Erstwhile Winston-Salem City Council member Vernon Robinson is stirring the political pot again with a radio advertisement in which a woman says “white Democrats will be lynching black folk again” if they gain the upper hand politically.
The ad is running in Arkansas and is sponsored by a group Robinson co-founded called Black Americans for the President’s Agenda.
The ad is being denounced by both Rep. French Hill, the Republican congressman that the radio ad supports, and Democrat Clarke Tucker, Hill’s opponent in the Arkansas 2nd Congressional District.
The ad starts out with what appears to be a conversation between two black women about the recent controversies over the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
When the first woman asks the second what she thinks, the second woman says that if Democrats can bring “a presumption of guilt” to the accusations against Kavanaugh, “What will happen to our husbands, our fathers or our sons when a white girl lies on them?”
That’s when the first woman says Democrats “will be lynching black folk again.”
The second woman then says that she’s told her son not to get involved with white women because “If you get caught, she will cry rape.”
The first woman ends the radio ad with an appeal for Hill:
“We can’t afford to let white Democrats take us back to bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynching when a white girl screams rape,” the woman says.
Robinson’s group reports raising $143,000 from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30. The group, which is an independent political action committee not affiliated with any campaign, reported spending $90,000 during the same period.
Hill tweeted on Thursday that he found Robinson’s ad “appalling.”
“I condemn this ad in the strongest terms,” Hill said on Twitter. “I do not support that message, and there is no place in Arkansas for this nonsense.”
Robinson is not backing down: He said the GOP is missing a big opportunity by not going aggressively after black voters, and that “every black person from 1880 to 1970 was lynched by a white Democrat” — and often on charges relating to alleged sexual improprieties with white women.
“The congressman (Hill) has to run his own campaign,” Robinson said. “My obligation is to communicate with black voters about the President’s agenda. It’s a great opportunity, but the GOP still won’t ask black voters for their vote.”
Robinson said consultants tell GOP candidates not to advertise on black radio because it will only drive up turnout among Democrats. Robinson disagrees.
Robinson said the ads are part of a three-ad campaign that started with a pro-life message, moved to “shifting the burden from the accuser to the accused” in the criminal justice system, and will continue as planned.
The ads are running on urban contemporary black radio stations, Robinson said, adding that if he can shift a portion of black votes from the Democratic Party, he can push GOP candidates over the victory line. Robinson said black voters who did just that are responsible for Republican Thom Tillis’ victory over Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina in 2014.
He characterized the ads as “hard-hitting ads that say this is what the Republicans stand for, this is what the Democrats stand for, let’s have an election.”
Robinson said he has a similar ad running in the U.S. Senate contest in Missouri between Democratic incumbent Clair McCaskell and her Republican opponent Josh Hawley. That ad doesn’t have the “lynching” comment, but says blacks will “catch hell” if McCaskell wins, Robinson said.
Brian Miller, the local GOP chairman, said he’s heard a lot from local people upset over the Kavanaugh hearings, but that the radio ad supporting Hill is not one he could support if it were happening here.
“I’m sure this radio ad suited some people. It doesn’t appeal to me. It doesn’t make me feel good. People can freely speak, and we are free to absorb what we think is true and reject what is not good. If something falls within my purview, I would not support anything that is racially biased or antagonistic. We are a positive party.”
Asked if he thinks the ad is racist, Miller said that since the ad is from a “black American PAC speaking to black Americans, I don’t know that it is racial in that sense.”
Miller said if such an ad were being run here, he would not support it because “I don’t think it is fair or proper.”
Eric Ellison, the chairman of the local Democratic Party, called the ad racist and blasted it as being “aimed at peoples’ lowest dimensions.”
“The racial hostility, the gender hostility, the caricatured, stereotypical black women they have on there — it is bad no matter which way you look at it,” Ellison said. “It is not the type of politics we try to practice here at the Forsyth County Democratic Party. It should be a competition of values and ideas. It is too often that Republicans resort to lying, cheating and inaccurately drawing peoples’ emotional strings.”
Ellison said he hopes that any black people hearing the ad would reject it.
“Blacks, Hispanics and whites see we are better when we work together,” Ellison said. He added that the Democratic Party of today is far different from the way it was after the end of the Civil War. Republicans, he said, “don’t even closely resemble the party of 2000.”
Robinson never shies away from controversy. In 2006, running against 13th Congressional District Democrat Brad Miller, Robinson ran a radio spot saying that if Miller won, the country “would be one big fiesta for illegal immigrants and homosexuals, but if you elect Vernon Robinson, the party’s over.”
In 1997, running for city council, Robinson sent out a mailer saying his opponent in the Republican primary was a nudist (“yep — like nekkid — like no clothes”).
In 2004, Robinson had a 1-ton monument with the 10 Commandments on it deposited on the steps of the Winston-Salem City Hall.
Ironically, while Robinson is helping Republicans in other states, he has ill feelings toward the North Carolina GOP, saying the state party is “corrupt” and “contemptuous of the grassroots.” Robinson left the Republican Party for the Constitution Party over the summer.
If you think Robinson is worried about any push-back on the Arkansas ad, think again: “The left is screaming like stuck pigs, which is always a good sign,” he said.
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