Politics and Race

The year was 1990.  US Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) was making another bid for re-election.  His opponent that year was the former Mayor of Charlotte, Harvey Gantt.  This contest would prove to be the biggest challenge to Helms in his electoral career.  With one ad, though, the fortunes for a Gantt victory were quashed.  This ad below introduced the issue of racial quotas into the Helms/Gantt election.  The ad also received plenty of national attention.

Helms would end up winning the election 52.5% to 47.5%.  Helms and Gantt met in a rematch six years later, with Helms garnering 52.6% of the vote to Gantt’s 45.9%.  In today’s political climate, candidates who run for President, US Senate, and House have to identify an ad with the phrase, “I approve this message” as an acknowledgement to the public that they paid for the ad.  This is so because of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002.  Now that candidates have to admit that they are the sponsors of the ad, do you think such an ad as the one above could exist on the air today?  (This ad, by the way, was paid for by the Helms campaign.  The poor quality of the video makes it difficult to see the written disclosure.)


6 responses to “Politics and Race

  1. Nicole Sciortino

    No, I don’t think that this ad would ever be able to run today. People would be so offended by this ad with the horrible racial comments. So many people would report this ad that it would have to be taken off the TV right away. That’s why this ad would not be able to run on TV.

  2. There is no way that this ad could be run today. Look at all the problems that arise from the aspect of law enforcement and the racial profiling that goes on. If you bring that into politics, the problems could be never ending. The color of your skin should not matter when you run for office. If your qualified to do the job, skin color shouldn’t even be a topic of conversation.

  3. Treyce Criner

    This ad absolutely could not be run today. Because race is re-establishing itself as a ‘hot button’ issue, many are afraid to overstep boundaries and lose votes in the process. As it has always been in politics, it’s all about the vote – not the people – but the vote! My name is “Tre Criner and I approve this message.”

  4. I don’t think that this ad would ever be ran in todays campaigning. bringing race into politics will never go well and can cause serious problems. I think this ad is horrible and proves no point into the Helms campaign.

  5. No way anything like this would be able to run an ad today. If someone brought a racial remark like that into one of today’s ads, it would have a huge backlash. Not only from the group being affected, but from everyone, because no one wants to hear about someone’s race being insulted. #PSC110

  6. Chris Biernack

    No I don’t think this ad can run today. race is a big no no to pick on. If this ad was made no TV channel would air it.

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