People running Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign revealed part of their strategy with African-American voters Thursday. The renowned black neurosurgeon will appeal to young African-Americans with a hip hop radio ad, because that’s the “language that they prefer,” Carson's campaign told ABC News.
A new $150,000 radio ad buy, called “Freedom,” features a largely unknown conservative rapper, Aspiring Mogul, and includes portions of Carson’s stump speech throughout a 60-second clip. The ad will run for two weeks in Miami; Atlanta; Houston; Detroit; Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; and Little Rock, Arkansas, according to ABC News.
Political candidates and political action committees in the U.S. have frequently toed a line between sincerity and patronizing with fliers, mailers, TV ads and radio spots that their advisers believe will resonate with the black community. Campaigns have either endeared themselves to African-Americans by pledging solidarity on key issues or offended the demographic by playing up stereotypes and further ghettoizing the community.
Below are a few radio ads from Democratic and Republican campaigns and PACs that target African-Americans:
During a September mayoral race in Nashville, Tennessee, the campaign for conservative values candidate David Fox ran a radio spot attacking incumbent Megan Barry as anti-Christian. The ad, which featured the voice of a presumably African-American woman and a church organ played in the style reminiscent of the black Protestant experience, stated that Barry’s values were a turn-off for the city’s black community.
A super PAC run by former aides to Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada evoked the death of Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teen killed by acquitted neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in 2013, in an attack ad against Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina in 2014. In the radio spot, a known African-American blogger states that Tillis championed “stand your ground” legislation that grants immunity from prosecution to people who claim self-defense in a homicide. Tillis, the ad states, "led the effort to pass the type of stand your ground laws that caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.”
A 2014 ad supporting the campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran accused his Tea Party challenger, Chris McDaniels of ties to the Ku Klux Klan, driving African-Americans to vote against him in a Republican primary. "Vote against the tea party. Vote Thad Cochran," the voice of a presumably black woman said. "If the tea party, with their racist ideas, win, we will be sent back to the '50s and '60s."
Although it was immediately unclear where this radio ad ran, the YouTube user who uploaded it in 2006 claimed it was produced by “America’s PAC” to target African-Americans. The ad, featuring a conversation between African-American men, seems to promote conservative Republican values. At one point in the 75-second clip, a conservative black man chastises his liberal friend for supporting abortion in cases when he “makes a mistake with one of your hoes” and gets her pregnant. “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do,” the liberal voice responds.