Political campaigns are like car accidents—we know what's happening, we know nothing good can come of them, and yet we all stop and stare. The only difference, in fact, is that America's political campaigns run for months. Months and months of sclerotic, uninspired sniping that culminate in elections that often resemble, at best, a carnival of somewhat intelligent men and women acting like clowns in the hopes that they'll trip on something, anything, that will stir the American public to the polls.

So how do they do it? Campaign ads, of course. Whether they're painting their opponents as coroners thirsting for organs or demon sheep, politicians vying for positions of power spend millions of dollars vying for your eyeballs and attention. With the most outlandish campaigns in mind, we did the unthinkable, so you don't even have to think about it: We sifted through decades of vicious smear ads and found the 50 most outrageous, effective, ridiculous, confusing, and ill-inspired TV spots of all time. Here are the results.

Written by Alex Suskind (@ClassicSource) and Kia Makarechi (@Kia_Mak)