Many felt that the Yorktown Republicans in the 2018 election mailed campaign flyers containing not-so-subtle stereotypical, discriminatory, and anti-immigrant messages aimed at personally attacking their Democratic opponents. Some labeled them “racially/ethnically bigoted.” Who’s responsible? What roles did Michael Grace (then Republican town supervisor) and Matthew Slater (then chairman of the Yorktown Republican Committee) play in composing or condoning these inflammatory mailings?
A new fresh young face perhaps, but the same old grimy politics. One Republican mailer depicted a White Jewish politician as a marionette puppet master whose puppeteer’s strings are manipulating two apparently “mindless” minority Democratic candidates. Another Republican mailer depicted two White Jewish politicians driving and riding in the front of a bus with African-American and Indian-American Democratic candidates relegated to the back. Both Republican mailers featured incendiary images of fleeing illegal alien families. News media reported widespread community condemnation of Yorktown’s Republican campaign transformation of ordinary political rhetoric into all-out fear-mongering propaganda pitting neighbor against neighbor.
Slater and Grace never expressed any regret or even acknowledged that their campaign’s literature may have been perceived as being insensitive, intolerant and hurtful. Far from apologetic, Michael Grace and Matthew Slater both doubled down by wholeheartedly embracing their party’s caustic brand of identity politics. What have these weaponized mailers really exposed more: Their Democratic opponent’s political views or the depths that certain candidates/campaigns maybe willing to stoop to win their 2020 election?