TV news outlets spent last night and this morning comparing the video to one used so effectively in 1988 by George H.W. Bush’s camp to kneecap Dem presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. But in ’88, Bush himself tried to distance himself from the ad made by a pro-Bush PAC and on which, coincidentally, former Fox News chief Roger Ailes was an adviser.
“Roger Ailes has died, but he was the mastermind behind Willy Horton and his acolytes are in the White House, and here we are again,” said Alisyn Camerota, former Fox News Channel host, now on CNN, this morning.
CNN political analyst John Avlon reminded her that former RNC chair and George H.W. Bush adviser Lee Atwater had apologized for the race-baiting Willie Horton ad shortly before his death in ’91.
“The legacy of these sorts of ads and political plays are not good; they bring shame to the candidate and the people who worked on them,” he added.
But, in this post-shame political era, the video is just Trump’s latest ramp up of his midterm election fever pitching. In the past several days, Trump has claimed the caravan walking toward the southern border includes ISIS members, announced his intention to send 5K troops to the border, said he would alter the U.S. Constitution to revoke birthright citizenship with a made-up executive order, and then upped his troop estimate to 15K.
Here is Trump’s tweet, followed, for comparison’s sake, by the Willie Horton ad: