Race a Hyper Campaign Issue in Governor’s Race

In most campaigns,  like the  high profile governor’s race with Jon Bel Edwards and Eddie Rispone, or an obscure local race like Justice of The Peace, there’s usually a sideshow or something that happens to take the attention away from the candidates or the core issues that should be what media and voters focus on.

Well we have that sideshow in the Governor’s race! Everybody’s talking about the BOLD ad that links the Rispone campaign to David Duke and President Donald Trump. Why is everyone so upset and why are so many trying to distance themselves from the content in this ad? Could it be because the ad speaks directly to the atmosphere that controls our national discussions about race, sex, religion, and politics? Could it be that the “Ism” dog continues to hunt, and we haven’t truly found a space to have a conversation and action plan to successfully move beyond his predatory practices?

We are all so sensitive because all of us haven’t been honest.  We haven’t been honest about how we really feel.  We haven’t been honest about the effects of public policy.  And we haven’t been honest about the deep-rooted misunderstanding, mistrust, and fear that we still have for one another.

Why the Ad was Bad

As someone who knows a little about politics there were a few things wrong with the BOLD ad.

 1. It’s timing. It should not have been aired until the last few days of the campaign.

 2. It probably shouldn’t have used a prominent politician to deliver the ad.

3. Once it got a response then explain why an ad like that was even necessary.

Ads are supposed to get people’s attention.  And that is difficult because people are either numb or afraid. The people who are numb are walking around like Zombies going mindlessly about their daily lives. The people who are afraid are fearful that one day they will be so abused and neglected that they’ll be forced into Zombie mode. 

All Elections Matter

And who we elect matters. But too often, in today’s political environment, a person or a party “who’s in” usually means another community or a group of people are OUT!  I don’t think this is what party leadership or political leadership should be about.  Elections are about ideas, and policies and improving the places we call home.  But too many of our people are afraid or Zombies.  So, the BOLD ad was an understandable response to the fear and mistrust that dominates today’s politics.  Predictably the Rispone camp cried foul, complained and used the ad to attempt to motivate his conservative base.  What is lost in that response is the opportunity to have a real conversation about why the ad is even necessary.

Shouldn’t the candidates, the political brokers, the pundits, and the media at least be talking about why this kind of campaigning is even necessary in the 21st century? And why is race even a factor in political campaigns?  Is this still how we must conduct our political business? What is the right time to sound the alarm when you think a politician might negatively affect you and your community? I understand the response of both sides given the times we still live in, but I would better understand all sides if we entered into an honest discussion about why these tactics are still even necessary.

Oliver OT Thomas
Host of the Good Morning Show
WBOK 1230am Radio
New Orleans, La. 

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