid. I’d love to see them in every election. In the dark recesses of my mind I sometimes consider throwing intelligent voting choices out the window in order to vote for the candidates that have great caricature potential.

Campaign cliché(s) that need to be retired?

It seems that every politician wants to be seen as a populist. Come on, we know you’re not all populists.

Any surprises you’ve seen so far? Any potential upsets or surprises you see on Election Day?

I can’t think of any big surprises, and I’m not good at making predictions.

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