Republican Candidates Are Now Filming Their Campaign Ads In Swamps

It’s the new fire-a-gun-at-a-symbol-of-something-you-don’t-like. Welcome to 2018.

Stovall for Congress/YouTube

Say you’re an aspiring Republican politician in the Trump era trying to demonstrate your loyalty to the president and his followers. What do you do? Here’s what you do: You put on a pair of waders and stand waist-deep in murky water to show your commitment to helping President Donald Trump drain the swamp.

Bexar County Republican chairman Robert Stovall, who is seeking to replace retiring Texas Republican Lamar Smith in Congress, is the first 2018 GOP candidate to take the plunge:

Stovall in fact appears to be standing in a river that just has some algae in it, rather than an actual swamp. Ecological accuracy is not a recurring feature in these ads.

The swamp metaphor was a dominant theme in Republican primaries for special congressional elections in 2017. In the Alabama Senate race, Rep. Mo Brooks embarked on a 23-stop “Drain the Swamp” bus tour; interim Sen. Luther Strange ran an ad titled, “Drain the Swamp“; and Roy Moore’s final campaign event was called the “Drain the Swamp Rally.”

Here’s now-Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kans.), who last year won a surprisingly tight special election in April to replace the current CIA director, Mike Pompeo:

Estes’ ad raised more questions than it answered, such as, “Why is there an alligator in Kansas?” 

And also, “Wait, what happened to all the algae?” 

But in a race as close as his, that extra flourish might have made all the difference. Patient Zero of the standing-in-waders-trying-to-drain-the-swamp explosion was Bob Gray, who last year waged an unsuccessful campaign for the GOP nomination in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. Gray lost to now-Rep. Karen Handel, but he remains the only candidate pledging to drain the swamp who has made a physical effort to drain the swamp as he was standing in it: