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Mario Chothen November 12, 2018

A little over a week ago I was half watching Sunday Night Football, the Bears weren’t playing so I didn’t care too much for the game. But, then this ad began to run. Luis Bracamontes, a twice deported Mexican immigrant who was given the death penalty in April for killing two California law enforcement officers in 2014. At the time of the shootings, Bracamontes was in the United States illegally and, now with the midterm election approaching, he’s the focal point of the GOP’s latest campaign ad. This tactic has been used before by the Republican party.

About 30 years ago, William Horton, a relatively unknown African-American felon in Massachusetts, became “Willie Horton,” the focal point of attack ads from George H.W. Bush’s campaign against Michael Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee and governor of Massachusetts. The back story on Horton,  he was a convicted murderer serving a life sentence, was temporarily released from prison in June 1986 as part of Massachusetts’s weekend furlough program, which Dukakis supported. Horton escaped while on furlough and in April 1987, he raped a white woman and stabbed her white fiance. The “Revolving Door” TV ad accusing Dukakis of being soft on crime showed convicts coming in and out of prison through a revolving door made of prison bars, and was meant to allude to Horton, Rolling Stone reported. The ad was largely masterminded by Roger Ailes, who founded Fox News Channel in 1996.“The only question is whether we depict Willie Horton with a knife in his hand or without it,” Ailes once told a reporter, according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

NBC and Facebook, both of which had run the ad over the weekend, reversed course after a backlash on Monday and announced that the commercial would be removed, saying it fell short of their in-house advertising standards. CNN had refused to air the ad from the start, calling it “racist.” Even Fox News, which has made warnings about the migrant caravan a staple of its prime time coverage of the midterms, felt compelled to distance itself from the ad. The network’s president of ad sales, Marianne Gambelli, said in a statement that the network had stopped airing it on Sunday. “It will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” she wrote.

The fearmongering ad is both factually misleading Bracamontes entered the country under Democratic and Republican administrations  and offensive, painting a group of thousands of Central American migrants, who are fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries, as dangerous criminals without evidence. Bracamonte snuck over the border under both a Democratic (Clinton) and a Republican (Bush) and was deported under both presidents. He returned again when a Republican (Bush) was president. Then he remained in the country through Obama’s term — but it was a Republican local official who dropped the pending case. Pinning the blame on any political party for Bracamontes’s killing spree is a fool’s game. No one let him in, and no one let him stay; he kept sneaking back in and escaped notice until he murdered the police officers.

Bracamontes was an evil man no one will deny that but, to put a whole race of people in the same basket is unfair and unjust. That’s not a practice I want to be apart of. Our President is wrong and the sad part about it is he doesn’t feel that he’s wrong. There’s no one in his ear telling him how racist and inflammatory this ad is. I worry that evil acts against Hispanic and Mexican Americans will occur after something like this is seen. 21 million people were watching Sunday Night Football while this ad was played, how many do you estimate agreed with this disgusting tactic from our leader, our President? I guess time will tell.