'Don't vote' ad tops list of repulsive political ploys this year

Never realized the most despicable and offensive political ad of Nevada's 2010 season would be one I never actually saw on television. With less than two weeks to go, perhaps there's still a chance this disgusting ad will be surpassed by something even more repulsive, but so far, the dishonor goes to Latinos for Reform.

The GOP-backed group injected itself into the Nevada U.S. Senate race by taking an incredible tactic. It sent Hispanics this message: Don't vote.

What's next? Ads targeting black people, women and gays, urging them not to vote either? Shall we go back to pre-Civil Rights Act of 1965? Or maybe the Reconstruction Era?

The television and radio ads were at first accepted, then rejected by Univision, the leading Hispanic news media outlet. I had to look the ads up on the Internet to actually see them for myself since they had minimal air time.

The ad shows various Democratic leaders, including President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but the visuals give the most face time to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"Clearly, the Democratic leadership betrayed us," the announcer declares, complaining that despite promises of immigration reform, there hasn't even been a vote on immigration in the past two years with Democrats controlling the presidency and both houses of Congress.

Hispanics are urged to send a message to all politicians (although no Republicans are featured) and the voiceover says: "Democratic leaders must pay for their broken promises and betrayals."

The kicker is this. "Don't vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message: You can no longer take us for granted. Don't vote."

To see it for yourself, go to www.latinosforreform.com

The assumption is the Hispanic vote will favor Reid, so the ads in Nevada were designed to suppress the Hispanic turnout and help Republican Sharron Angle.

The ads are an independent effort by Robert de Posada, former director of Hispanic affairs for the Republican National Committee. Angle didn't approve the ads, but she did not repudiate them at first. GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval did. And then, late Wednesday, Angle did the same.

You don't have to be Hispanic to find the ad repulsive. To discourage any minority group from voting has to be one of the most un-American positions around today.

Remember the poll tax after the Civil War, designed to keep black people from voting if they hadn't paid the tax? In 1900, the Democratic Party held "whites only" primaries in some states, eliminating both African-Americans and Hispanics.

De Posada has a history of pitting one minority group against another. In 2008, he crafted ads suggesting then-candidate Obama puts black people ahead of Latinos, according to a National Public Radio news story at the time. De Posada was linked to President George W. Bush in the news account because he appointed de Posada to a commission to advance the Bush plan to privatize Social Security.

There have been a lot of lies and distortions in the political ads this year. Maybe our memories fade about how bad previous election seasons were, sort of like forgetting the pain of childbirth, but the ads have gone far, far beyond taking mere liberties with the truth. Candidates and parties of all persuasions have said whatever they please and don't seem to care if their statements are true or false.

But to produce an ad urging a particular minority to refrain from voting crossed a line. It's repugnant.

Will any other ad surpass this one? Because there's time left and restraint seems to no longer have a place in modern politics, I guess something worse can come along.

Until then, the "don't vote" ad keeps me steaming mad, especially coming from a GOP group that probably would have fought any "immigration reform" the Democratic leadership proposed.

Jane Ann Morrison's column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0275. She also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/morrison.