2018, Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Republicans — October 15, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate John James features a swastika in his first general election television ad


U.S. Senate candidate John James is the Republican running against Democrat Debbie Stabenow in the general election. James recently was revealed to making a joke about “grabbing boobs” in a campaign speech, showing just how myopic he is about our country and the issues people care about. However, his first television ad of the general election takes this to a new level.

Using Trumpian dystopia imagery, James runs through a list of why America isn’t great. When he gets to “blighted schools”, he shows an image of a school hallway. Prominently displayed on a bulletin board in the hallway is a swastika:

Here’s the video. The swastika appears at the 10-second mark:

Oops. James took it down. Here it is anyway:

It’s difficult to parse what James is trying to do here. Usually “failing schools” is a racist dog whistle that means “schools where the students are not white”. However, James is black so that wouldn’t play particularly well. But swastikas and Nazis aren’t something you normally see associated with dilapidated schools or schools where academic performance is poor. As a candidate who has said he’s “2000%” behind Donald Trump — a president who seems to have a warm spot in his heart for white nationalists and Nazis — James’ use of a swastika sends a message with no content. And if you’re going to throw around swastikas, you damn well better have some context to put it in.

In the final analysis, John James seems out of his league and clueless about the needs and issues of common Americans. Most people don’t find jokes about “grabbing boobs” funny and I can’t think of anyone who associates “failing schools” with Nazis and swastikas.

This man has no place in office in Washington, D.C. He has neither the judgment nor the self awareness to earn that right.

You can make a donation to Debbie Stabenow’s campaign HERE.

UPDATE: Bryan in the comments points out that Shutterstock has a still from this video as a stock image on its site HERE. This story has drowned out any talk about the debate between James and Stabenow yesterday and is the top story on the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News as I write this. The Detroit News reports that it was, indeed a stock video and James has apologized.

Also, credit where credit is due, I first learned about this from Jonathan Baginski on Twitter:

UPDATE 2: The stock video clip is HERE. Now that I have watched it, it’s inconceivable that John James’ team missed it. It’s not credible any longer to say “Oh, they just didn’t see that swastika on the wall”. It’s a slow pan and the disgusting, nauseating symbol could not be more obvious.