Breaking News: Republicans release race-baiting Willie Horton style ad less than three weeks before election day. Bet you could have never guessed that would happen. Even though the headline at The Hill reads “NRCC releases Willie Horton-style ad in Nebraska House race,” the ad in question is perhaps worse than the infamous 1988 ad. Lee Atwater may have blinked at this spot if he was still with us. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE), who will never be confused with Albert Einstein, is all but sure to remain silent, this Congress gig is all he’s got.
One of the reasons why Republicans face a huge challenge with regard to outreach to African Americans is that the GOP allows their consultants to use African Americans as stereotypical symbols in their campaign ads. Somehow, they think no one will notice and don’t care. Typically, Blacks appear in GOP ads to highlight two subjects: Crime and poverty. In 2012, Mitt Romney did it the opposite way: He almost never showed (if ever?) an African American in an ad that made mention of hard work and jobs. Either Blacks are invisible in GOP ads or, if they do appear, it’s something negative. The district this ad was made for is 10 percent Black and 6 percent Hispanic.
This spot by the National Republican Campaign Committee features the “poster child” of what the ad claims is a law that somehow allowed a murdered to murder. The Republican’s Willie Horton in this ad is named Nikko Jenkins. Will Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) denounce the ad? Don’t bet on it. Jenkins, who reportedly is schizophrenic, “was released from prison in July 2013 after serving 10 years of an 18-to-21-year sentence for armed robbery and assault,” according to a post at Salon written by Luke Brinker. Did you get that: Somehow it’s the fault of Rep. Terry’s opponent that Jenkins killed people. By that ridiculous logic, let’s see if Terry’s opponent argues that Rep. Terry voting to cut funds for mental health and to defund health care reform 54 times played a role in Jenkins’ behavior.
You can bet there’s so much more to come.