Keeping the “Nasty” Out of VA-10
Love him or #neverTrump, the GOP nominee for president appears to be heading toward to a decisive defeat. As his numbers remain stagnant, attention is shifting to the down-ballot races which will determine how much opposition conservatives can pose to a probable President Clinton.
Barbara Comstock has been decisive in saying she would not vote for Trump and that she finds his behavior toward women “disgusting, vile and disqualifying.” This stance on Trump even helped her win the endorsement of the Washington Post in her defense of her seat. So why is the NRCC continuing to run an ad which recalls the exact person and subject that Comstock is trying so hard to distance herself from?
You can find the entire campaign here: https://www.facebook.com/nastycooking/ – the one aimed at Comstock’s opponent was the first one posted (so at the bottom of the page).
What’s the problem? Perhaps the low point of a relatively improved performance from Donald Trump in the third presidential debate was his calling Hillary Clinton “a nasty woman.” It was the worst kind of mistake – easily quotable with no context needed to explain it. Somehow, a candidate reeling from his treatment of women decided to treat the nearest woman with open derision and gender-themed insults.
“Nasty Woman” has since become a rallying cry, with celebrities donning shirts with the phrase and online shops selling out of them quickly. And from my anecdotal experience, it spread widely enough to get brought up in day-to-day conversations involving women and their concerns about the GOP and misogynistic behavior. Yet the NRCC keeps promoting an ad which uses the same galvanizing insult toward Comstock’s opponent that Trump used toward his. It even has “Nasty” written just below her opponent’s face. These ads debuted about a week before the debate, but the NRCC continues to promote them, gaining exactly the wrong kind of attention in the process. And all this is happening and the VA-10 race remains tight.
It’s never fun to pull something that you worked hard on (and think is genuinely funny), but the inability to understand the message sent by ad like like this in the aftermath of the debate is exactly the kind of tone-deafness that undermines our ability to win elections – even ones like VA-10 that should be a slam-dunk given the quality of the candidates. Yes, there are differences between this ad and what Trump said. But if no one at the NRCC understands the current downside of a Facebook page whose cover image loudly proclaims “NASTY presented by the NRCC”, then someone from the Comstock campaign needs to kindly explain it to them.