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Spineless Ed Gillespie Abandons Principles to Pander to Hard-Line Trumpists

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A new story in Yahoo News highlights Ed Gillespie’s cynical and desperate abandonment of the principles he once professed in order to win over extreme, anti-immigrant Trump voters in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. While Gillespie once advocated for the Republican Party to become more inclusive towards immigrants and minorities, his campaign is now “best known” for his misleading fear-mongering ads about immigrant gangs.

See below for excerpts from the story, or read it online HERE.

Yahoo News: Ed Gillespie’s scaremongering TV ads may define his campaign

“The Republican’s campaign might be best known at this point for a series of TV ads in which photos of heavily tattooed Latino men are displayed as the words “RAPE, KILL, CONTROL” flash across the screen. 

“That ad has aired, to my knowledge, far more than any other ad,” said political sage Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “I see it several times a day in flipping through channels.” 

The ad stretches facts to suggest Democratic nominee Ralph Northam — the incumbent lieutenant governor — authorized sanctuary cities in Virginia for undocumented immigrants, even though there are no sanctuary cities in the commonwealth. But it is most noteworthy because of how different it is from the way Gillespie has talked about the Latino community in the past.

…But it’s hard to imagine Gillespie running an ad like his MS-13 spot a few years ago, because for over a decade he’s been a leader of the Republican effort to bring Latinos into the GOP and tone down anti-immigration rhetoric. The inflammatory nature of the TV ad illustrates to many observers how even the most moderate Republicans are being pulled to the hard right by the Republican Party base.

…In the summer of 2011, Gillespie announced that he wanted to recruit 100 Latino candidates to run as Republicans for state legislature seats around the country.  “The demographics of America are changing, and any political party that fails to recognize that is going to find themselves consigned to minority status in the not-too-distant future,” Gillespie said.”

…But then in 2016, Donald Trump was elected president while denouncing Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, and Gillespie’s path to the governor’s mansion became far more complicated. Things became even more difficult when Gillespie only barely defeated a Trump-like primary challenger in June, Corey Stewart.

“[Gillespie] almost lost the primary to a far-right guy who was campaigning as a borderline racist,” Sabato said. “I mean [Stewart’s] from Minnesota, good God. I’ve known him for years. He’d say anything to get in office.” 

Gillespie’s narrow win was a wake-up call. A large number of Republican voters were obviously attracted to Stewart’s hard-line anti-immigration stance and to his robust defense of Confederate monuments.

The Trump people have no enthusiasm for [Gillespie] but the only thing they’ve praised him for is his anti-immigrant and pro-monument stances,” Sabato said.