Democrat panic in Virginia?
Not long ago, the governor's race in Virginia was assumed to stay in Democrat hands.
Then something happened on the way to election day. In other words, the race is a dead heat.
What do Democrats do when they panic? They call you a racist, a sexist, and a homophobe, or they run TV ads showing scared minority children running away from a truck.
That ad will not contribute to make governing easy if Democrat Ralph Northam wins. How do you bring people together after an ad like that?
I like the editorial at the Roanoke Times:
Republicans called the ad a sickening resort to fear-mongering. The campaign of Democrat Ralph Northam distanced itself from the ad produced by an independent group, saying he did not condone the message. The Latino Victory Fund defended the ad, saying "We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don't like what they see."
We are not Republicans, but we don't like what we see, either. We'll explain why.
First, it's factually wrong – no small thing. The ad suggests that Gillespie supporters are racist vigilantes who want to run down minority kids.
Secondly, the ad does not target the candidate but rather his supporters. That seems akin to Hillary Clinton's comment about many supporters of Donald Trump being a "basket of deplorables." Her comment was misinterpreted; she went on to define those deplorables as people who are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic – Islamophobic – you name it." Ideally, even Republicans would agree that racists, sexists and the lot are deplorable, but her comment came off as showing contempt for Trump supporters in general. This ad doesn't even have that Clintonesque nuance. It just shows a white guy in a pickup truck – and implies Gillespie supporters want to kill minority kids. Umm, that's a lot of Virginians right there who are being called not just homicidal but genocidal.
We've already said that campaign advertising is exaggerated so we understand we're not supposed to take this ad literally.
But the message is unmistakable – Republicans are bad people. That's not a good message to be sending in a democracy, where come the day after the election we're all still going to be living together and working together in a civil society.
Perhaps you think Gillespie is wrong on the issues, but that doesn't make his supporters bad people.
And that's exactly the message of this ad: Republicans hate people. It reminds me of those radio ads about churches burning if the GOP won or the horrific James Burke ad from 2000.
We will wait for the election results. However, I wouldn't be surprised if an ad like the one in Virginia turns on voters for Ed Gillespie. Politics is hardball, but this ad goes over the line big time!
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