A Look Back at the Candidates Who Said, “Vote For Me or the World Will End!”

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
March 28 2012 6:30 PM

Apocalypse Soon

When candidates get desperate, they try to scare you. A collection of some of the greatest dystopian campaign ads of the last 50 years.

Apocalyptic Rick Santorum campaign ad about "Obamaville".
Apocalyptic Rick Santorum campaign ad about "Obamaville."

Screengrab from Youtube.

Obamaville is a place where all the women are terrified, all the men are oppressed, and all the gas prices are above average. It’s the setting of the most popular Rick Santorum commercial of all time; half a million YouTube clicks for a video set in a dark, dramatically edited 2014.  Santorum isn’t the first candidate to try to scare Americans into voting for him. There’s a history here, a rich tradition of ads from candidates who predict doom if they don’t win. These candidates, being desperate, usually lose. America endures. But the ads keep coming anyway.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

This is a collection of some of the greatest hits from campaigns that had nothing else to lose.

2012: If Obama Rules

We see sad children in gingham dresses, a man pointing a gas spout at his head, and stacks of TVs that flash between images of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Barack Obama. Santorum has made a movie out of what Mitt Romney’s only been implying: Elect Obama, and the world as we know it ends. It’s an unusually good year for this message—high unemployment, 13-digit debt, two wars. Apocalypse Rating: 5 out of 10. America looks like District 12, and that leaves us with all kinds of bad associations.

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