Black Genocide, Unchecked Power, Government Takeover: Scare Tactics Used Before Midterm Elections

We’re a couple weeks away from midterm elections, and we’re starting to see some scare tactics show up in campaign efforts to sway undecided voters to their side.

There’s a radio commercial that accuses Senator Debbie Stabenow of wanting to commit genocide against black people.

There’s one that says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer wants a radical government takeover of healthcare.

And there’s a commercial that says Proposal 2 — the proposal to end gerrymandering — will cost taxpayers too much money.

What’s true? What’s not?

The reporters at Bridge Magazine pick apart the claims.

Claim: Stabenow and “Black Genocide”

A radio ad playing in Detroit claims black pastors say abortion is “black genocide” and Senator Debbie Stabenow is in favor of abortion, and therefore black genocide.

It’s not the first time abortion has been equated to black genocide,” says Chastity Pratt Dawsey, a reporter from Bridge Magazine who looked into the advertisement, ”[but] there’s a lot to debunk and unpack there.”

Even the pastors I talked to said ‘This is outrageous.’”

Dawsey writes in Bridge:

Hours after the ad aired on Friday afternoon, high-profile pastors in Detroit blasted it as “disgusting” and “disingenuous,” and called on James to denounce it.

He needs to disassociate himself with this … I expected better from him,”  said Terra DeFoe, chair of the Democratic Party’s faith caucus and senior adviser to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on faith-based affairs.

Speaking as a woman, a black woman and clergy in this community, anybody who votes for someone with that type of commercial is clearly not understanding what’s going on in the inner city.  Black people have seen this tactic before and we don’t like it.”

Claim: Proposal 2 and Unchecked Spending

A radio ad claims Proposal 2 - the anti-gerrymandering proposal — would give unchecked responsibilities and unlimited cash to 13 randomly selected redistricting committee members.

Here’s Bridge reporter Riley Beggin’s take:

It’s vital that Michiganders consider the cost of any new public policy before they vote on it. But Protect My Vote’s new ad uses a combination of scare tactics, exaggeration and falsehoods to reach  unsubstantiated conclusions.

We give it a foul.

Claim: Whitmer and Government Takeover

An ad claims Gretchen Whitmer wants a radical government takeover of healthcare, stripping people of the doctors and plans they have now.

Here’s Bridge reporter Riley Beggin’s take:

Takeover”: An ambiguous clip hinting at Whitmer’s support for federal single-payer does not override months of clear, public opposition to single-payer healthcare at the state level.

The “Takeover” ad rates a foul.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson talks to Pratt Dawsey about the negative campaigns, and Stephen is joined by Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Brian Dickerson about a dust-up among Republicans over two conservative justices vying for reelection to the Michigan Supreme Court this fall.

To hear the conversation on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

This post is a part of 2018 Elections in Michigan.

On November 6, Michigan voters will decide who will be the state's new governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Some state House and Senate seats are up for grabs, and numerous initiatives are expected on ballots.

WDET is committed to providing honest, fair, inclusive coverage of Michigan's 2018 elections. Join us now and all the way to the voting booth to be an informed voter.


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