Fight Back Against Racist Dog Whistle Politics in Ohio
Aftab Pureval can unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in November
Aftab Pureval is a half-Indian, half-Tibetan American running to unseat Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio’s First Congressional district. Pureval is a rising star who in 2016 became the first Democrat to win Ohio’s clerk of courts race in 100 years.
Republicans are worried about Pureval’s straight-talking demeanor and his message accusing Chabot of being out of touch with the district – so worried, in fact, that the GOP has returned to a familiar strategy of racial dog whistle politics.
The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), which is House Speaker Paul Ryan’s fundraising and messaging entity, started running this ad in late August that is quite clearly meant to frighten voters in this Cincinnati-area district about the scary brown man running for Congress.
As WVXU in Cincinnati explains:
In some of the most convoluted logic we have ever seen in politics (and we've seen a lot), this ad tries to make the case that, somehow, Pureval (who just happens to have brown skin and a "funny" name) is the ally of the Libyan terrorists who bombed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in Dec. 1988, killing all 259 on board and 11 persons on the ground.
Seriously. This ad implies that Pureval had something to do with it. The unspoken message: Maybe he is a terrorist himself!
Pureval was six years old living with his family in Ohio when Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The editorial board of the Cincinnati Enquirer was equally incensed with the CLF ad:
The ad, funded and produced by a super PAC aligned withSpeaker of the House Paul Ryan, is a dog whistle that blatantly attempts to remind voters of Pureval's "otherness" by making a misleading connection between the Democratic challenger and a settlement negotiated withLibyan terrorists by a law firm where he used to work. Never mind Pureval had nothing to do with the settlement the ad references. Flashing images of Muammar Gaddafi and the wreckage of a crashed airliner is a cynical play on people’s fears in an effort to paint Pureval as untrustworthy. Voters should reject this kind of ethnic tribalism and politics of personal destruction.