UPDATE: Gillespie hits back:
Either Virginia Democrats know they’re going to win or they’re desperate. I’m putting money on the latter. Something in their internals must have them spooked. No campaign that’s confident of victory sends mailers linking the Republican candidate to white supremacists, attacks voters as racists, and calls those in the opposing party “evil.”That’s the Demcorats’ closing argument. Two-time George W. Bush voter and Democratic candidate for governor Ralph Northam is good and the Republicans are evil. Republican candidate Ed Gillespie is no better than white nationalists and if he wins, white people, who happen to all drive pickup trucks and love the Confederacy, will run over Asians, black, Muslims, and Hispanic children.
In Democrat-land, these attacks are gold. For the majority of the country, this is pure crap. If there’s one thing that Democrats have shown in this race, it’s that they truly feel rural voters; no—any person who doesn’t support them is a vile bigot while they feel that their own voters are mentally retarded. Does anyone with cognitive function actually believe if Gillespie wins next week that white people will be running over people of color with their motor vehicles? It’s scare tactics of the most egregious form. Moreover, Gillespie condemned the white supremacists who descended into Charlottesville over the summer, which was the impetus for this nonsense.
This is not a piece you would send out if you were cruising to victory. pic.twitter.com/uaDmmqZFhn— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) October 25, 2017
Most Virginia papers have condemned the mailer. The Richmond-Times Dispatch called the ads “practically libel,” while the Charlottesville-based Daily Progress slammed Democrats for exploiting their pain for political points.
Now, the Roanoke Times is offering Latino Action Fund, who did the Gillespie supporter running down kids ad, a few words of wisdom, namely that you attack the candidate, not the voters. They note that the paper is not pro-Republican, and they feel that the GOP position on immigration is wrong, but to have a constructive dialogue—you just can’t say all white people love the Confederacy and are pedal-happy when they see nonwhite children crossing the street. That’s absurd. The publication was quite apt in noting that the ad is eerily similar to Hillary Clinton calling Republican voters “deplorable.” And look how that turned out. Granted, they admitted that there was a bit more nuance wth Clinton, but this ad is blunt and straightforward: anyone who votes for Gillespie, any rural voter, any Republican is just an evil racist [emphasis mine]:
The one-minute video shows a sinister-looking white man chasing down minority kids with his pickup truck that’s adorned with three tell-tale symbols — a Confederate flag, a Tea Party license plate and a bumper sticker for Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for governor. At the end, this is all revealed to be a dream, as the kids wake up shaking in the middle of the night, while the narrator intones: “Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by ‘the American dream’?”
Republicans called the ad a sickening resort to fear-mongering. The campaign of Democrat Ralph Northam distanced itself from the ad produced by an independent group, saying he did not condone the message. The Latino Victory Fund defended the ad, saying “We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don’t like what they see.”
We are not Republicans, but we don’t like what we see, either. We’ll explain why.
First, it’s factually wrong — no small thing. The ad suggests that Gillespie supporters are racist vigilantes who want to run down minority kids. Really? Really??
Secondly, the ad does not target the candidate but rather his supporters. That seems akin to Hillary Clinton’s comment about many supporters of Donald Trump being a “basket of deplorables.” Her comment was misinterpreted; she went on to define those deplorables as people who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic — Islamophobic — you name it.” Ideally, even Republicans would agree that racists, sexists and the lot are deplorable, but her comment came off as showing contempt for Trump supporters in general. This ad doesn’t even have that Clintonesque nuance. It just shows a white guy in a pick-up truck — and implies Gillespie supporters want to kill minority kids. Umm, that’s a lot of Virginians right there who are being called not just homicidal but genocidal.
We’ve already said that campaign advertising is exaggerated so we understand we’re not supposed to take this ad literally. But the message is unmistakable — Republicans are bad people. That’s not a good message to be sending in a democracy, where come the day after the election we’re all still going to be living together and working together in a civil society. Perhaps you think Gillespie is wrong on the issues, but that doesn’t make his supporters bad people.
The irony of this ad is thick. First of all, in June, a man chased down a bunch of Muslim teenagers in Sterling and killed one of them with a baseball bat. It was deep-sixed when the assailant turned out to be an illegal alien. Now, we have a 29-year-old terrorist from Uzbekistan who drove a pickup truck through a bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing eight and wounding twelve. It’s not white rural voters running down folks, progressives. And for a few Virginia voters—this ad caused them to switch their vote. Right now, Mr. Northam has some expaling to do, as he denied that ad came from his campaign, but it looks like there was some coordination with LVF. The dislcosure forms don't lie.
Final Northam TV ads responding to Gillespie remind me of final days of Ossoff responding to Handel. Not a confident closer. #VAGov— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) November 2, 2017
Also, what is it with Virginia Democrats and their attempts to cast the GOP as trying to run over people?