When you’re in the public sphere, be careful of what you say — it may come back to bite you in the hindquarters.
Just ask Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam. Although he’s been leading Ed Gillespie, his Republican counterpart, by a small margin in the polls, internal polling data found that he was weaker than what was comfortable among Hispanics.
The Washington Post’s Fenit Narippal tweeted:
Enter the attack ad from the Latino Victory Fund that was denounced even by a smattering of Virginia Democrats.
It depicted a white pickup truck mercilessly chasing minority children — black, Hispanic and Muslim — merely because they were minorities. Here’s the ad.
The Washington Post denounced it as "vile" and "despicable," and called for its removal.
The Post’s editorial board wrote, "It behooves Mr. Northam, while he is offering criticism, to make clear that even though the anti-Gillespie spot was not a product of his campaign, his campaign wants no part of it."
And then, one week to the day before Virginia voters were scheduled to go to the polls, the ad came to a brutal reality in lower Manhattan. A pickup truck left the roadway and indiscriminately mowed down pedestrians and cyclists — including children— on a bike path, killing eight before crashing into a school bus.
There were a number of glaring differences between the ad and what had actually transpired Tuesday afternoon, however.
- The driver wasn’t a redneck; he was a member of a minority — a Muslim immigrant named Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, 29. The suspect arrived in the United States in 2010 from Uzbekistan, located in central Asia, through the Diversity Visa Program.
- He wasn’t singing "Dixie" — he reportedly shouted "Allahu akbar" upon exiting his rented vehicle.
- In lieu of displaying the stars and bars of the Confederacy, the driver had reportedly pledged allegiance to black flag of the Islamic State.
The Virginia ad was taken down within hours of the slaughter. Latino Victory Fund, which produced the spot, issued a statement that only hinted at the New York terrorist attack.
"We knew our ad would ruffle feathers. We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don’t like what they see. We have decided to pull our ad at this time," said Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Fund, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"Given recent events, we will be placing other powerful ads into rotation that highlight the reasons we need to elect progressive leaders in Virginia," he added.
"Given recent events"? That’s it?
Northam’s campaign team, which hadn’t disavowed the ad as of Monday, finally voiced disapproval following the massacre that took place mere blocks from 9/11’s ground zero.
According to the Dispatch, Northam spokeswoman Ofirah Yheskel said, "Latino Victory Fund has taken the ad down, and we believe it’s appropriate and the right thing to do."
Reaction from the Gillespie camp was understandably more critical and to the point.
Gillespie spokesman David Abrams said, "This vile ad may be gone, but Ralph Northam’s embrace of it is still with us, as is the knowledge that he doesn’t disagree with millions of Virginians, he disdains us."
The bottom line is that the ad should never have seen the light of day, and with any luck Northam may end up paying the political price come Nov. 7.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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