The Democrats have figured it out. The key to defeating Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) is hypnosis. How else to explain these similarly transfixing anti-Smith ads from two liberal groups?

The Service Employees International Union offers a spinning kaleidoscope of money, symbolizing the “deep dark hole” of the economy. Add ominous music, show Smith’s face; then bring back the kaleidoscope, cue the feel-good chords and show Smith’s competition, Democrat Jeff Merkley. In Youtube format, you can watch again and again!

If that didn’t work, try this: 30 seconds of water spiraling down the drain, countesy of Patriot Majority, a union-funded 527 trying to defeat Smith because he’s “draining the middle class.” Then the words on the screen dissolve into water and spiral down too….woah. For the full effect, we suggest playing both ads at the same time.

A new ad from the League of Conservation Voters seeks to attach Demcratic candidate Merkley firmly to Obama’s coattails. After all, Merkley’s like a back-up musician to Obama the rock star, or support staff to Obama the head chef, or a teammate to Obama the point guard. Hey — they’re LCV’s metaphors, not ours.

Desperate for an anti-Merkley ad? Americans for Job Security has your back. The group’s ad says Merkley’s solution for economic crisis is big government spending and the elimination of logging jobs. Plus, Oregon is lost in some kind of time warp: the facts cited in the ad toggle back and forth between 2003 and 2007-08. Personally, we think the ad would be more effective if everything were spinning.

This originally appeared on The Secret Money Project Blog, a joint project of CIR and National Public Radio tracking the hidden cash in the 2008 election.

Will Evans is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting has prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations have exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee. He is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.