The Virginia gubernatorial race is shaping up to be very close, with the Democrat, Ralph Northam, and the Republican, Ed Gillespie, in a near-dead heat. But with Northam running slightly ahead in several polls, Gillespie has resorted to taking a page out of Donald Trump’s extremely racist playbook, releasing an attack ad aimed squarely against the Latinx community.
Titled “Ralph Northam’s Policies Are Dangerous,” the first half of the 30-second spot is dedicated to scaring voters with images of scowling, heavily tattooed Latinx-looking men while clips warn of the “dangerous street gang” MS-13.
“MS-13 is a menace, yet Ralph Northam voted in favor of sanctuary cities that let dangerous illegal immigrants back on the street, increasing the threat of MS-13,” a voice declares. “Ralph Northam’s policies are dangerous.”
The ad’s implication is clear: Vote for Ed Gillespie, or risk being raped and murdered by an El Salvadoran street gang.
But, like most fear-mongering, racist attack ads, the truth is much more complicated. The vote being referenced in the ad was one Northam cast in his current capacity as Lieutenant Governor. And it wasn’t so much a vote FOR sanctuary cities as it was a vote against banning them. Plus, as the Washington Post pointed out earlier this year, Northam only cast the vote because the Republican Senate majority leader had, himself, voted against the ban, which lead to the tie Northam was called in to break.
What’s more, the men seen in Gillespie’s ad hardly posed a threat to Virginia voters in the first place. They were photographed in El Salvador...in prison. But racism truly knows no borders!