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Trump shares racially charged campaign video

With less than a week to go before midterm elections, President Trump tweeted a racially charged campaign video demonizing immigrants in an effort to change the argument from "family unification to invasion," sources say.

Posted: Nov 2, 2018 2:17 AM
Updated: Nov 2, 2018 2:36 AM

President Donald Trump's new Willie Horton-style web video posted to Twitter on Wednesday night represented a new flashpoint in a culture war he is stoking ahead of next week's midterm elections. But it also came as part of a broader strategy GOP candidates are using in key House, Senate and governor's races.

Republican candidates and outside groups involved in tough races, particularly in deep-red states and districts where turning out the conservative base is all that matters, are airing television advertisements stoking fears and spreading misinformation about the group of migrants still 900 miles from the Southern border.

It's the GOP's closing argument in Tennessee, where Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who faces Democratic former governor Phil Bredesen in a competitive Senate race, has aired ads that mention the "caravan" nearly 800 times, according to an analysis by Kantar/CMAG, which tracks political ads.

One Blackburn ad describes the migrants as "gang members, known criminals, people from the Middle East, possibly even terrorists." A narrator says that "Marsha Blackburn will stand with Trump to build the wall and stop the caravan."

The migrants, traveling as a group for safety, have left their home countries and are heading to the United States. Trump and his allies have tried to stoke fears about the group and tie them to Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. There have been no reports, in the press or publicly from intelligence agencies, to suggest there are people from the Middle East embedded in the caravan.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has also aired ads attacking Bredesen. "The caravan is coming, yet Bredesen is too liberal to care," a narrator says in one ad.

The ads mimic a strategy Trump set into motion weeks ago. Ignoring some Republicans' pleas to put a booming economy at the forefront in the midterms, the President has launched an all-out culture war depicting immigrants, particularly Latinos, as a threat to the nation. He said Wednesday he might send 15,000 troops -- three times the number currently fighting ISIS in Iraq -- to meet the group of migrants. He has hyped it as an imminent threat, even though the group is shrinking in numbers and still weeks from the border.

On Wednesday night, Trump escalated his race-fueled campaign further, posting on Twitter a video produced by the Republican consulting firm Jamestown Associates that depicts Democrats as plotting to help people they depict as Central American invaders overrun the nation with cop killers.

The web ad features Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican man who had previously been deported but returned to the United States and was convicted in February in the killing of two California deputies.

"I'm going to kill more cops soon," Bracamontes is shown saying in court as captions flash across the screen reading, "Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay."

The web ad recalled the 1988 "Willie Horton" ad backed by supporters of George H.W. Bush's presidential campaign. It depicted Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis as responsible for the rape Horton, a convicted murderer, committed while out of prison while furloughed under a Massachusetts program. The ad was seen as playing into white fear and racist stereotypes of African-American.

Thirty years later, Trump's spot is the Willie Horton ad on steroids -- and playing into the same racist stereotypes, this time with Latino immigrants.

A source close to the White House described the web ad as well as Trump's immigration push as "changing the argument from family unification to invasion."

"It's clearly working. We are all talking about it and not health care," the source added.

New CNN polls underscore why Republicans -- who widely view maintaining control of the House as a long-shot but see turning out conservatives in key Senate races as an opportunity to expand their majority there -- are all-in on a strategy of fear-mongering over racial divides.

In Arizona, 50% of Republican likely voters say immigration is the most important issue -- up from 35% in September. And in Nevada, 42% of Republican likely voters identified immigration as the most important issue, an increase from 28% in September. Both states feature competitive Senate races.

What's not clear: Whether Republican voters' shifting views are a response to Trump's messaging, or whether Trump and other GOP candidates are shifting their messaging as a reaction to the movement in their base.

Some Republicans running in more moderate territory have broken with Trump over his fear mongering on immigration. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican running for re-election in a district Hillary Clinton won in 2016, called the new web ad "part of a divide-and-conquer strategy."

"I hope this doesn't work. I hope that type of strategy starts failing in our country," Curbelo told CNN's "New Day" Thursday morning.

However, candidates and outside groups in other competitive races where Republicans' primary concern is turning out their base are also airing ads stoking fears about the group of migrants.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the House Speaker Paul Ryan-aligned super PAC, launched an ad in Minnesota's 1st District -- a largely pro-Trump district that is among the GOP's best chances of flipping a House seat -- casting Democratic candidate Dan Feehan as "weak on border security, soft on crime."

"A caravan of illegal immigrants marching on America. Over 7,000 strong, the caravan is full of gang members and criminals," a narrator says. It has aired 124 times, per Kantar/CMAG.

In South Carolina's 1st District, Republican Katie Arrington highlights "an MS-13 killer arrested in the Low Country; a caravan of illegal immigrants marching on our border; Democrat Joe Cunningham, campaigning with the sanctuary city mayor of L.A.; the Pelosi agenda, open borders, undermining law enforcement." It has aired 125 times, per Kantar/CMAG.

A GOP group in Texas aired an ad accusing Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of cheering on the migrants. "The caravan is coming, some say criminals among them. But there's Beto O'Rourke, cheering them on," a narrator says.

Two other Republican Senate candidates, state Sen. Leah Vukmir in Wisconsin and Corey Stewart in Virginia, have also advertised about the "caravan." Stewart's ad has run 469 times, per Kantar/CMAG.

In Kansas, Republican gubernatorial candidate and staunch Trump ally Kris Kobach uses footage of Fox News personality Tucker Carlson discussing the group of migrants growing "more massive by the day."

What those candidates all have in common: They need to jolt the conservative base before Tuesday's midterms. In Blackburn and Cruz's cases, both will win if Republicans turn out to vote. The same is true in Minnesota's 1st District, where Republican Jim Hagedorn hopes to win the retiring Rep. Tim Walz's seat. In Vukmir and Stewart's cases, both are underdogs worried that Republican voters will sit out the race.

On most of the map -- especially the states and districts where the partisan makeup is more balanced -- Republicans have generally not made the "caravan" their focal point in the closing days of the midterms. Still, most aren't displeased to see Trump driving a cultural message of fear.

"It's incendiary, I get it," one Nevada Republican said of the Trump ad. "It's a turnout game, and it fires up people on both sides."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
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