Would it be accurate to assume that the German election has not held your TV hostage (i.e., like the non-stop campaigning advertisements in the U.S.)?NO IT HAS NOT. And there is a very good reason why. In Germany political parties are only allowed to campaign in the six week period preceding the election. That's right, BY LAW, no ads, no campaign posters, no events that are campaign related are allowed until six weeks before the election. Certainly German parties get around that by holding "general events" or "topical, issue speeches," which we saw a lot of this past summer. However, even these are pretty limited. These are not federal laws, but rather regulations set by the states and which all parties generally abide by.
In regards to TV, political parties cannot buy up a ton of time like US parties. It is illegal. Each political party is allotted an equal share of air time to show ads. That is all the time they get. Although the party must pay to produce its advertisements, the TV time space is free. The US Library of Congress writes:
The length of election campaigns is not defined by federal law. State and local laws limit campaign billboards to a few weeks before the election. State laws limit campaign advertising in radio and television to a few spots that are allotted in the month preceding the election. By an agreement among the states, the political parties may not purchase any advertising time on radio or television, and are thereby limited to the few officially granted campaign spots.These two rules have important consequences. First, my TV is not clogged up with stupid ads, like you see in the US. I will never forget a commercial that I saw while living in South Bend. "Candidate X. Bad for fish. Bad for Indiana." All I could think was, "Wait, are fish allowed to vote now?" The second consequence is that political parties do not spend nearly the same amount of money on advertising as US parties do.
"Oh, Claire, that sounds great! Let's enact that here in the US!"
Yeah, wouldn't that be nice? It will never happen.
The Supreme Court in the case Buckley vs. Velo (1976), argued that "money is speech." That is, you cannot limit a person's ability to spend money to influence elections as that would be an impediment to free speech. This case is the ruling precedent on party and campaign finance. Given how both the Left and Right in the US would rather fall on their swords than limit "free speech," I do not see that rule being changed any time soon. How do you like them apples?