AdImpact, a leading national ad tracking firm, described it as “a gold mine for political advertising.”
But history is not repeating itself, as the current impeachment trial Trump has witnessed only a handful of ads.
The first trial took place amid the 2020 presidential election cycle, just as the primary and caucus calendar was kicking off. Trump was in the White House and running for a second term in office. Fast forward a year and we’re out of the cycle and Trump’s out of the White House.
“Because Trump is no longer in office, and this is not an election year with a heavy volume of political ads, the conversation on the airwaves has been fairly quiet. Only a few groups have advertised on impeachment. This is a marked shift from the first impeachment in 2020, even if the reasons are obvious,” AdImpact notes.
There were 62,000 impeachment ad airings from December 18, 2019 – when Trump was first impeached – to February 5, 2020 – when the first impeachment trial ended, according to data from AdImpact. That accounted for 13% of all political ads during that time period, which came in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
AdImpact highlighted that then-Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire business and media mogul, “aired impeachment-related ads 47,000 times in January, so he accounts for more than two-thirds of all impeachment advertising from December 18, 2019 – February 5, 2020.”
This time around, from Jan. 13 when Trump was impeached through Friday afternoon, a meager eight ads have aired just 480 times.
The pro-Democrat group American Bridge announced Friday that it was launching a digital ad campaign to urge GOP senators to convict Trump, but even with their spots factored in, the ad buys surrounding the second trial are miniscule compared to the first trial.
Trump was impeached on one count of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters in an attempt to disrupt the congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, were killed during the storming of the Capitol.
Six Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting Tuesday that it’s constitutional to hold an impeachment trial of a former president. That was a major indicator that a conviction of Trump in the Senate trial would likely fall far short. Eleven more Republicans would need to join the Democrats to reach the 67 votes needed to convict Trump.