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In May, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told Breitbart that attacking immigrants was going to be the main focus of Republicans running in this fall’s elections, and boy did GOP candidates deliver.
As we’ve been tracking at our new website DivideAndDistract2018.com, dozens of Republicans across the country have embrace an anti-immigrant, divisive message that seeks to blame immigrants for all ills in America (even though it’s Republicans who have been in total control for the last two years, and have used that power to pass tax cuts for the rich).
And, they’re not even being original about it.
This week we noticed this new ad from Rod Blum, a Republican running for reelection in Iowa’s 1st Congressional district. Blum’s ad uses an image of heavily tattooed brown men to claim that his opponent wants to “put criminal illegal aliens back on Iowa streets”.
The problem? We’ve seen this image, used to bolster the same outrageous claim, many times before. It was used to attack Laura Curran in New York last year, and this year it’s been deployed against Democrats Dawn Barlow in Tennessee, Jacky Rosen in Nevada, and Eric Swalwell in California.
This image is far from being the only example where Republicans are copying-and-pasting their hate. In Arizona, an ad against Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia starts with a woman saying into the camera, “As a mom of two daughters, nothing is more important than keeping them safe. That’s why I’m worried about David Garcia,” before going on to bash immigrants. And that’s exactly what we’re also seeing in Iowa’s 3rd district against Democrat Cindy Axne, and in Wisconsin’s 1st district against Randy Bryce.
There’s more. Ads in Missouri and North Dakota are using the same shot of the Golden Gate Bridge to depict San Francisco as the kind of city their states don’t want to become. Ads in North Dakota, Indiana, and Arizona all feature the exact same shot of a dark hooded figure carrying a knife. Ads in Missouri, North Dakota, and Indiana all use the same short clip of someone jumping a fence and breaking into a run.
In many cases, of course, the repetitiveness of these ads is due to their being run by the same organization — for example, the conservative One Nation PAC. But in others, it’s because mainstream groups from the Senate Leadership Fund to the Republican Governors Association, in addition to the candidates themselves, are all doubling down on the same ugly message. It’s an incredibly cynical tactic, not only because it stirs up fears against brown immigrants to drive votes. It’s despicable because Republicans, instead of using real messages that resonate with specific communities, are carpet-bombing voters with a generic and cookie cutter message. It’s failed before, and it deserves to fail again.