When Republicans feel unable to fight on policy, they resort to rallying the base in highly inflammatory, divisive attacks. But even for Republicans, the latest campaign ads in New York are particularly deplorable.
According to Mother Jones, the National Republican Congressional Committee aired a campaign ad on Friday, September 28th, calling a Democratic candidate in New York’s Congressional 19th district a “big city rapper”. The ad featured an image of Antonio Delgado from decades ago wearing a hoodie.
Democrat Antonio Delgado is an African American running for office in a swing district where more than 84% of the population is white. Delgado has degrees from both Oxford University and Harvard Law School and was raised in Schenectady in rural New York. But for the NRCC, the truth is a minor detail.
Republican campaign ads have frequently drawn attention to the fact that Delgado released a rap album 11-years-ago, and accused him of promoting “extreme New York City values.”
The ads are the latest effort to direct the narrative away from policy and onto race to deliberately inflame.
Chris Collins, the Republican incumbent in New York’s 27th district who is the subject of an insider trading investigation, reignited his re-election campaign this week with a campaign ad depicting his challenger speaking Korean alongside a picture of Kim Jong Un. The video, entitled “Take Him at His Word”, accused Democratic challenger Nate McMurray of conspiring to send jobs to China and Korea.
According to Herald Net, the ads were funded from the $100 million Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC associated with Paul Ryan funding an aggressive campaign in 14 races across the country.
Both cases involve Republican incumbents who should be campaigning on policy achievements. The GOP has had an eight-year legislative majority and two years of a Republican President. Yet Republican incumbents still feel the need to campaign on racist and xenophobic ideas because they cannot point to genuine political achievement.
It serves as a reminder that it is not just Donald Trump that prefers to take the political low road. A large segment of the GOP is chillingly comfortable running overtly racist and xenophobic campaigns.