Billboard uses political anger as sales pitch

A local real estate agent is trying to cash in on the political turmoil with the presidential race.

There are hundreds of billboards up and down I-35 in Austin but one in North Austin really stands out. The eye catcher is located above the southbound lanes near Braker Lane. The billboard, which features a picture of a screaming Donald Trump and a scowling Hillary Clinton, was put up by real estate agent Christopher Watters.

"Yeah we were just trying to have fun,” said Watters.

The inspiration came after reading comments on social media from people threatening to leave the country if their candidate loses the election. In the two weeks the billboard has been up, they've gotten a lot of calls.

"And almost every single day, at about 8:00 in the morning, when everybody is sitting on I-35, we will get about 3 or 4 phone calls and people are calling and saying I don’t have a house to sell, yet, but when I do I'm going to give you a call because this makes me laugh every single morning on my way into work,” said Watters.

To find a campaign that may be dirtier than this one, you have to get into a classroom and break out a few history books. Buried on a bookshelf at St Edward's University, Associate Dean Brian Smith pulled up a few examples of ugly political campaigns from the 1800s. Lincoln's first bid for the White House involved familiar sounding low blows

"1860, terrible campaign, Abraham Lincoln was compared to a monkey, they tried to say that he was actually from Africa, he was half ape, terrible personal attacks,” said Smith.

Andrew Jackson, the President known as Old Hickory,  by some accounts could make Donald Trump, with his bombastic personality, look downright angelic. "Andrew Jackson was Donald Trump on steroids, in terms of taking personal offense and going after somebody,” said Smith.

While the current political rhetoric maybe nothing new, Smith warns that the negative opinions polls for both Trump and Clinton could trigger a turn out - turn off. A fractured base could hurt other candidates on the ballot.

"And, Incumbents who are expected to win, lose, we could see the senate flip because of what’s going on at the top so there are a lot of implications going on that people don’t realize,” said Smith.

Regardless of who wins Nov 8th, Watters is curious to see what happens on the 9th. That’s when he will finds out if his billboard campaign will pay off with new clients who want to cash out and make a run for the border.

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