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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Springtime For Race-Baiting

We are often told that this year’s GOP/Tea Party uprising is some sort of act of self-defense by Americans resisting the takeover of their lives by Big Government, and that the whole right-wing “movement” is about fiscal issues and constitutional liberty, not cultural resentments or ethnic/racial fears.
Funny, then, that so many political ads this year dwell not so subtly on The Others In Our Midst. Salon‘s Alex Pareene has collected some doozies that he has awarded with what he calls the “Baitys.” Here’s his summary:

Are you scared of gang-banging Mexican illegals? Islamic sleeper cell jihadists? Chinese people? Then this was the election cycle for you! From the primaries through the week before election day, America’s been blanketed with race-baiting political campaign ads from insufficiently guarded border to shining sea. Today’s the day when those countless hours spent by soulless political consultants poring over stock images of young Latino men looking for the shot that screams “about to kidnap your daughter” pays off.

Some of the ads about illegal immigrants are especially over the top, which is interesting insofar as rates of immigration have been dropping rapidly of late. And any Democrat who has failed to wax hysterical about the so-called Ground Zero Mosque is subject to attack as a conscious agent of radical Islam bent on subjecting good Christian folk to Sharia law.
What’s most striking about these ads is how generic they are, with little connection to the actual issues in any actual electoral contest. But then again, given the highly centralized nature of the conservative attack ad machine, it’s small wonder that cookie-cutter race-baiting has spread across the land like pestilence.

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