Ben Carson Uses Justice Scalia’s Death for a Campaign Ad

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/50667958@N02/20753315608/in/photolist-xBUaGm-C7jUoh-orFCmu-qtuZpJ-qb2X8D-qCCmya-paCfbP-o5WLxt-o8Vgbm-ob6Tfb-oaPSZz-o71jPh-oaSYmt-pGkHLa-o5WGoN-oiMCQw-otFWjs-pTETYi-otHw66-orFBjQ-owK4Tv-pf6ShJ-q1RTzP-pA2YFM-p55tM1-pR6ywh-o86Qei-onn6Y5-oiMCYN-pC8fXq-p58eRt-wS4pds-q9XiaL-qWxJew-p5hDnm-oJNjsJ-pW4LkY-ona4eM-qjKBCD-pZpY43-pFxFm4-pUUGhK-q7hKA2-pPUADN-nNgsZe-qz5p6p-pXpQno-qzywuM-qJSAuT-rpJUy7">Paul Lynch</a>/Flickr

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All the Republican presidential candidates have seized on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to make the case for electing one of their own next fall, but Ben Carson is the first of this lot to exploit the justice’s passing for a radio ad. In a spot running on conservative talk radio in South Carolina, a narrator declares that Scalia’s unrelenting opposition to affirmative action was a defining part of his legacy and then promises that Carson will carry the torch for the late justice by promoting “compassionate action” if elected president.

Scalia believed that “we are just one race—American,” the ad begins. Then it continues:

He thought affirmative action was wrong. That racial entitlement preserves the way of thinking that produced slavery, racial privilege, and hatred. More than anyone else running for president, Dr. Ben Carson knows about race—and hatred. He was raised in the ghettos of Detroit. He saw the face of hatred, bigotry, and violence firsthand. So when Dr. Carson says we should replace affirmative action with compassionate action, that it’s a fairer way to treat people, we should listen to him.

The ad is consistent with what Carson has been saying throughout the campaign—that left-wing “political correctness” poses a greater threat to the United States than, say, the structural racism that affirmative action seeks to address. And with this radio spot, the only African American candidate in the race is seeking to win back GOP voters by citing the fellow whom many conservatives embraced as their movement’s most prominent anti-PC crusader. As the ad notes—in something of a non sequitur—”Judge Scalia’s life has taught us, if you’ve lived the life you believe in, you’ve earned the right to speak about what it has taught you. The rest is just political correctness.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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