Last week, Donald Trump posted a campaign ad for Republicans on Twitter which criticized Democrats’ softness on illegal immigration. In chorus, mainstream media outlets responded, calling Trump’s ad “racist.” According to the media narrative, President Trump is repeating the sin of President George H. W. Bush, who published a similar ad in 1988 criticizing Dukakis’ record on crime.
In his case against Dukakis, President Bush, in a typically banal fashion, brought up a single anecdotal case of a criminal named “Willie Horton.” According to the Bush campaign, Dukakis’s policies on crime were partially responsible for Willie Horton’s release and recidivism. In his similar case against Democrats, President Trump, in a typically visceral fashion, brought up an anecdotal case of a criminal named Luis Bracamontes. The ad showed him smiling as he described killing cops and expressing a desire to kill even more.
Neither Trump's nor Bush's ad made generalizations about race. Neither ad described the anecdotal criminal case inaccurately. So, why does the mainstream media insist on calling these ads "racist"? Because Willie Horton was black, and Luis Bracamontes is Mexican. According to the media, when Republican politicians mention real anecdotal cases of criminality, they are appealing to the irrational fears and prejudices of the American People.
When you watch Republican advertisements and find yourself having a negative reaction toward Democrat crime or immigration policies, the media believes you are being racist. It doesn't matter whether you believe you have reasonable, law-and-order-based concerns about lax enforcement. What's really happening, they insist, is that you are being moved by racial animosity and prejudice. In other words, you are deplorable.
Ad hominem attacks against conservative-leaning Americans have gone on far too long. Crime and immigration enforcement are mainstream conservative positions, not racist dog-whistles. It is time to say so. It is also time to re-launch a national discussion of the merits of strict enforcement of the law. America's minority communities may have the most to gain.