Black Lawmakers, Advocates Say GOP Attacks Related To Crime Carry Racial Undertones


Black lawmakers and advocates say Republican attacks against Democrats related to crime carry racial undertones and are using race to ignite fear.

The Hill reports that a series of ads blasting Democrats as too soft on crime has been directed at both Black and white Democratic candidates. Examples of these ads include one by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in which his opponent Stacey Abrams’ skin is darkened. Last month, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot accused a conservative Super PAC of doing the same to her skin in an ad.

“The narrative is to stir up fear and it is being used against Black and Brown candidates,” Georgia state senator and chairwoman of the state’s Black Legislative Caucus Tonya Anderson told The Hill. “We are trying to make our communities better and this is a fear tactic to push people away from voting for what is good and proper and right.”

Conservatives are also using other tactics in their ads. An ad run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) pictured Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes, who is running against Republican incumbent Ron Johnson in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, with “different”and “dangerous” posted in front of them.

The ad sparked a significant backlash from Barnes’ campaign and supporters. Greg Lewis, a pastor in Milwaukee, has acknowledged crime in the area has increased but added the narrative Republicans are painting is “causing division that will probably be tough to heal in the very near future.”

The issue also came to light in another political race recently when former football coach Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville said at a Nevada campaign rally that Democrats support reparations for slavery because “they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

The comment drew immediate backlash from Democrats and brought renewed scrutiny as to how the Republican Party is using the topic of crime to generate votes.

Gerald Griggs, an attorney and president of Georgia’s NAACP, told The Hill the ads are eerily similar to a 1988 ad discussing Willie Horton by George H.W. Bush that has been credited with helping him get elected.


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