Voting

6 of the Worst Campaign Ads This Election Cycle

Outing survivors of sexual assault, warning that Democrats "will be lynching black folk again," and other stupid campaign-ad tricks.

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YouTube screenshot/Duncan Hunter

As the midterm races heat up, many politicians and their supporters feel ready to do whatever it takes to win. And what it takes to win, they apparently think, is some really terrible campaign ads. Here are six of the worst:

1. If the Democrat wins, black people will be lynched: A radio ad supporting Rep. French Hill (R–Ark.) suggests that "white Democrats will be lynching black folk again" if Hill is defeated by his Democratic opponent, Clarke Tucker.

I'm not kidding—that's a direct quote from the ad. One woman talks about the allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The other replies: "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." Here's the ad in full:

Hill, who represents Arkansas's 2nd Congressional District, was not responsible for the radio spot. It was paid for by Black Americans for the President's Agenda, a political action committee founded by Vernon Robinson. When Hill heard about it, he put out a statement condemning "this outrageous ad in the strongest terms."

2. Sexual assault survivors get outed: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D–N.D.) is running for reelection against a Republican challenger, Kevin Cramer. Cramer had suggested that Kavanaugh should be confirmed even if the assault allegations were true, so the Heitkamp campaign released an open letter to him from survivors of sexual assault, which it then published in a local newspaper as a campaign ad.

The open letter named 127 women, many of whom, it turns out, had not consented to having their names published. The ad was a "revictimization of victims," Cramer told the Associated Press. Following a significant backlash, Heitkamp acknowledged the "horrible" mistake.

3. A Palestinian-American Christian is a "security risk": Rep. Duncan Hunter (R–Calif.), who's been indicted by the Justice Department for allegedly misusing $250,000 worth of campaign funds, thinks his Democratic challenger is trying to "infiltrate Congress."

A 30-second ad from Hunter's campaign notes that Ammar Campa-Najjar has changed his name several times "to hide his family's ties to terrorism." Campa-Najjar's grandfather, the ad says, "masterminded" a Palestinian terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics. His father allegedly claimed the victims "deserved to die."

Campa-Najjar, who has a Palestinian father and a Mexican-American mother, admits he's changed his name, though his campaign says it has nothing to do with his family's terrorist ties. While the candidate's grandfather was likely involved in the Munich attack, Campa-Najjar was born years after his death. Campa-Najjar is also estranged from his father. Plus, he's a Christian, not a Muslim.

4. Is my opponent a sexual predator? Corey Stewart, the Republican challenging Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.), aired an ad earlier this month strongly suggesting without evidence that Kaine is a "sexual predator." The ad alluded to the fact that since 1990, Congress has paid out more than $17 million in settlements over violations of workplace rules, including sexual harassment.

"While Tim Kaine and the Democrats falsely accuse Judge Kavanaugh over high school rumors, they won't tell us which of the senators are sexual predators," Stewart says. "Why not, Sen. Kaine? What are you hiding? Are you on that list?"

There's absolutely no evidence tying Kaine to sexual harassment. And it was in large part thanks to Kaine that those settlements became public knowledge in the first place, according to the Washington Post.

5. Watch this clip of my opponent making great points: Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) might have actually helped Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D–Texas) by sharing a video of his Democratic challenger talking about holding police officers accountable.

"In Beto O'Rourke's own words," Cruz wrote. He attached a video of O'Rourke speaking last month at a Dallas church about Botham Jean, a black man shot in his own home by an off-duty cop who claims she mistook his residence for her own. After the shooting, Dallas Police searched Jean's home for "narcotics" and found a small amount of weed.

"How can that be just in this country?" O'Rourke asked, referring to Jean's death and the police's immediate actions thereafter. "How can we continue to lose the lives of unarmed black men in the United States of America at the hands of white police officers? That is not justice. That is not us. That can and must change."

O'Rourke was making some good points! According to Cruz, though, the candidate was showing that "over and over again…he sides against police."

6. A really, really bad Top Gun spoof: This one is actually from the primaries, but it's so bad I needed to dredge it up again. Dan Helmer wanted to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R–Va.). He finished fourth in the Democratic primary, but not before releasing this doozy of a campaign ad back in September 2017. It's a spoof of a famous scene from the 1986 Tom Cruise flick Top Gun, and…oh, just watch it:

It may not be the worst of the six, but it just might be the most cringeworthy.

This post originally stated that the terror attack at the Munich Olympics occurred in 1872, when in fact it took place in 1972.

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59 responses to “6 of the Worst Campaign Ads This Election Cycle

  1. Typo in your article: 1972 not 1872, Mr Setyon.

    1. Look, the war between Jews and Palestinians goes back a long ways.

      1. Funny you should mention that, BestUsedCarSales. This week, the PA, which gets USA tax funds and was created by a Democrat former Arkansas Governor sitting in the White House who wanted a border separating Arabs from Jews, arrested an Arab-American for selling a house on the wrong side of the “red line” to Jews. Democrats have been the party of segregation for as long as I’ve been able to vote.

      2. Know what the Latin name for the Biblical Philistines is? PALAESTINI.

        Not exactly the same people, but yes, it’s been going on a long time.

        1. Philistinus is what the Romans called Philistines, not Palaestini. It comes from the Hebrew Plistim.

          After the conquest in the first century BC, Judea, Idumea, Paraea and Samaria were known by Rome as the Province of Judea (Latin-Iudaea).
          In 135 AD the Judeans revolted again against Rome. After defeating the revolution, Hadrian decided to destroy any further Jewish nationalism in Judea. He killed all the priests and rabbis, destroyed what was left of the temple and synagogues, and in order erase any memory of Judea, he merged the Province with Syria and called it Syria Palaestina. Hadrian took Palaestina from the Greek name “Palaistine”, a coastal strip corresponding to Gaza referred to by the Greek writer Herodotus 550 years earlier. Herodotus was undoubtedly referring to the original Peleset (English-Philistines) who disappeared another 400 years before him.

          1. Just being pedantic about it because sometimes I get a pendant’s itch.

    2. “Campa-Najjar’s extraordinarily long-lived grandfather also masterminded the massacre of Israeli athletes in the *1972* Olympics.”

    3. Campa-Najjar is also estranged from his father. Plus, he’s a Christian, not a Muslim.

      I wouldn’t blame someone for the attacks his family members made, but let’s not forget history. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, plenty of Christian Arabs supported and committed violence against Jews and Zionists. The man who killed presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was:

      The man who would later be convicted of killing Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, was being held upstairs.

      Sirhan, a 24-year-old Jordanian refugee living in Pasadena, had written a manifesto three weeks before.

      “Kennedy must be assassinated June 5, 1968.”

      The date was the first anniversary of the Six-Day War fought between Israel and its neighbors Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

  2. 1. If the Democrat wins, black people will be lynched: A radio ad supporting Rep. French Hill (R?Ark.) suggests that “white Democrats will be lynching black folk again” if Hill is defeated by his Democratic opponent, Clarke Tucker.

    The ad…you know, it is not remotely incorrect,

    Doing away with due process and “believing the victims” is what LED to fucking lynching.

    1. Wait, I thought Democrats were anti-white racists now.

      1. The DNC will lynch anyone if it’ll help them achieve power.
        From 1848 to 1978 it was politically expedient for them to lynch Blacks and Indians, currently it’s working class whites, in the future it may be everyone who is not part of the new global aristocracy. It doesn’t matter for the clerisy, as long as it gives them power.
        If you want a picture of their idea of a utopian future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face ? forever.

        1. Now do Republicans.

          1. Republicans have literally zero history of oppressing other races. 13th – 15th Amendments passed by Republicans almost exclusively (15th had literally zero Dem votes for). As the South became far less racist, it also became far less Democrat. Most of the old-school racists remained Democrats until they died, voters and politicians.

            In the annals of civil rights, Republicans are exclusively the good guys.

            Hell, Democrat Andrew Johnson is why 40 acres and a mule never happened.

    2. Exactly.

      Its not the worst ad. Its the BEST ad.

      Its time to stop treating blacks with kid gloves, and pretend they’ll never vote for Republicans.

      Its time to start engaging with them and telling them that the Dems have failed them, and support policies that hold them back.

      1. It’s worth noting which political party runs the cities where police officers are accused of the summary execution of Black men.

        1. It’s not a coincidence.

    3. Yeah, “Believe Women” is calling for abolishing the presumption of innocence in rape accusations, there is no way around that. This has not worked out well historically for black men. And I’m not even talking about 50 years ago, one of the big issues with Obama’s Title IX policy was that it disproportionately affected black men.

      1. We need the tool. It isn’t easy, keepin’ ’em down like this, y’know.”
        ~The Man

    4. Yeah, I thought that too. The ad is just drawing logical conclusions from Lefties and “feminists” wanting to do away with due process for anyone (usually men) accused of sexual assault. It is an insane idea but exactly what “believe survivors” lunatics apparently want. The ad only points out this reality.

  3. So “Beto” is against White cops killing Black people.

    Did he express an opinion about any other color of cop killing any other color of citizen?

  4. Here’s another bad Democrat ad to help balance out your list
    https://youtu.be/6UYurrW7GVg

  5. That first ad…is pretty damn good IMO

    1. ….ESPECIALLY from a Libertarian standpoint

      1. Yes, but this is the new Reason. Libertarian standpoints are pass? and unwoke.

    2. Yup.

      That ad was sweet. And true. Apparently some people (Well, not people really… Leftists…) were incensed that that black ladies were actually talking like… black ladies! Let’s be honest here, lots of black folks talk like that. Just like lots of southern whites sound like stereotypical southern whites. And Texans sound like Texans. New Jersey Eye-Talians sound like New Jersey Eye-Talians. Etc.

      It’s hilarious how they’re all incensed about having normal sounding people for a target demographic being in an ad.

  6. The last ad shows how fun it is to have a group sing-along to chase a Republican out of a restaurant.

  7. The open letter named 127 women, many of whom, it turns out, had not consented to having their names published.

    Your little . . . ‘synopsis’ of this leaves something to be desired. The campaign didn’t ‘release’ an open letter – that would imply that they had received that letter from the signatories and then published it. They *made up their own* letter and tacked on these women’s names.

    Granted, you’re right in the broad strokes (hey-oh!) but this could have used a pass by a sub for clarification.

    1. So it was actually more sleazy than a quick read-through would lead one to believe? Da-yum.

  8. AS for #6 – did that guy bother to rewatch the movie before approving this idea? Because nowadays that scene would be considered basically rape by Millennials.

    1. I agree, fellow human. It’s rape if the woman says it’s rape…says it’s rape…says it’s rape…says it’s rape…
      {believerape.exe has crashed. Do you wish to restart the process? Y/N}

  9. Beto was on a roll until he singled out white police officers.

  10. LMAO. The first ad was over the top. Would have been better if they cut the second half.

    1. What sent it way over the top and into the stratosphere was the woman’s accent. mmhmm, girl, lemme tell you…

      1. Except for THAT’S REAL LIFE. I grew up in a town that minority majority. The reason stereotypes exist for groups in many cases is that they’re true! I’ve met a fair number of black folks that talk like normal generic white folks… But I’ve met a lot more that have “black” speech patterns.

        That people are upset by having people who actually sound like real people in an ad is a bit ridiculous. Would anybody be offended by an ad in Texas having a white guy using a strong Texas drawl? Or even a Mexican guy with a, gasp, Mexican accent? Cuz both of those would ALSO be accurate for a majority of constituents.

        1. Yes. It is real life but it seems tone deaf to use that accent in an add for a white republican.

          1. Yeah kind of… But is it really?

            I guess it was paid for by a black Republican group.

            The fact that it’s actually for realz may in fact make the non PC brigade black folks actually pay attention. How many black people feel patronized by having nothing but James Earl Jones, AKA white talkin’, black people getting portrayed everywhere? Black folks are some of the LEAST PC people in the whole country on basically all subjects. I imagine they’re not too keen on anti-black racist stuff, but they’re sure fine with calling Mexicans beaners/spics/wetbacks, and Jews kykes/shylocks/money grubbers and so on.

            So maybe the NORMAL black people out there won’t be as horribly offended as the white, liberal, progressive media wants everybody to think.

  11. #1 seems no different than Joe Biden’s statements that Republicans were gonna put black people back in chains during the re-election campaign, only this time it’s got the slavers more historically accurate.

    #4 seems credible (at least there is as much to make this credible as CFB’s initial accusation). If Tim Kaine isn’t trying to hide his rapey past why not fight to release the details? /proglogic

    1. #1 – exactly. Its time to stop “being nice” when the other side isn’t. Its time to play hardball.

  12. 4. Is my opponent a sexual predator? Corey Stewart, the Republican challenging Sen. Tim Kaine (D?Va.), aired an ad earlier this month strongly suggesting without evidence that Kaine is a “sexual predator.” The ad alluded to the fact that since 1990, Congress has paid out more than $17 million in settlements over violations of workplace rules, including sexual harassment.

    Based on the current rules we’re operating under, this is a perfectly valid and legitimate question.

    1. Hey, he’s just asking questions.

    2. I think his accusation was credible.

    3. Has Kaine ever been blackout drunk, even once? If so, he cannot credibly deny being a sexual predator, because he could have preyed on victims on that one ocassion and not remember it.

      #NewStandardsofProof

      1. I agree, fellow human. #orangemanisbad #impeachfourchans

  13. Famous old Lyndon Johnson story – he told his campaign manager to start spreading the rumor that his opponent – who owned a pig farm – was suspected of having carnal knowledge of his sows. “Jesus, Lyndon”, was the reply, “nobody’s going to believe that he’s a pig f***er”. “I know that”, said Lyndon, “But let’s make the sonuvabitch DENY it”.

    1. One of my math teachers pointed out the dangers of some rhetorical questions, such as starting the debate by asking an opponent, “Are you the only rapists in your family?”

  14. “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.”

    This isn’t the first time someone’s noticed the similarities between To Kill a Mockingbird and the Kavanaugh hearings, and pointing out that Senate Democrats wanted to exclude someone from public office on the basis of uncorroborated allegations is hardly inaccurate.

    If Senate Democrats don’t want people running advertising against them because they wanted to exclude people from public office on the basis of uncorroborated allegations, maybe they shouldn’t try to exclude people from public office on the basis of uncorroborated allegations.

  15. “1. If the Democrat wins, black people will be lynched: A radio ad supporting Rep. French Hill (R?Ark.) suggests that “white Democrats will be lynching black folk again” if Hill is defeated by his Democratic opponent, Clarke Tucker.”

    You know that your Soave makes the same claim like three times a week, right?

  16. Hill, who represents Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District, was not responsible for the radio spot. It was paid for by Black Americans for the President’s Agenda, a political action committee founded by Vernon Robinson. When Hill heard about it, he put out a statement condemning “this outrageous ad in the strongest terms.”

    I live in a Democrat stronghold. None of the neighbors lynched my friend with brown skin when his White baby mama from Florida ran around town complaining about him, but plenty of the local Democrats punched him in the face every time she did that. Just saying … as Reason reported, young men of color are disproportionately affected by the #MeToo movement.

    1. Oh, wait, now that I think of it, that death threat my friend got while staying in a Brooklyn shelter was probably related to the backlash over that scandal in the UK involving guys who look like him and talk like him and dated White females. My friend is a South Asian who met his baby mama when she was 19 and he was in his mid 20s. When he texted me about the death threat this past summer, I thought it was related to that parking dispute I had engaged in with the drug dealers in Paterson over the course of a few months. I had my hands full that month and didn’t have any cousins in Brooklyn, therefore, I told him to snitch. His snitching lead to a fight, but kept him alive.

      That reminds me, Detective Nase, Friday mornings are usually the best time to call me, because that’s when I wash my sheets at the very local laundromat and have the time to chat. Do you EVER get to work before 9 am?

  17. 4. Is my opponent a sexual predator? Corey Stewart, the Republican challenging Sen. Tim Kaine (D?Va.), aired an ad earlier this month strongly suggesting without evidence that Kaine is a “sexual predator.” The ad alluded to the fact that since 1990, Congress has paid out more than $17 million in settlements over violations of workplace rules, including sexual harassment.

    This commercial is great. The NJ Libertarian candidate for Senate is using the same meme in his campaign. Also recall that the Salem witch hunts stopped when accusers were bold enough to accuse leaders of the community instead of disadvantaged community members.

  18. Why am I not surprised that the usual goobers here at Reason like the amazingly racist campaign ad that says bad things about the Democrats. And then trying to justify it by pretending that Bernie Sanders is no different than Bull Connor.

    1. What, PRECISELY, is racist?

      Has ignoring due process been a benefit to black men, in particular, historically? All signals indicate that it has not been. Don’t get upset that progressivism’s newly-expressed hatred for due process is getting noticed.

      1. Yeah, I had a … conversation … with my black fiancee about how believing any white woman who accuses a man of sexual assault was the basis behind a whole lot of lynched black men in the painfully recent past.

      2. It’s racist because due process is all part of the white patriarchy somehow… Even though all evidence is too the contrary… AND also EVEN MORE racist because it had 2 black ladies talking like the majority of black ladies actually talk, instead of being some white progressives idealized version of black people, where they in fact talk EXACTLY like white progressives…

        THAT’S why it’s racist.

    2. jeff dont get your panties in a wad. All you have is your facade of moral superiority and indignation and if you let it slip all you are left with is Tony.

  19. Actually Helmer’s ad suffered mostly from production values. It wasn’t a bad idea.

    And the Tim Kaine ad is legit – unless Kaine has been calling for the release of the list. (If he hasn’t – why not?)

  20. I got a thing in the mail last week with some batshit claim that something like 350 Georgia children are sold into sex slavery each month (naturally the republican wants to protect our children and the democrat wants it to happen to even more kids; or was it the other way around?).

    Sorry, I’d have trouble believing you if you told me that it happens to 350 kids/month in the former soviet state of Georgia. Definitely not here.

  21. It’s interesting how the first ad makes a good point, but the good and tolerant lefties hate it and deem it racist because . . . it features a black lady speaking in the manner that black women ACTUALLY SPEAK. Lefties think that the manner in which black people speak is inferior, I guess. Not a good look.

    The lefties calling the shots are just playing realpolitik and lashing out viciously against any sign of blacks deflecting to Rs, but the useful idiot lefties operating from their delusional reality where black people all just speak like Obama. My high school was 20% black . . . ironically, it takes a sheltered all-white upbringing to produce the delusional true believer far left liberal — that or maybe the rare pampered 1%er living among other superficially (skin-color-deep) “diverse” 1%ers.

    Anyway, just another day in proving a point that Ted K made about liberals’ psychological feelings of inferiority.

  22. I agree!!! You can discuss with other side. That’s how you learn and expand your view points. http://www.mkoutletfire.com/mi…..l-red.html

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