Running racist ads and yelling about 'liberals' appear to be all the GOP has left as they launch their desperate last-gasp effort to hold on to the House.
Republicans, desperate for a silver-bullet election strategy that will keep the House in their hands, have decided to reach back decades and attack Democrats for being "liberals."
The old-school attack will be used alongside racist anti-immigrant ads that all but make it clear the party isn't riding on the "red wave" Trump has tweeted about.
The Washington Post reports that the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the chosen PAC of Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republican leadership, is unleashing a spate of ads that "hammer home, again and again, the idea that the Democratic nominee is a liberal."
Corry Bliss, the CLF executive director, argued, "The word ‘liberal’ is deeply unpopular and represents everything people dislike about the Democratic agenda."
Frankly, Bliss's mindset is about 25 years out of date. As the Post notes, the ad campaign echoes the work of Republican campaigns from the early 1990s, not 2018.
It also comes as the gap between those who identify as "liberal" versus those who identify as "conservative" has narrowed to within single digits, after decades of conservatives having a double-digit advantage.
With the openly racist Trump as head of the American conservative movement, "liberal" is not the pejorative term Republicans wish it was anymore.
The retro ad campaign is even more noteworthy for its desperation, given that it follows Republicans' failed race-baiting ads invoking the MS-13 gang.
Republicans have been running ads referencing the dangerous gang as a way to make an anti-immigrant message that motivates the racists in their base. That strategy has struck out for the party, most notably in Virginia, but the GOP is nonetheless sticking with racist ads in an apparent belief they need the voters the ads appeal to.
Added to that groundwork will be the "liberal" ads — pouring millions of Republican dollars into advertising that is clearly outdated.
But it looks like it's all they've got left.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that, despite the ample data pointing to a blue wave of voters rejecting his unpopular presidency, Republicans will benefit from a "red wave" in the fall.
But the desperate "Hail Mary" ad campaigns being run by Republicans and their allies make it plain that the party is on defense.
The tax scam package passed by the GOP, with benefits tilted to the ultra-wealthy, is not something they can run on. In a Pennsylvania race where they campaigned with ads on the scam, the Republican candidate lost despite the election being held in pro-Trump territory.
The party is also unable to run on the platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare. A Republican battle cry since 2010, soon after the law was signed by President Barack Obama, the party has utterly failed in its attempt to undo the health care law.
Trump has worked to sabotage it after his legislative failures, but public support is firmly in favor of Obamacare. Health care has been ranked as one of the most important issues for voters just as Republicans have tried to attack it.
They have no other rhetorical tool in their arsenal left besides nativist racism on immigration and numbly repeating "liberal."
Sad campaign tactics built on top of an unpopular legislative agenda headed by a strongly disliked president don't seem likely to work. Republicans are doing everything to manufacture a "red wave," but despite Trump's tweeting, one cannot be conjured out of thin air to save him and his party.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.