President Trump set the Internet on fire with a wildly racist video ad targeting Latinos and immigrants just days before the midterm elections. In a blatant attempt to appeal to his alt-right white supremacist base, Trump and the GOP has taken it back to the 80s in an advertisement reminiscent of the infamous “Willie Horton” spot released by supporters of President George Bush in 1988. Centered around Luis Bracamontes, an undocumented immigrant convicted of killing two sheriff’s deputies in California back in 2014 who bragged about the murders during his trial, the ad declares: “Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay.”
It nakedly plays on the fears of those ignorant enough to believe Trump’s claims about Mexico sending “gang members and rapists” here instead of the “good people.” But amid the various problems with the ad is the fact that it’s not actually true. Yes, Bracamontes was an undocumented immigrant who committed murder, but he was deported multiple times under both Democratic and Republican Presidents and was actually let back into the country the last time under President George W. Bush between 2002-2004. The most ironic part of all is that Trump’s buddy Joe Arpaio actually arrested Bracamontes on drug charges back in 1998 and then released him for “unknown reasons”! “He was booked into the jails I run for drug-related convictions,” Arpaio told the Arizona Republic.
To be honest, no one should be all that shocked by the racism and xenophobic sentiment behind the advertisement. It is clear that Republicans have gone all in on Trump’s strategy of whipping up an alt-right, white supremacist base to vote in the midterms and that they have decided that the next few election cycles are more important than either the future of their own party, the country, and civil discourse.
So, if you needed a reason to vote and couldn’t quite decide if it was important, just take note. There are lots of people who see no difference between you or me and Bracamontes.