Joe Lhota’s in trouble, everyone. There’s a little more than two weeks left til voting day. He’s 40 points behind in the polls. He has a distinct lack of telegenic children with iconic hair. His policy book is 1/4 pictures and includes sentences like “Diversify the New York City economy” and “Raise people out of poverty by creating a larger, more productive middle class” and “Empower and uplift teachers.”
He looks like a badger. He debates like a badger with a lisp, managing to simultaneously convey complete emotional distance from what he’s talking about and deep confusion that undermines his central message of competence.
If things keep going the way they’re going, Joe Lhota is not going to be Mayor of New York. Joe Lhota needs a game changer. A game changer like a dramatic commercial.Unfortunately, Joe Lhota’s attempt at a game changer is one of the more ridiculous – and racist – pieces of advertising since a Swiss election poster featured three white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag.
Take a look-see:
MUSIC AND LIGHTS AND ZOOMY IMAGES!
OH MY HANS ZIMMER.
Wow. We’re recovering. That was a lot. We need time to process. Let’s go shot-by-shot, shall we?
Cops. Bill de Blasio hates them. Standard. Moving on.
Wait, what now?
What’s happening in this little sequence is that the bikers are bashing in the drivers’ window with their helmets.
Do we have to discuss why that’s not an acceptable thing to put in your campaign ad? Thought not. Also, that quote is a lie. Let’s look at what appeared in the paper:
Democrat Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, has urged that cops visit motorcycle clubs and talk to bikers. “We have to be very tough on this one — this is an unacceptable state of affairs,” de Blasio said.
So the actual thing de Blasio said was we should be “tough on bikers,” and the Lhota people made it sound like seven other out-of-context words from the article were things that had come out of his mouth. Assholes.
Cool story, bro.
Can’t wait for the de Blasio ad that says:
I didn’t even include their idiotic fifth-grade-newspaper comma.
Anyway, back to the Lhota ad. What, exactly, will de Blasio’s reckless agenda take us back to?
WHO ARE SHIRTLESS.
OVERTURNED POLICE CARS.
PORNOGRAPHY WILL COME AND DEVOUR YOUR CHILDREN IN BILL DE BLASIO’S NEW YORK. Either that or he’s a fan of Taxi Driver and will use us as pawns in elaborate reenactments.
I’m pretty sure that’s a dead person.
I’m pretty sure that’s a dead person who had a family, and friends, and a name, and a job, and life aspirations beyond being a dehumanized and dehumanizing fear-trinket in Joe Lhota’s petty little psychothriller of a campaign ad.
Are we about to witness a murder?
Wait. Are those specks on the floor blood?
Did he shoot already?
Is this a snuff film?
I have so many questions about this ad.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, gird your loins for…
Lots of racism.
Followed by scary zoomed-in racism.
The nice White lady is being menaced – menaced, I tell you! – by the scary graffiti. Oh, and the Black man whose presence in this shot is definitely not at all emblematic of generations-old tropes of Black male criminality and Black male sexual aggression towards White women.
No- he just happens to be in this image. The Lhota campaign just wants to convey that a de Blasio mayoralty will mean dirtier subways and a return to the double-breasted women’s coat. Silly me. I must be “playing the race card.”
Joe Lhota spent most of his speaking time at the first candidates’ debate attacking de Blasio for linking him to Tea Party groups and loudly asserting his independence from the right. The next day, he released this ad. Which is ironic, because for the past couple decades, the conservative politics he claims independence from have relied on racist dog-whistles just like this one.
No wonder that the Daily News reported that Lhota’s campaign strategy has left Republicans in the city “baffled and frustrated.”
There are a lot of things Joe Lhota could do to prove his actual independence from the right. He could release real policy. He could not accept Super-PAC funding from the Koch brothers. Instead, he chose to entrench himself deeply within a racist, exploitative, paranoid politics. He watched that…thing, and when it was over, he didn’t say “What in God’s name were you thinking, and whoever thought of this is fired now.” Instead, he said, “I’m Joe Lhota, and I approve this message.”
Photo by Ben Miller