Predictably, Squad member Ilhan Omar responded to the news by playing the race card, because of course she would.
For years, Republicans have made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the face of the Democratic party in campaign advertising, whether her party was in the majority or not. But the 2019-2020 election cycle is seeing a different cast of Democrat characters emerge front and center in GOP ads:
Roll Call reports on how Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley are featuring prominently in ads for state elections in 2019:
But as Republicans work to keep control of key statehouses this fall ahead of the all-important redistricting process that comes with the 2020 census, state and local GOP politicians are building a robust negative campaign strategy against Democratic opponents using a new set of boogeywomen that includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, the organization that helps GOP candidates in state legislative races, unveiled its “Right Lines” initiative for the 2020 cycle last week to support “Republicans in key states where holding legislative majorities matters most” for federal congressional boundaries.
Images of Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York feature front and center on the Right Lines webpage’s banner photo.
Alongside their faces, a message: “Socialism starts in the states. Let’s stop it there, too.”
Further down the page are images of former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who is spearheading a Democratic effort to win back control of statehouses ahead of redistricting; former President Barack Obama; 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton; and billionaire liberal donor George Soros.
Every person pictured on the page is either Jewish, a woman, an ethnic minority, or some combination of the three.
Predictably, Rep. Omar told Roll Call that she was “not surprised that a racist party is running racist campaign ads” which, sadly, is the theme Roll Call ran with throughout the piece. They also made sure to include a quote from an anonymous aide suggesting that the ads will put Squad members in danger:
Aides for the squad have expressed concern that such negative attention on the freshman congresswomen has jeopardized their personal safety.
“It’s different from verbally attacking a presidential candidate, who has Secret Service, or leaders of the parties, who have [U.S. Capitol Police] security details,” one aide said. “They’re specifically targeting freshman members of Congress who don’t have those safety precautions in place.”
In other words, Republicans should simply shut up talking about the Squad.
What Omar, her fellow Squad members who also frequently play the Women of Color card, and Roll Call all conveniently ignore is the fact that these four women are among the loudest and out front members of the party. They make the most noise.
Of course Republicans all the way up to President Trump are going to give them the attention they clearly crave. This would be the case even if the Squad were a group of white male Democrats.
The Squad all use Twitter and other social media platforms as a weapon to mobilize their followers and demonize their opponents. Ocasio-Cortez does this more often than the rest, in addition to tweeting and Instagramming support for socialistic policies like the Green New Deal and presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
AOC has over 5 million followers on Twitter alone, which she uses to her advantage daily. That’s a very loud megaphone.
What Roll Call also leaves out of their reporting is that right under the picture of Holder, Obama, Clinton, and Soros on the Right Lines website are excerpts from an Associated Press article noting their heavy involvement in efforts to “take back statehouses.” Here’s the article they quote from (bolded emphasis added):
And Democratic donors who gave little to nothing to down-ballot races in the past are cutting large checks to groups focused on state races, the AP’s analysis shows. Among them are billionaire George Soros (at least $5.4 million), hedge fund billionaire Donald Sussman (at least $4.8 million) and billionaire investor and entrepreneur Fred Eychaner (at least $4.2 million).
Priorities USA, the largest Democratic outside group, and EMILY’s List recently announced they would spend $600,000 on voter mobilization for Virginia’s fall elections. For the first time, the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge is digging into the pasts of Republican statehouse candidates.
New groups that are focused on state races have sprung up, including the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is led by former Attorney General Eric Holder and endorsed by former President Barack Obama.
Priorities USA and the pro-abortion group Emily’s List have been big backers of Hillary Clinton and teamed up in 2016 during her run against Trump to help motivate women voters “in key battleground states.”
The Right Lines page also referenced a Washington Post article from August that noted “The Democratic Party’s future is at stake in state legislative races”:
To that end, Democrats’ state legislative campaign arm, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, is racing to pick up as many as eight to 10 chambers to add to the eight they flipped from Republicans in the 2018 election cycle. They’ve raised $10 million already, which is a record for them and more than they spent in the whole 2010 cycle, when Democrats got wiped out of power in many states. What’s more, Democrats are set up well not to lose any chambers for the second election cycle in a row.
So, yes, a website that is focused on key state legislative races throughout the country is going to include information about the major Democrat players involved in trying to flip the balance of power in those states. They’re also going to use the words and images of the Squad to remind people in those states of just how far left the Democratic party has swung in recent years.
This is bigoted, racist, and anti-Semitic only in the fever swamps of the left where actual bigotry, racism, and anti-Semitism are all allowed to take place largely unchecked.
The 2019 state races are not the only races in which voters are going to see The Squad play starring roles in Republican advertising, either.
The same will be true of U.S. House and Senate races as well going into 2020, as we saw play out here in the North Carolina 9th congressional district race (where Republican Dan Bishop won last week).
My response to Democrats and journalists fretting about the use of the Squad’s faces and words in state and national campaign ads: Get used to it.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —