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A campaign ad from AZ

Race in Our Politics: A Catalog of Campaign Materials

Race in Our Politics: A Catalog of Campaign Materials

After the election of President Obama in 2008, many commentators suggested that we might be entering a “post-racial” or “color-blind” era in our politics. While that prediction has always been fanciful, our political landscape in the past few years has made clear that race continues to play a prominent role in our politics, political coalitions, and national dialogue.

Racial messages—both implicit, through coded terms and imagery, and explicit—are all too common in our political discourse and particularly in our political campaigns.

In our research, we have seen ads that explicitly call on white supremacy or racial stereotypes to ads that employ more subtle “dog whistles.” And to be clear, not all racial messages in political campaigns are inherently bad. Since our politics plainly remains animated by race, it can sometimes be more than appropriate for candidates to push back against racial oppression with frank discussions of race.

In this catalogue, CLC will collect and publish campaign materials from candidates, political action committees, and other political actors that make racial appeals to voters. While many overtly racial or racist campaign ads often gain press attention in the short term, these campaign materials often disappear into the ether in an election’s aftermath. This catalog will gather into one place the many different types of race-based appeals that appear in our political campaigns across the country.

Why compile these often disturbing materials?

If you would like to submit material that you think should be included in this catalog, please send it to info@campaignlegalcenter.org.

Nationwide 

2020 General Election

President

July 14, 2019

President Trump sent out a series of tweets in which he told four congresswomen of color to “go back” to their nations of origin, even though each of them are U.S. citizens and three were born in the United States.

President Trump sent out a series of tweets in which he told four congresswomen of color to “go back” to their nations of origin, even though each of them are U.S. citizens and three were born in the United States.

Why is this included? The President ties being American with being white. CBS News has discussed the tweets in the context of the President’s 2020 campaign, identifying them as a potential tactic for appealing to his supporters.

Source: Read the tweets here, and CBS News’s analysis here.

U.S. House of Representatives

July 12, 2019

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign issued a mailer attacking two Muslim members of Congress and his opponent, who is of Palestinian descent and the grandson of one of the men who participated in the terrorist attacks on the 1972 Olympics. The mailer reads, “Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ammar Campa-Najjar ... these three radical Democrats want you to forget their anti-semitism or family-terrorist ties! But as a Marine I’ll never forget the 1983 Beirut bombings and the 1972 Olympic murders!”

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign issued a mailer attacking two Muslim members of Congress and his opponent, who is of Palestinian descent and the grandson of one of the men who participated in the terrorist attacks on the 1972 Olympics.

Why is this included? Many Americans confuse Islamic faith with race, as evidenced by the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes committed against non-Muslims of Middle Eastern, North African, and South East Asian descent since the September 11th attacks.

Source: View the mailer here.

U.S. House of Representatives

July 11, 2019

The Miami Herald reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee appeared to have darkened a photograph of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick that it had purchased from theHerald, which it then disseminated in a fundraising mailer.

The Miami Herald reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee appeared to have darkened a photograph of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick that it had purchased from the Herald, which it then disseminated in a fundraising mailer.

Why is this included? The Heraldwrote, “The darkening of the skin of black men has been used as a tactic in mainstream media and politics before,” and identified two examples. Congressman Cedric Richmond said in an interview with the Herald, “They knew when they did it that it was a racist move intended to raise money off the fear of dark skinned people, black people. This was a deliberate act to darken him up and perpetuate the fear of darker skinned people. That act is racist.”

Source: Read the Herald’s article here

March 25, 2019

Beginning in March 2019, Julian For The Future ran a Facebook ad that reads: “Donald Trump has tried to turn our country against Latino immigrants, judges, and activists. You can bet he’d vilify a Latino president. It’s wrong. It’s past time to give a voice to folks who aren’t usually given one. I need to know: Would you support a Latino President?” 

Beginning in March 2019, Julian For The Future ran a Facebook ad

Why is this included?  The ad implies that voters should support Julian Castro for president because of his Latino heritage.

Source: View the ad here.

 

October 31, 2018

President Trump tweeted a video in support of Republican candidates, which featured an undocumented immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, who was convicted of killing two police officers. The ad appropriates video footage of Bracamontes saying that he wish he had killed more police officers. The ad also shows what appears to be footage of the so-called caravan of Central American immigrants who announced in October 2018 that they would travel to the United States to apply for asylum. The video purports to show some of the migrants pushing against a fence, and one man claiming that he wants to go to America to seek a pardon for a conviction of attempted murder.

Trump ad on immigrants
Immigration ad

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source: View the ad here. More information about this story is available on the Sacramento Bee's website

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Arkansas

U.S. House of Representatives

October 18, 2018

The super PAC Black Americans for the President’s Agenda released a radio ad in support of Representative French Hill, in which two women speaking in a stereotypical African American dialect condemn as false the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The women compare Blasey Ford’s allegations to incidents in the Jim Crow South in which black men were lynched after being wrongfully accused of raping white women. They claim that black voters should not support Democratic candidates because, if elected, “white Democrats will be lynching black folk again. . . . We can’t afford to let white Democrats take us back to bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences, and lynchings when a white girl screams rape.” Representative Hill condemned the ad.

Why is this included?  The ad explicitly calls on black voters to cast their vote in favor of Representative Hill on the basis of race.

Source: Listen to the ad here. More information about the ad is available in the Washington Post

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Arizona

U.S. Senate

August 24, 2018

On his campaign's Facebook page, Republican candidate Joe Arpaio posted a video by America First Grassroots focused on American citizens killed by so-called “illegal criminal aliens.”

Facebook ad screenshot

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  Watch the ad here.

 

August 23, 2018

Republican Joe Arpaio posted to his campaign Facebook page a video from the White House featuring families whose loved ones were killed by so-called “illegal aliens.”  Below the video, the White House mentions the death of Mollie Tibbetts, a white woman who was killed by a Latino immigrant suspected of being in the country without legal authorization.

Facebook ad screenshot

Why is this included? The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  Watch the ad here. Learn more about the issue in The Hill

 

U.S. House of Representatives

September 19, 2018

During an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, candidate Nick Pierson, who claims that both of his parents were Mexican citizens, defended earlier statements that his opponent, Representative Raúl Grijalva, was “not a good example of a Mexican, not a good example of a Mexican American, and he’s not a good example of an American.” He added, “I’m as Mexican as he is.”  Pierson also stated that Grijalva had lost the support of the Latino community in his district because “[T]hey are tired of him only showing up for quinceañeras and weddings.”

Why is this included?  Pierson made the statements in support his candidacy and suggested a direct relationship between his opponent's qualifications, his Mexican heritage, and his conformance with assumed qualities of that heritage.

Source:  Read the Arizona Daily Star’s article on its interview with Pierson here

 

Governor

September 19, 2018

The Republican Governors Association posted a video on its YouTube page that called candidate David Garcia “liberal on illegal immigration.” In one frame, it shows a man who appears to be of Latino descent climbing over what appears to be a wall. Additionally, it claims that Garcia wanted to grant in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, and features a white craftsman speaking out against the alleged policy while standing in front of an American flag.

Garcia Arizona
A campaign ad from AZ
Garcia Arizona 2

Why is this included?  The ad links undocumented immigration with Latino heritage. It also turns the discussion over Garcia’s policies into one about race.

Source:  Watch the video here. More information on the ad is available on the AP's website

 

September 10, 2018

The Republican Governors Association published an ad against candidate David Garcia, in which it claimed that he wanted to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The ad features a white woman who claims that Garcia’s alleged position would lead to an increase in crime, including sex and drug trafficking. The ad uses images of police officers making arrests and an individual who appears to have gang tattoos.  It also shows a man in a hoodie walking down a dark street and brandishing a knife, and a white woman who is meant to represent sex trafficking victims.

Garcia Arizona pt 2
RGA Garcia Arizona Pt 3
RGA Garcia Arizona pt 4
RGA Garcia Arizona pt 5
RGA Garcia Arizona pt 6

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source: Watch the ad here.

 

July 17, 2018

The Republican Governors Association put out an ad that claimed that candidate David Garcia advocated abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which it argued would lead to an increase in crime in Arizona.  The ad used much of the same imagery from the Republican Governors Association’s September 10th ad against Garcia, including the image of a man with what appear to be gang tattoos, and another man in a hoodie walking down a dark street and brandishing a knife. 

Arizona

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

 

Source:  Watch the ad here.

 

July 17, 2018

The Republican Governors Association used the same footage it had used in a July 17th ad against candidate David Garcia in an ad against candidate Kelly Fryer. The ad also alleged that Fryer supported abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and that doing so would increase crime in Arizona.  

RGA Arizona 7

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source: Watch the ad here.

 

State House of Representatives

June 12, 2018

In a speech at a forum, state Representative David Stringer discussed increasing racial diversity in Arizona’s public school system and complained that “there aren’t enough white kids to go around.”  He noted that 60 percent of public school children are minorities, which he believes complicates racial integration and is “politically destabilizing.”  He added that he believes that immigration poses an “existential threat to the United States.”

Why is this included?  Stringer’s statements equated being white with being American.

Source:  Watch footage of Stringer’s comments here. More information about this story is available on Arizona Capitol Times' website

 

January 13, 2018

State Representative David Stringer gave a speech in support of his candidacy at a precinct committee meeting in which he noted the racial diversity among the opposing party’s candidates and elected officials.  He then cast his candidacy as being in opposition to this trend, stating, “That’s why I say I’m not just running to get re-elected, I’m fighting for our values, I’m fighting for our people, I’m fighting for our future not just of our country but of the state of Arizona.”

Why is this included?  Stringer’s statements equated being white with being American.

Source:  Watch footage of Stringer’s comments here. More information about this story is available on Phoenix New Times' website

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California 

U.S. Senate

May 2018

The Road to Power, a website that advances white supremacist viewpoints, targeted California voters with an anti-Semitic robocall.  Among other statements, it accused Jewish Americans, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, of being “traitorous” and working on behalf of Israeli interests.  The call urged Californians to vote for Patrick Little.

Why is this included?  White supremacists have historically claimed that the Jewish community belongs to a separate, inferior race and falsely accused them of being disloyal citizens.

Source:  Audio of the robocall is unavailable.  More information about this story is available on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website.

 

State House of Representatives

Fall 2018

Throughout the fall campaign season, Representative Duncan Hunter accused his opponent, who is of Middle Eastern and Latino descent, of being a terrorist who was trying to “infiltrate” the U.S. government. One ad cast his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, as an outsider on the basis of his racial heritage, claiming that “[a] Palestinian-Mexican American . . . doesn’t get his support from the people of San Diego.”  Although Campa-Najjar's paternal grandfather participated in the attacks on the 1976 Munich Olympics, Campa-Najjar was born 16 years after his death and was raised by his mother’s family.

Duncan Hunter Security Risk Ad Part 1
Duncan Hunter Security Risk Ad_Part 2
Duncan Hunter Security Risk Ad_Part 3

Why is this included?  The ads accuse Campa-Najjar of terrorism and treason, and discredit his qualifications as a candidate, based on his heritage.

Source:  More information about this story is available on Vox’s website.  Watch Duncan Hunter’s ad calling Campa-Najjar a “security threat” here.

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Connecticut

State Senate

October 29, 2018

Candidate Ed Charamut issued a mailer that shows his Jewish American opponent clutching $100 bills.

Charamut mailer_Lesser Pt 1
haramut mailer_Lesser Pt 2

Why is this included?  A common anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is that the Jewish community controls powerful sectors throughout the world, including financial industries.    

Source: More information about this story is available on the Hartford Courant’s website

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Delaware

U.S. House of Representatives

September 19, 2018

In a Facebook post, candidate Scott Walker called Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, who is black, an “Aunt Tom” over policies he claimed harmed black residents.

Why is this included?  Walker’s statements draw directly on the “Uncle Tom” stereotype to accuse his opponent of failing to represent the interests of black residents.

Source:  More information about this story is available on Delaware Online’s website.

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Florida 

Governor

October 23, 2018

The Road to Power produced another robocall against candidate Andrew Gillum, who is black, in which a speaker purporting to be Gillum uses a minstrel-like dialect.  Chimpanzees can be heard in the background, and the ad makes several offensive statements grounded in black stereotypes.

Why is this included?  The ad relies on racial stereotypes to appeal to white supremacists.

Source:  Listen to the ad here. More information about this story is available on The Hill's website

 

September 2018

The Road to Power, a website that promotes white supremacist viewpoints, sent a robocall to Florida voters that purports to be from Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum.  The voice uses a minstrel-like dialect, and drums and monkeys can be heard in the background.  Among several offensive statements, the call says, “We Negroes...done made mud huts while white folk waste a bunch of time making their home out of wood and stone.”

Why is this included?  Among many issues, the robocall draws on harmful stereotypes that depict African Americans as intellectually inferior to white Americans.

Source:  Audio of the robocall has not been made publicly available.  More information about this story is available on NBC News’s website.

 

September 4, 2018

A local Republican official claimed on Facebook that candidate Andrew Gillum wanted to force white residents to pay reparations to black residents.  Gillum’s opponent, Ron DeSantis, later called for her resignation.

Andrew Gillum

Why is this included?  The post casts Gillum’s candidacy in racial terms and seeks to motivate white voters to vote against Gillum by arguing that he would advance the interests of black residents to the detriment of other residents. 

Source:  View the ad here. More information about this story is available on Politico's website

 

August 28, 2018

During an interview with Fox News, when asked how he planned to defeat his Democratic rival, Republican candidate Ron DeSantis replied, “The last thing we need is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a Socialist agenda.”  

Why is this included?  The term “monkey” has historically been used as a slur against African Americans.  

Source:  Watch the interview here. More information about this story is available in the New York Times

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Georgia

Governor

October 8, 2018

An unknown person doctored a photograph of candidate Stacy Abrams posing with activist Linda Sarsour, who is Muslim, and distributed it on Facebook.  The sign - which originally read “Stacy Abrams Governor” - was altered to read “Communist Stacy Abrams Governor #MuslimBrotherhood.”

Stacy Abrams with Linda Sarsour.

Why is this included?  The ad accuses Sarsour – and, by extension, Abrams – of having ties to a controversial Islamic organization, based on her faith and ethnicity. Many Americans confuse Islamic faith with race, as evidenced by the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes committed against non-Muslims of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian descent since the September 11th attacks.

Source:  More information about this story is available on FactCheck.org’s website.

 

May 16, 2018

Republican candidate Michael Williams published a video in which he announced that he would be traveling around the state on what he called the “Deportation Bus.”  He said that he and his campaign were going to “fill this bus with illegals to send them back where they came from.”  The exterior of the bus in the video features statements like “FOLLOW ME TO MEXICO” and "MURDERERS, RAPISTS, KIDNAPPERS, CHILD MOLESTORS [sic], AND OTHER CRIMINALS ON BOARD.”  

Michael Williams Deportation Bus Tour

Why is this included?  The ad directly tied Mexican heritage and national origin with criminality and violence.  YouTube later removed the ad for violating its hate speech policy.

Source:  Fox News used excerpts from the video in an interview with Williams on May 16, 2018. Watch the full ad below. 

 

May 3, 2018

In a video paid for by Cagle for Georgia, Casey Cagle states that “criminal illegal aliens are spreading across the country.”  As Cagle speaks, the video features photographs of Latino men displaying MS-13 gang tattoos and gang signs.  Cagle continues, “Liberal politicians in sanctuary cities are shielding them and making it possible for them to terrorize us on our streets.”

MS 13

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  View the ad here. Learn more about Cagle's ads on CNN's website

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Hawaii

State House of Representatives

July 21, 2018

Bryan Feste, who ran for a seat in the Hawaii state legislature, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in an interview that he wants an “all white nation.”  According to the news agency, he shared campaign materials that used racial and anti-Semitic slurs and that identified him as being “pro white.”

Why is this included?  Feste made these statements in an effort to appeal to white voters who share his white nationalist viewpoints. 

Source:  Read the Tribune-Herald’s report on the interview here.

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Illinois

U.S. House of Representatives

2018

Art Jones, founder of the Nazi America First Committee, ran for Congress in Illinois's third congressional district.  According to the Anti-Defamation League, he has run for public office since the 1970s.  His campaign website reflects a campaign based on racial appeals, including materials denying the Holocaust and arguing that Africa Americans are inferior to whites.

One image, which appears in a section of his biography entitled “View More Pictures of Art with Family & Friends,” depicts Jones at a public event wearing Neo-Nazi regalia and surrounded by individuals carrying Confederate flags and pro-Nazi signs.

Art Jones_campaign speech

Why is this included?  Jones’s campaign is premised on white supremacy and on appealing to voters who share his white supremacist views on race.

Source:  Jones's campaign website is no longer active. Learn more in the Washington Post

 

Governor

February 2, 2018

Republican candidate Representative Jeanne Ives’s campaign produced an ad featuring actors who were intended to represent Governor Bruce Rauner’s “radical left-wing social agenda.” Among them, an African American actor dressed in a “Chicago Teacher’s Union” t-shirt says, “Thank you for making the rest of Illinois bail out Chicago teacher pensions and giving Rahm Emmanuel everything he wanted and more.”

Chicago Governoe

Why is this included?  The ad pits constituents in predominantly white, non-urban areas against constituents in urban areas with large African American populations. 

Source:  Watch the ad here. More information about this story is available on ABC 7's website

 

Chicago City Council 

October 16, 2018

During closing arguments at a candidate forum, Alderman Pat O’Connor accused opponent Ugo Okere of advancing the interests of the Nigerian community rather than the Chicago community at large, by pointing to a fundraising flier issued by Okere’s campaign that called for building Nigerian power within the community.  Okere said that the flier was intended to increase Nigerian-Americans’ local political involvement.  In a subsequent statement, Okere said that O’Connor had “attempted to cast me as a black bogeyman, someone who only wants to build power for Nigerians and nobody else.  O’Connor sought to divide me from my community and my physical home based on the color of my skin and my heritage.”

Why is this included?  O’Connor’s statements sought to cast Okere’s candidacy in terms of race and national origin.

Source:  Watch O’Connor’s statements here.  Okere’s response is available on his Twitter page.

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Maryland

Governor

August 24, 2018

Governor Larry Hogan told a crowd of supporters in western Maryland, which is predominantly white, “I wish every county was like the western Maryland counties. Unfortunately they’re not all quite as smart as you guys are.”

Why is this included?  Some in the public understood Hogan as saying that residents in the predominantly white portion of the state were more intelligent than residents living in other areas of the state, which have large populations of African American voters.  If accurate, such a message would play on stereotypes that demean the intelligence of African Americans.

Source:  Watch video of Hogan’s statements here.

 

August 4, 2018

Governor Larry Hogan told a crowd in Baltimore, “Don’t let anybody tell you [that] you have to vote a certain way because you happen to be black or you happen to live in Baltimore City.  Some people have not been delivering for you for decades.”

Why is this included?  Hogan’s statements invoked race in an effort to appeal to black voters.

Source:  View Hogan’s statements here, and read further information from the Baltimore Sun here.

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Michigan 

State Senate

August 16, 2018

Democratic state senate candidate Bettie Cook Scott was heard making several racially offensive statements about Asian Americans while speaking at voting precincts.  Among other statements, she called her Asian American opponent “ching chang” and “ching chong” and complained about “seeing Black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people.”

Why is this included?  Scott implored people not to vote for her opponent based on her opponent’s Asian heritage and argued that black voters, because of their race, should vote for her.

Source:  The Detroit News reported on the comments on August 16, 2018.

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Minnesota

U.S. House of Representatives

October 18, 2018

The National Republican Congressional Committee published an ad on its YouTube page that claimed that George Soros “owned” Democratic candidate Dan Feehan, as well as funded National Football League players’ protests during the national anthem and violent protests by “left-wing mobs.”

NRCC Ad Owns_Capture

Why is this included?  A common anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is that members of the Jewish community control powerful sectors throughout the world.  

Source:  Watch the ad here. More information about this story is available on NBC News' website

 

Attorney General 

October 18, 2018

In two undated mailers, candidate Doug Wardlow made several accusations against his opponent, Keith Ellison, who is African American and Muslim.  Among other allegations, Wardlow claimed that Ellison had ties to “terrorist-sympathizing Islamic groups” and that he advocated for a “blacks-only country” and reparations.

Wardlow Minnesota

Why is this included?  The mailers’ comments about Ellison’s alleged views on race and reparations cast Ellison’s candidacy in racial terms. Additionally, it accuses Ellison of having ties to terrorism based on his faith.  Many Americans confuse Islamic faith with race, as evidenced by the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes committed against non-Muslims of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian descent since the September 11th attacks.

Source:  View the mailers here. More information about this story is available on the Star Tribune's website

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Mississippi

U.S. Senate

November 11, 2018

At a campaign appearance, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith stood beside a donor and told the crowd, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Why is this included?  Mississippi has a long history of racial terrorism, including the public lynching of hundreds of black men and women between 1877 and 1950.

Source:  Watch video of Senator Hyde-Smith’s comments here. More information about this story is available on the Washington Post's website

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Missouri

State House of Representatives

2018

Steve West, a candidate for Missouri’s House of Representatives, dedicated an entire page of his campaign website to denouncing the religion of Islam.  The site also refers to his non-campaign affiliated radio show and YouTube channel, where he has made anti-Semitic statements. West insists that his campaign remains separate from his shows.

Missouri Image

Why is this included?  Although it is important to note that Islamic faith is not a racial category, many Americans conflate being Muslim with being of Middle Eastern, North African, or Indian descent.  This misconception has contributed to hate crimes against Muslims of various backgrounds and non-Muslims of Middle Eastern, North African, or Indian descent.  West’s campaign message appeals to individuals who share his misunderstanding of Islam and who may attribute a racial element to being Muslim.

Source:  West’s statement on Islam is available on his campaign website. The Kansas City Star's editorial board wrote a piece on West's campaign. 

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Montana

U.S. Senate

May 9, 2018

In a video made by the campaign of candidate Russ Fagg, a narrator states, “Criminal illegal aliens threaten America.” The phrase then appears in writing over a picture of Latino men with MS-13 affiliated tattoos. The video features additional, similar photographs while the narrator says, “Because if we don’t secure our borders, they’ll never stop coming.” The video then shows a photograph of someone’s hand holding a pistol. The individual to whom the hand belongs appears to be a person of color. The narrator continues, “And murderous illegal aliens must be stopped from killing again.” The second-to-last photograph featured in the video is of three men who appear to be Latino, at least one of whom has an MS-13 gang tattoo. They kneel in front of masked, armed law enforcement officials, suggesting that they are under arrest.  One of the officers’ vests reads, “D.G.I.C. Policia,” identifying him as a member of Honduras’s National Police.

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  The video has since been taken down, and the tweet used to distribute it has been deleted.

Source:  More about the ad below is available on the Missoulian's website. Watch the full ad below. 

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New Hampshire

State House of Representatives

September 13, 2018

At a polling place on election day, state Representative Dick Patten claimed that newcomers from outside of Concord, New Hampshire were given priority in accessing public housing.  According to the Concord Monitor, Patten stated, “A lot has been promised to minorities. A lot of out-of-Concord people are getting everything.” He also said that his opponent, a refugee from Afghanistan who settled in Concord in 2007, did not know the neighborhood like he did.

Why is this included?  Patten seeks to appeal to white residents’ alleged resentment of minority residents.

Source:  More information about this story is available on the Concord Monitor’s website.

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New Jersey

U.S. House of Representatives

September 19, 2018

The New Jersey Republican Party sent out a mailer that read, “There’s something REAL FISHY about ANDY KIM.”  Andy Kim, a candidate in New Jersey’s third congressional district, is Korean-American.  According to a member of the state Democratic party, Kim’s name appears twice in a font that Democrats claim is called “Chop Suey.” 

New Jersey Republican Party

Why is this included?  The ad uses a font named after a popular Asian American dish to draw attention to Kim’s heritage and paint him as an outsider.

Source:  More information about this story is available on NJ.com.

 

April 21, 2018

At a public event, Republican Seth Grossman, a candidate for New Jersey’s second congressional district, called diversity “a bunch of crap and un-American.”  He went on to call affirmative action programs a way to promote less qualified candidates on the basis of gender or race.

Grossman Diversity

Why is this included?  The statements equate being American with being white.  The National Republican Congressional Committee withdrew its support of Grossman in July 2018 after CNN revealed that Grossman had a history of making racist statements.

Source:  Video of Grossman’s statements has been posted to YouTube by American Bridge 21st Century. More information about the story is available on NJ.com's website

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New Mexico

U.S. House Representatives

September 6, 2018

During an interview with Fox News, candidate Janice Arnold-Jones questioned her opponent’s Native heritage on the grounds that her opponent did not grow up on a reservation.  When the interviewer noted that her opponent, Deb Haaland, would be the first Native American woman elected to Congress, Arnold-Jones responded, “That's what they say.” She appeared to argue that it was misleading for Haaland to cite her Native heritage because it “evokes images that she was raised on a reservation,” when she did not.

Why is this included?  A common anti-Native stereotype is that all Native Americans live on reservations. 

Source:  Watch the interview here. More information about this story is available on the Albuquerque Journal's website

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New York 

U.S. House of Representatives

September 21, 2018

Representative Chris Collins’s campaign appropriated video of his opponent speaking Korean to create a campaign ad that accuses his opponent of sending American jobs to China and Korea.  In one frame, the ad juxtaposes the video with a photograph of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Chris Collins Ad Take Him at His Word_Pt 1
Chris Collins Ad Take Him at His Word_Pt 2

Why is this included?  One Asian American lawmaker, Ted Lieu, condemned the ad, stating that it played on Asian stereotypes and conveyed the message that speaking a foreign language was un-American.

Source: Watch the ad here. More information about this story is available on the New York Times' website

 

Fall 2018

Throughout the 2018 general election campaign season, Representative John Faso’s campaign and its supporters produced ads that sought to paint opponent Antonio Delgado as an outsider or as anti-American.  Among other tactics, they repeatedly drew attention to his past rap career.

Congressional Leadership Fund_Delgado rap ad_image 1

Why is this included?  Rap is an art form that originated in, and continues to be associated with, the African American community.  In this case, rap was used as a proxy for Delgado’s race.

Source:  More information about this story is available on Mother Jones’s website.

 

May 29, 2018

Representative John Faso’s campaign sponsored a Facebook ad that reads, “Keep MS-13 Out.”  It uses a photograph of several men who appear to be of Latin American descent, with what appear to be gang tattoos.

Faso_Keep MS-13 Out.PNG

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.

Source:  This ad was pulled from Facebook’s political ad archive.

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North Carolina

Governor

June 23, 2019

On June 23, 2019, Dan Forest, who is running for governor, delivered a sermon in which he stated, “no other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics.” He also said, “Sometimes, in today’s age, we call that identity politics. Dividing and conquering. Black versus white. Rich versus poor, Republican versus Democrat, nation versus nation, and that’s how it goes today. That’s Satan’s plan, that’s his economy.”

On June 23, 2019, Dan Forest, who is running for governor, delivered a sermon in which he stated, “no other nation, my friends, has ever survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today, because of a lack of assimilation, because of this division, and because of this identity politics.”

Why is this included? Critics of Forest’s statements have observed that criticism of identity politics and multiculturalism are commonly used appeals by some white nationalism proponents. 

Source: Watch the speech here at 1:09:50.  

 

State House of Representatives

June 28, 2018

The North Carolina Republican Party withdrew its support for Russell Walker after the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that Walker had made several racist comments on his personal website.  His current campaign website calls Jewish people “anti-Christ[s]” and the descendants of Satan.  In August 2017, Walker was caught on camera calling Martin Luther King a racial epithet.

Why is this included?  Throughout history, harmful narratives have treated the Jewish community as a separate race and accused them of killing Jesus. 

Source:  View Walker’s campaign website here. More information about this story is available on The News & Observer's website

 

State Supreme Court

March 12, 2018

In a series of tweets, North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse attempted to tie Democratic state Supreme Court candidate Anita Earls to three North Carolina defendants sentenced to death.  Woodhouse provided pictures of the defendants, who were black, and implied that Earls had been their attorney.  He repeatedly referenced race throughout his posts.  In one tweet, he claimed that Earls had successfully represented one of the defendants, Christina Walters, in having her sentence vacated on grounds that jurors had been racially biased.  In another, he said that defendant Tilmon Golphin’s sentence was commuted after Earls allegedly argued that executing Golphin would be racist.  Earls did not represent any of the defendants or have any involvement in their cases.  Instead, she was a civil rights attorney who had supported North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act, which allowed capital defendants to challenge their sentences – but not their convictions – if they could show that racial prejudice was a significant factor in their sentencing. 

Dallas Woodhouse North Carolina
NC Ads
North Carolina Supreme Court

Why is this included?  By including the defendants’ pictures, Woodhouse evoked racial stereotypes depicting African Americans as dangerous criminals and sought to dissuade white residents from voting for Earls. 

Source:  Woodhouse’s tweets on Walters, Quintel Augustine, and Golphin are available on his Twitter page. More information about this story is available on the Fayetteville Observer's website.

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South Carolina

Mayor, Hilton Head

August 30, 2018

In an interview with the Post and Courier, Michael Santomauro, a known Holocaust denier and a mayoral candidate in Hilton Head, claimed that Jewish Americans were overrepresented in the banking and entertainment industries, and defended Unite the Right marchers who chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”  He also told the news agency that he believes the current political climate to be conducive to candidates who share his views.

Why is this included?  A common anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is that the Jewish community is a separate race that controls powerful sectors.  In making these comments, Santomauro sought to appeal to fellow white supremacists. 

Source:  The Post and Courier’s report on its interview with Santomauro is available on its website.

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Tennessee

U.S. House of Representatives

2018

Rick Tyler, best known for erecting billboards reading “Make America White Again” in 2016, was a candidate for Tennessee’s third congressional district.  His campaign website contains white supremacist messaging, including pro-white slogans and a painting of the White House with Confederate flags.

Rick Tyler_Make America White Again

Why is this included?  Tyler is directly appealing to white voters who share his white nationalist viewpoints. 

Source:  Racial appeals made by Tyler can be viewed on his campaign website. More information about this story in available in the Washington Post

 

State Senate

October 2018

Candidate Brian Kelsey, whose opponent was an immigrant of Latino heritage, repeatedly used the phrase, “He’s from here.  He’s one of us." in reference to himself. The phrase appeared on his campaign website and in a mailer.

Kelsey mailer_He's one of us

Why is this included?  The ad appears to question his opponent’s qualifications based on her immigration status and heritage.

Source:  View the mailer here, and Kelsey’s campaign pages here and here.  More information about this story is available on Commercial Appeal's website

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Texas

U.S. Senate

September 21, 2018

On his Twitter page, Senator Ted Cruz posted video of his opponent, Beto O’Rourke, discussing the killing of Botham Jean, who was black, by a white police officer who shot Jean after allegedly entering his apartment by mistake. O’Rourke also addressed larger concerns about the killing of African Americans by police officers.  Cruz’s tweet commented, “In Beto O’Rourke's own words.”  

Cruz tweet_ORourke comments re Jean killing

Why is this included?  Cruz takes advantage of racial tensions between police and minority communities to appeal to white voters.

Source:  View the tweet on Cruz’s Twitter page. More information about this story is available on the Washington Post's website

 

September 19, 2018

Ted Cruz posted a video on Twitter that featured three undocumented immigrants from Latin America who were convicted of violent crimes.  The video criticized Cruz’s opponent, Beto O’Rourke, for his immigration policies.

Cruz Immigration ad 1
Cruz immigration ad_image 3
Cruz immigration ad_image 2

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  Watch the video here. More information about the story is available on the Washington Times website.

U.S. House of Representatives

October 16, 2018

America First Action sponsored a Facebook ad against candidate Colin Allred, claiming that he did not support the Second Amendment.  The ad includes a picture of a woman with a hand over her face, under Allred’s name.  The hand appears to belong to a person of color.  Another picture shows a white woman engaged in target practice with a handgun, under Representative Pete Sessions’s name.

America First Action_2A ad

Why is this included?  The ad plays on stereotypes that equate blackness with criminality and that present white women as needing protection against crimes committed by men of color.

Source:  The ad can be viewed on Facebook’s ad archive.

 

October 16, 2018

America First Action sponsored a Facebook ad alleging that candidate Colin Allred “is essentially extending an open invitation to not only the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States, but also to those who haven't gotten here, yet.”  An accompanying montage shows a raft full of men who appear to be Latino under Allred's name; below it is a picture of a wall in a desert landscape under Representative Pete Sessions's name, evoking the Southern border.

American First Action_illegal immigrant ad

Why is this included?  The ad links undocumented immigration with Latino heritage.

Source:  The ad can be viewed on Facebook’s ad archive.

 

October 12, 2018

CNN reported that it had obtained video of Representative Pete Olson calling his opponent “liberal, liberal, liberal Indo-American who is a carpetbagger” and accused him of receiving donations “from overseas.”  CNN has not published the video.

Why is this included?  The comments question the qualifications of Olson’s opponent, and seek to portray him as an outsider, based on his heritage.

Source:  More information about this story is available on CNN’s website.

 

September 12, 2018

The Fort Bend Republican Party published an ad in the India Herald in advance of the local Hindu community’s annual festival.  It featured the Hindu god Ganesha, who is depicted in the form of an elephant, and reads, “Would you worship an elephant or a donkey?”

Fort Bend Republican Party

Why is this included?  The Hindu American Foundation condemned the ad, saying that it equated “Hindus’ veneration of the Lord Ganesha with choosing a political party based on its animal symbol.”

Source:  KHOU11 News reported on the ad on its website.

 

August 15, 2018

At an event to celebrate India's Independence Day, Representative Pete Olson, speaking before a largely Indian American crowd, sought to highlight the counter-terrorism partnership between India and the United States by discussing the 9/11 attacks on the United States and the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai.  Olson falsely claimed that Pakistanis had carried out both attacks.  Olson’s Indian American opponent accused him of pandering to the crowd based on national origin and heritage, and India’s contentious relationship with Pakistan.

Why is this included?  Olson sought to appeal to one community by villainizing another community on the basis of national origin. 

Source:  More information on this story is available on the Houston Chronicle’s website.

 

Dallas County Commissioner

May 18, 2018

In response to accusations of racism, Commissioner candidate Vic Cunningham conducted an interview with the Dallas Morning News in which he denied the accusations, but confirmed that he had structured a family trust to provide his children with disbursements in the event they marry a white Christian of the opposite sex.  Defending this decision, Cunningham told the news outlet, “I strongly support traditional family values. If you marry a person of the opposite sex that’s Caucasian, that’s Christian, you will get a distribution.” He said that marrying within one’s race is a tenet of his faith. 

Why is this included?  Cunningham confirmed his views against interracial marriage and portrayed those race-based views as part of “traditional family values.”

Source:  Watch the interview here. More information about this story is available on Dallas News' website

 

Tarrant County Judicial Race

February 2018

Residents received a robocall impersonating former President Barack Obama and purporting to endorse Mamie Johnson, an African American candidate running as a Republican.  The call states, “Mamie is a proud liberal like us.”  Although Johnson’s opponent, Deborah Nekhom, did not take responsibility for the call, her campaign defended it, saying, “the points made in the call are accurate: Mamie Johnson is a lifelong Democrat, who has voted for Democrats up through the 2016 election cycle and was the last elected Democrat voted out of office in Tarrant County.”

Why is this included?  The call implies that Johnson is a liberal Democrat because she is black.

Source:  Audio of the robocall is available on Fox4’s website

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Wisconsin

U.S. House of Representatives

2018

The campaign website for Paul Nehlen, who ran to fill Speaker Paul Ryan’s seat, called for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent “illegal alien violence.”  It identified three white victims of such alleged violence.  The campaign website also links to Nehlen's personal Facebook page, which contains several anti-Semitic and racist posts.

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.

Source:  Nehlen’s statements on undocumented immigration and crime can be reviewed on his campaign website.

 

Lieutenant Governor

September 6, 2018

In a series of tweets, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch criticized athletes who kneel during the national anthem, and falsely accused her opponent, who is black, of kneeling during the playing of the anthem at the state fair.

Wisconsin Lt Gov Kleefish

Why is this included?  The tweets appeal to white voters who oppose protests led by predominantly black National Football League players, who have chosen to kneel during the playing of the national anthem to call attention to police misconduct against people of color.  The tweets assumed her opponent was part of this movement because of his race. Kleefisch later rescinded her accusation and apologized.

Source:  View the tweet on Lieutenant Governor Kleefisch’s Twitter page.

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West Virginia

U.S. Senate

May 28, 2018

Republican Senate candidate Evan Jenkins released a video that begins with a clip of Hillary Clinton saying that she won in places that are “optimistic [and] moving forward.”  Jenkins refutes her statement by claiming that the “big cities she won” are responsible for heroin trafficking and are places where “lawlessness, looting, and liberalism rule.”  As he speaks, the video depicts footage of a drug raid, with two men of color being arrested.  The video labels this footage “Detroit.”  It then shows footage of a burning car, with the label “Ferguson,” and footage of a burning store, labeled “Baltimore.”  Shortly after, it shows a body under a sheet, surrounded by police officers, and a black man being arrested.  This footage is labeled “Chicago,” and Jenkins states that “Chicago is the murder capital of America.”

West VA US Senate

Why is this included?  The ad equates blackness with criminality.  The featured cities have historically been associated with large black populations and racial tensions stemming from allegations of police misconduct against black residents.  

Source:  View the ad here.

 

May 3, 2018

Republican candidate Don Blankenship released an ad in which he claimed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose wife is Chinese-American, has created “millions of jobs for China people” and that his “China family has given him tens of millions of dollars.”  Blankenship has since deleted the video and the accompanying Facebook post.

Why is this included?  The term “China man” was a common, derogatory term used against Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Source:  The campaign ad can be viewed on Politico’s website.

 

April 23, 2018

During a radio interview, Republican candidate Don Blankenship called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's father-in-law a “wealthy China person” and referred to people of Chinese descent as “China people.”

Why is this included?  Like Blankenship’s May 3rd comments, these statements draw on anti-Chinese slurs to convince voters to support his platform.

Source:  Watch the interview here. More information about this story is available on the AP's website

 

West Virginia House of Delegates 

June 30, 2018

Harry Bertram qualified to run as the American Freedom Union candidate for West Virginia’s House of Delegates.  The American Freedom Union espouses white nationalists viewpoints, and has made several anti-minority and anti-Semitic statements in the 2018 election cycle.

American Freedom Union West Virginia

Why is this included?  Bertram’s campaign and the American Freedom Union’s platform are premised on appealing to white voters who share their white supremacist views.

Source:  Racial appeals made by the American Freedom Union can be reviewed on its website.

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2017

Alabama 

U.S. Senate

December 11, 2017

At a campaign rally in Midland City, Kayla Moore, wife of Senate candidate Roy Moore, touted her husband’s appointment of the first black marshal at the Alabama Supreme Court as proof that he supported the rights of African Americans: “Fake news would also have you think that my husband doesn’t support the black community.  Yet my husband appointed the very first black marshal to the Alabama Supreme Court, Mr. Willie James. When he first took office as the chief justice many years ago he brought with him three people from Etowah County. Two were black, and one of them is here tonight.”  

Why is this included?  These comments were meant to appeal to black voters not through policies that would assist the black community, but an inference that Moore’s association with a few black individuals equates to support for racial equality.

Source:  Video of Kayla Moore’s statement is available on CNN’s website.

 

December 11, 2017

In response to allegations that Roy Moore had made anti-Semitic comments about George Soros, Moore’s wife told supporters that her husband was not anti-Semitic because “One of our attorneys is a Jew.  We have very close friends that are Jewish, and rabbis, and we also fellowship with them.”  

Why is this included?  These comments were meant to appeal to Jewish voters not through policies that would assist the Jewish community, but an inference that Moore’s association with a few Jewish individuals negates other evidence of anti-Semitism in a candidate’s background.

Source:  Video of Kayla Moore’s statement is available on CNN’s website.

 

December 10, 2017

Democratic candidate Doug Jones’s campaign sent a mailer to black voters that stated that Roy Moore supported segregation.

Doug Jones Flyer Moore supports segregation 2
Doug Jones Flyer Moore supports segregation

Why is this included? This mailer was sent only to black voters and thus referred to “our side” in a manner intended to define “sides” by race.

Source:  More information about this story is available on Fox News’s website

 

December 7, 2017

The campaign for Democratic candidate Doug Jones sent a targeted mailer to black voters that depicts a black man and states, “Think if a black man went after high school girls anyone would try to make him a senator?”  The front of the mailer repeated accusations that Roy Moore had molested underage girls.

Doug Jones Roy Moore

Why is this included?  The mailer was sent exclusively to black voters. According to a local news report, some residents who received the mailer were offended because they interpreted it as a racial appeal for their vote.

Source:  More information about this story is available on WKRG News 5’s website.

 

December 4, 2017

In response to false allegations by right-wing publications that Democratic donor George Soros had funded efforts to register felons to vote against Roy Moore, Moore said in an interview with American Family Radio that “Soros is certainly trying to alter the voting populous.  He’s pushing an agenda. And his agenda is sexual in nature.  His agenda is liberal and not what America needs.  It's not American culture.  Soros comes from another world that I don't identify with. . .No matter how much money he’s got, he’s still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going.  And that’s not a good place.” 

Why is this included?  Moore appears to suggest that he believes Soros will go to hell because he is Jewish, and that Soros’s Jewish faith places him outside mainstream American values.  These claims borrow from common anti-Semitic narratives and appeal to white supremacists. 

Source:  Fox News producer Dan Gallo reported on the remarks on his Twitter page.

 

November 29, 2017

Roy Moore tweeted about the registration of “THOUSANDS OF FELONS” threatening to swing the election to Doug Jones along with a photo of two African Americans registering to vote.

Judge Roy Moore Tweet

Why is this included? The tweet links the registration of felons to black voters and assumes those voters will uniformly support the Democratic candidate.

Source: This Twitter account has since been deleted, but this tweet was collected and saved by our researchers.

 

November 27, 2017

The Highway 31 super PAC targeted black Facebook users with a video that claimed that Roy Moore had connections to a white supremacist group that allegedly inspired mass shooter Dylan Roof, who killed nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina.  The video is no longer available online.

Highway 31_Moore-Roof link

Why is this included?  The ad targeted black Facebook users and focused on Moore’s connections to white supremacy groups.

Source:  More information about this story is available on the Huffington Post’s website

 

November 27, 2017

Highway 31, a political super PAC that supported Doug Jones, targeted ads on Facebook to black voters that stated, “A racist shouldn’t represent you.  If Roy Moore goes to Washington, he’ll make decisions that will impact your family for years.”  It urged residents to vote against Moore, in favor of Jones.  The ad is no longer available online.

Why is this included?  The ad targeted black Facebook users and focused on Moore’s alleged racist views.

Source:  More information about this story is available on the Huffington Post’s website

 

November 14, 2017

Senatorial candidate Roy Moore stated during a campaign speech: “Then they started to create new rights in 1965. And today we’ve got a problem.” 1965 was the year that the Voting Rights Act, enforcing the right to vote for Americans of all races, was enacted.

Why is this included? This statement could be a dog whistle suggesting that the enforcement of the right to vote for black Americans is creating problems today.

Source: Listen to the speech here. More information on the story is available on NBC's website

 

November 2017

Doug Jones for Senate released a radio ad that links Roy Moore to white supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, and discusses Moore’s support for the birther movement, which claimed that President Barack Obama was born outside the United States and, therefore, ineligible to be president.

Why is this included?  This ad focused on Moore’s links to white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and the birther movement.

Source:  Listen to the ad here. More information about this story is available the Washington Post's website

 

September 26, 2017

In an interview with Vox, Roy Moore asserted repeatedly, without evidence, that “[t]here are communities under Sharia law right now in our country.”

Why is this included? The myth that Sharia law is taking over certain American communities is false and has been spread by organizations like ACT! for America, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, with the purpose of stoking anti-Muslim fear and sentiment.

Source: Read the full interview on Vox's website.

 

September 21, 2017

At a campaign rally, when asked when America was last great, Roy Moore replied, “I think it was great at the time when families were united - even though we had slavery - they cared for one another . . . Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”  

Why is this included?  Moore’s statements used the offensive stereotype of the happy slave, which misrepresents the experience of African Americans under slavery.  This type of messaging appeals to white supremacists.

Source:  Audio of Moore’s statements can be heard here. More information about this story is available on the Los Angeles Times' website

 

September 18, 2017

Roy Moore used racial language in a tweet published from his campaign account to argue for uniting the country under Christianity, writing, “Red, yellow, black and white they are all precious in His sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world.  This is Gospel.”  The tweet has since been deleted.

Judge Roy Moore Racial Tweet

Why is this included? Moore’s tweet includes the terms “red” and “yellow,” which are considered derogatory and offensive terms for Native Americans and East Asians.

Source:  More information on this story is available on ABC News’s website.

 

September 17, 2017

At a campaign rally, Roy Moore stated, “Now we have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What's going to unite us? . . . It's going to be God.”

Alabama Roy Moore

Why is this included?  Moore’s tweet includes the terms “red” and “yellow,” which are considered derogatory and offensive terms for Native Americans and East Asians.

Source:  View video of the statement here. More information is available on ABC's website

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Georgia

Governor

October 26, 2017

In a video paid for by Georgians for Hunter Hill, Inc., Republican candidate Hunter Hill calls for greater enforcement of immigration laws, stating his belief that current policies are “encouraging illegals to come into our country, offering them free education by putting our citizens on welfare.”  As he speaks, grainy video plays of four people stumbling and running across a parking lot surrounded by dried grass, suggesting that they are crossing illegally into the U.S. from Mexico. Additional footage depicts three hitchhiking men who appear to be Latino. Hill concludes by saying that if he’s elected governor, “there will be no sanctuary cities in this state.”  

Georgia Governor

Why is this included?  The ad links undocumented immigration with Latino heritage.

Source: The ad has since been deleted.

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Illinois

U.S. House of Representatives

January 30, 2017

Bill Fawell, a candidate in Illinois’s seventeenth congressional district, posted a message on his campaign's Facebook page alleging that the September 11th attacks were “AN OBVIOUS FALSE FLAG ATTACK WHOSE WORK WAS FARMED OUT TO ISRAEL'S MOSSAD BY ELEMENTS HIGH UP IN OUR GOVERNMENT.”

Biill Fawell Illinois

Why is this included?  This post draws on an anti-Semitic narrative that member of the Jewish community control powerful sectors and institutions. 

Source:  Read the post on Fawell’s Facebook page. More information about this story is available here

 

Dolton, IL Mayor

February 24, 2017

An unknown party put out a political flyer that depicts four African American individuals wearing prison stripes and chains.  The individual on the far right was photo-shopped with a picture of mayoral candidate Stanley Brown, who is black.  The flyer also depicts Frank Zuccarelli, supervisor of Thorton Township, and accuses local elected officials of being “good obedient servants on massa’s plantation,” referring to Zuccarelli.  It expressed support for Mayor Riley Rogers, who is a Democrat.  

Dolton Mayor Illinois

Why is this included?  Among other issues, the ad promotes Rogers’s candidacy by using the “Uncle Tom” stereotype to claim that Rogers’s opponents represent the interests of the white town supervisor, rather than African American residents.

Source:  More information about this story is available on ABC 7’s website

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New Jersey

Governor

October 13, 2017

The campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno released a campaign ad that falsely claimed that her Democratic opponent, Phil Murphy, had expressed opposition to deporting undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions.  The ad begins by discussing the case of Jose Carranza, an undocumented immigrant from Peru who was convicted of murder.  It then claims that Murphy, when questioned about deporting “criminal illegals,” stated, “My bias is going to be having their back.”  The ad continues, “Murphy will have the backs of deranged murderers like Carranza.”  In reality, Murphy’s statement had been made in response to a question about DREAMers who do not have criminal convictions.

Kim Guadagno New Jersey

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality. 

Source:  Watch the video here. More information about this story is available on WHYY's website

 

Hoboken Mayor

November 6, 2017

Days before the mayor race for Hoboken, New Jersey, unknown individuals distributed campaign flyers featuring a picture of mayoral candidate, Ravi Bhalla, who wears a turban in keeping with his Sikh faith.  The phrase “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our Town!” appeared above Bhalla’s photograph.  The party responsible for the ad had appropriated another unrelated flyer issued by Bhalla’s opponent, Michael DeFuso, without DeFuso’s knowledge or permission.  

Hoboken Mayor  Bhalla

Why is this included?  The ad targeted Bhalla for his Sikh faith and South Asian heritage, which formed the basis for the authors’ mistaken belief that Bhalla is Muslim. Many Americans confuse Islamic faith with race, as evidenced by the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes committed against non-Muslims of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian descent since the September 11th attacks. 

Source:  More information about this story is available on NJ.com

 

Edison School Board

November 2, 2017

An anonymous mailer called on voters to vote against an Asian American candidate and an Indian American candidate for Edison school board.  The mailer included a picture of each candidate with the word “Deport” under each photograph.  It made several racially charged statements, including, “The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town!”

Edison School Board Jerry Shi

Why is this included?  The mailer urges residents to vote against the candidates on the basis of their race and perceived national origin.    

Source:  More information about this story is available on BuzzFeed.

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New York 

New York City Mayor

November 6, 2017

Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl tweeted a picture of Mayor Bill de Blasio with activist Linda Sarsour, who wears a hijab in keeping with her Muslim faith. Writing above the picture reads, “Can NYC trust this guy with our homeland security?”  

NYC Mayor Dietl

Why is this included?  Many Americans confuse Islamic faith with race, as evidenced by the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes committed against non-Muslims of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian descent since the September 11th attacks. By posting this tweet, Dietl is appealing to voters on the basis of Sarsour’s faith and race.

Source:  The tweet can be viewed on Dietl’s Twitter page.

 

Erie County Legislature

November 3, 2017

The New York Republican State Committee sent Erie County residents a mailer claiming that Democrats in County Hall wanted to turn Erie County into a sanctuary county.  It used a photograph of four to five individuals who appear to be Latino and who are depicted straddling or holding onto a fence.  

Erie County Hall

Why is this included?  The ad links undocumented immigration with Latino heritage.

Source:  More information on this story is available on Politifact.

 

Yorktown Town Board

October 31, 2017

In Yorktown, New York, the Republican State Committee sent out a flyer depicting a Jewish former town supervisor as a puppeteer controlling three Democratic candidates, including an African American woman and an Indian American man.  

Yorktown School Board

Why is this included? A common anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is that members of the Jewish community control powerful sectors throughout the world. 

Source:  More information about this story is available on ABC 7’s website.

 

Nassau County Executive

October 30, 2017

The New York Republican State Committee sent Nassau County residents a mailer featuring a photograph of three Latino men with MS-13 gang tattoos.  It called the Democratic candidate, Laura Curran, “MS-13’s choice for County Executive.”  It also said that Curran was supported by special interest groups that wanted to establish Nassau County as a sanctuary city “for illegal immigrants and protect those convicted of violent crime from deportation.”  

Nassau County MS 13

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality. 

Source:  More information about this story is available on the Long Island Herald’s website.

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Virginia

U.S. Senate

April 12, 2017

Corey Stewart posted to Facebook footage of him speaking at a campaign event hosted by secessionist George Randall, in which Stewart warned that Virginias would “lose our history” if Confederate statues were removed.  Stewart also praised Virginia's secession from the Union, and described protecting Confederate statues and images as protecting “our history, our heritage, our culture.”

Why is this included?  Confederate statues and imagery romanticize slavery and white supremacy. Most were erected during the Jim Crow era or in response to civil rights gains made by African Americans.

Source:  Watch Stewart’s speech here. More information about the story is available on Fauquier Times' website

 

April 8, 2017

Senate candidate Corey Stewart attended the Old South Ball in Danville, Virginia, where he gave a speech calling the Confederate flag “our heritage, it’s what makes us Virginia, and if you take that away, we lose our identity.”

VA Senate attack ad

Why is this included?  Confederate statues and imagery romanticize slavery and white supremacy. Most statues were erected during the Jim Crow era or in response to civil rights gains made by African Americans.

Source:  Watch Stewart’s speech here.  Additional information on this story is available on Vox.

Governor

October 30, 2017

The Latino Victory Fund ran an ad against Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie. In the ad, a truck displaying a Gadsden flag license plate, a Confederate flag, and an Ed Gillespie bumper sticker chases down a black child and children who appear to be of Latino descent. Another child appears to be of Middle Eastern, North African, or South Asian descent and wears a hijab. The driver of the truck is white. The ad ends with footage of a 2017 march at the University of Virginia, where participants shouted anti-Semitic chants and advocated for white supremacist viewpoints. 

VA Latino Victory Fund ad

Why is this included?  The ad focuses on equating support for Ed Gillespie with hate crimes, white supremacy, and racially motivated violence. It has since been removed from YouTube.

Source: More information on the ad below is available on the Richmond Times-Dispatch's website

 

October 19, 2017

For a fifth time, Republican Ed Gillespie used imagery of MS-13 gang members to attack his opponent's alleged support for sanctuary cities.

VA MS 13

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  YouTube video is no longer available. More information about this story is available on the Washington Post's website

 

October 6, 2017

Republican candidate Ed Gillespie issued a campaign video attacking the Democratic candidate for supporting the removal of Confederate statutes in Virginia. Gillespie promised to preserve such statutes as symbols of “our history.”

Gillespie attack ad

Why is this included?  Confederate statues romanticize slavery and white supremacy.  Most were erected during the Jim Crow era or in response to civil rights gains made by African Americans.   

Source:  YouTube video is no longer available. More information about this story is available on WAMU's website

 

October 6, 2017

In another video, Republican candidate Ed Gillespie attacked his Democratic opponent for supporting the removal of Confederate statues.

VA attack ad

Why is this included? Confederate statues romanticize slavery and white supremacy.  Most were erected during the Jim Crow era or in response to civil rights gains made by African Americans.   

Source:  YouTube video is no longer available. More information about this story is available on WAMU's website

 

October 6, 2017

For a fourth time, Republican Ed Gillespie used imagery of MS-13 gang members to attack his opponent's alleged support for sanctuary cities and to promote his own law enforcement policies.

VA MS 13 2

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  YouTube video is no longer available. More information about this story is available on the Richmond Times-Digest's website

 

September 28, 2017

For a third time, Republican candidate Ed Gillespie released an ad that invokes MS-13 to attack Northam’s alleged support for sanctuary cities.  The ad opens by showing a hooded figure with a baseball bat and MS-13 gang tattoos on his fingers.

VA MS 13 attack ad

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  YouTube video is no longer available.

 

September 28, 2017

In a video entitled “MS-13 is Surging,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie largely recycled an earlier ad against his Democratic rival, adding some additional footage describing crimes believed to have been committed by MS-13 members.  Like the earlier video, the new video uses images of MS-13 gang members to attack Northam for his alleged support for sanctuary cities.

Virginia Governor

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  YouTube video is no longer available. More information about this story is available on the Washington Post's website

 

September 20, 2017

Republican candidate Ed Gillespie released an ad attacking Democratic opponent Ralph Northam for allegedly voting to protect sanctuary cities, whose laws, the ad says, allow “dangerous illegal immigrants back on the street.”  The ad features several photographs of Latino men with MS-13 tattoos.

VA MS 13 attack ad 3

Why is this included?  The ad equates undocumented immigration with Latino heritage and criminality.  

Source:  YouTube video is no longer available. More information about this story is available on the Washington Post's website

 

August 23, 2017

The Republican Party of Virginia posted two tweets claiming that Democratic candidate Ralph Northam had “turned his back on his own family’s heritage in demanding monument removal.”  Because the tweet occurred shortly after violent protests in Charlottesville, which had initially centered around the removal of Confederate statues in the city, several Democrats accused Republicans of appealing to white supremacists. The Republican Party later apologized and deleted the tweets, claiming to have intended to argue that Northam had turned on his family members who had been injured fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War.  

VA GOP Tweets

Why is this included?  Confederate statues romanticize slavery and white supremacy. Most were erected during the Jim Crow era or in response to civil rights gains made by African Americans.

Source:  More information about this story is available on the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s website

 

House of Delegates

November 1, 2017

The Republican Party of Virginia sent out a mailer targeting Democratic candidate Chris Hurst, claiming that he supported removing Confederate statues.  

Chris Hurst VA House

Why is this included?  Confederate statues romanticize slavery and white supremacy.  Most were erected during the Jim Crow era or in response to civil rights gains made by African Americans.   

Source:  More information about this story is available on Daily Kos.

 

November 1, 2017

The Republican Party of Virginia targeted Democratic candidate Jennifer Foy with a mailer that claimed that she supported a bill to make undocumented immigrants eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia universities and that, as a result, “Virginia students are being denied at our state universities.”

Jennifer Foy VA

Why is this included?  Throughout the 2017 and 2018 election cycles, campaign ads tied terms like “illegals” or “illegal aliens” to Latino heritage and criminality.

Source:  More information about this story is available on Daily Kos

 

October 19, 2017

Republican candidate Richard Anderson’s campaign sent out a mailer targeting his Democratic rival, Hala Ayala.  The mailer depicts someone who appears to be black cast in darkness, wearing a hoodie and holding a wooden post.  It says, “Hala Ayala: Restore rights to felons: thugs, violent criminals, gang members, and child predators.”

Ayala VA

Why is this included?  The mailer associates blackness with criminality. 

Source:  More information about this story is available on the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s website.

 

September 11, 2017

The Dominion Leadership Trust issued two mailers against Democratic assembly candidate Elizabeth Guzman, who immigrated to the United States from Peru.  The mailer depicts images of a gun with bullets, alcohol, and an “I voted” sticker, and claims that Guzman supported allowing “illegal aliens” to obtain driver’s licenses.  According to the mailer, “Then they and even criminals will have the ID they need to buy a gun.”  One of the mailers depicts six bullet holes in a piece of glass and states, “If you fear this in your neighborhood, then you should fear this...”  

VA House of  Delegates Elizabeth Guzman

Why is this included?  The ad draws a line between a Latina candidate, undocumented immigrants, and criminality.

Source:  More information about this story is available on Daily Kos

 

Henrico County Board of Supervisors

October 2017

The Republican Party of Virginia issued several mailers that portray supervisor candidate Courtney Lynch as the “liberal sidekick” of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, who is black and who endorsed Lynch.  Pictures of Lynch and Stoney are superimposed onto stock pictures to make it appear as though they are shaking hands and interacting with one another.  One Democratic operative claimed that Stoney’s skin appeared to have been darkened in the editing process.  

VA Henrico County

Why is this included?  The mailers pit predominantly white areas like Henrico County against urban areas like Richmond that have large black populations. The Richmond Times-Dispatch also observed in an op-ed that at least one mailer relies on stereotypes that depict African Americans as lazy. 

Source:  Additional information about this story is available on the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s website.  The Times-Dispatch editorial board’s analysis of the mailers is available here.