WATCH: The GOP's Worst Race-baiting Ad Since Willie Horton

Election '16

In 1988, the “Willie Horton” ad was notorious for its use of racial dog whistles by Republicans to undermine the Democratic nominee for president, Michael Dukakis. That despicable video was part of George H.W. Bush's successful election, and went down in history as the poster child for shameful race-baiting political advertisement.


In the race for Nebraska's second congressional district, Republicans have just put up a new television spot that seems like Willie Horton all over again—or Willie Horton 2.0. The National Republican Campaign Committee is running the following ad against Democratic candidate Brad Ashford:

The ad shows an image of Bradford next to a picture of Nikko Jenkins, who was imprisoned for armed robbery and assault but then was released under a Nebraska law that allows early release for good behavior; Jenkins went on to murder multiple people.

The ad blames Bradford for not restricting the Nebraska law that allows early release, and by extension seems to place blame on him for the murders. And of course, the imagery of Bradford, next to a tattoo-adorned convict is the money shot – its racial connotations are immediately obvious in a state where only about five percent of the population is black.

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