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Georgia senator distracts from insider trading allegations with racist new ad

Sen. David Perdue invokes racist and antisemitic tropes that scapegoat Democratic Jews and people of color.

By Donna Provencher - November 20, 2020
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David Perdue
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., leaves Capitol Hill in Washington. Perdue has taken down a digital campaign ad featuring a manipulated picture of his Demoncratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, with an enlarged nose. A spokeswoman for Perdue said in a statement Monday, July 27, 2020, that the image has been removed from Facebook, calling it an “unintentional error” by an outside vendor, without naming the vendor. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Georgia Sen. David Perdue (R) released a campaign ad this week invoking racist and antisemitic tropes and negatively depicting both Jews and people of color, in an attempt to persuade voters against voting for his Democratic opponent.

Perdue tweeted the campaign video on Friday morning, claiming that his runoff race against Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff was not just about him, but his responsibility to save the country from the individuals depicted in his video — an unmistakable dogwhistle.

“This race is about more than Jon @Ossoff and me,” Perdue, who faces Ossoff in a Jan. 5 runoff election, tweeted. “This is a battle for the future of our country. Democrats want to move America away from our founding principles and turn our country into a socialist state. Help @KLoeffler and me stop them.”

The video first depicts a masked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying, “Now we take Georgia, then we change America!” Ominous music underscores his words and vibrant orange text captions it.

Schumer is Jewish, and Perdue’s ad invokes a common antisemitic trope of cabals of rich and powerful Jews secretly running America.

Next, the video cuts to Perdue’s Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff, who says, “Change has come to Georgia — change is coming to America!” Ossoff is also Jewish.

It quickly shifts to Stacey Abrams, a Black Democratic voting rights activist and former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives.

“We change Georgia, we change the South,” Abrams says in the video. “We change the South, we change America. The thing of it is, the blue wave is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented.”

The clip appeared to bolster Perdue’s racist and fearmongering messaging against immigrant populations, a common theme often pushed by white nationalist groups.

Next, it zeroes in on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent.

“(We have) to make sure that we don’t have a Republican Senate majority,” she says in the clip. “In these races in Georgia, that we secure a Democratic, a Senate majority so that we don’t have to negotiate …”

Perdue’s ad cuts her off there.

A somber voiceover says: “No negotiation, total Democratic control. That’s their goal.”

A collage of images of images flickers across the screen, this time of Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s Democratic challenger Rev. Rafael Warnock, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ossoff, and Ocasio-Cortez — once again, all Jewish or people of color.

It then lists a number of supposed goals supported by Perdue’s political opponents: increasing taxes, defunding the police, and passing the Green New Deal. It claims they want to “open the borders,” “give voting rights to illegal immigrants,” eliminate private health insurance, cut the military budget, make Washington, D.C., a state, and “pack the Supreme Court.”

“If they’re in charge, America will never be the same,” the voiceover declares. “Believe them when they tell you what they’re going to do. Stop them before it’s too late. Save America. Donate now.”

Perdue’s fearmongering about opening the border and granting voting rights to “illegal immigrants” — and the threat he claims this poses to the American way of life — is a classic racist dogwhistle employed by Republican lawmakers.

And his scapegoating of Jewish Democrats and Democrats of color, suggesting they are a threat to America, is both antisemitic and racist.

Perdue’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the campaign ad.

This isn’t the first time Perdue has come under fire for invoking racist and antisemitic tropes.

In July, he featured a campaign ad that edited Ossoff’s nose to make it appear more elongated. Portraying Jews with large noses is an antisemitic trope with a long history that goes back hundreds of years.

Perdue later took down the ad after public outcry.

Just three months later, at an October Trump rally in Macon Georgia, he purposefully mispronounced Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ name in an overt display of racism.

“The most insidious thing that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are trying to perpetuate, and Bernie [Sanders] and Elizabeth [Warren] and Kamala — Kah-ma-la, or Kah-mah-la, or Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever,” Perdue said as Trump supporters laughed along.

Perdue’s latest ad also appears designed to distract from the various political scandals in which he’s currently embroiled.

According to a ProPublica report Friday, Perdue pushed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to provide a cushy tax break to sports owners, in a previously unpublished 2019 letter obtained by the outlet.

The Treasury declined, but had it not, the perk would have benefited some of Perdue’s top donors.

Owners of professional sports teams and clubs — including his fellow senator, Kelly Loeffler, co-owner of Atlanta’s WNBA team — have donated some $425,000 dollars to his current campaign.

And on Wednesday, more allegations of insider trading surfaced in a Daily Beast report that claimed Perdue snagged “up to $190,000 worth of stock in BWX Technologies, a company he had never invested in before” just before taking over as chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower.

In that role, Perdue helped shape the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which that year included “$4.7 billion for Virginia-class submarines.”

As the Daily Beast noted, “BWX is one of two to three vendors with Pentagon contracts to design and make key parts for Virginia-class submarines, including nuclear reactors that power them and the systems that launch missiles from the submarines.”

Perdue has faced several previous allegations of insider trading as well.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in late January, Perdue bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock in a company that manufactures personal protective equipment, such as the kind used by front line workers fighting the pandemic, on the same day he attended a private Senate briefing on the crisis.

“He also continued to sell off shares of Caesar Entertainment, the casino company whose properties were shuttered as the virus spread,” the outlet reported. “On March 26 the senator invested up to $50,000 in streaming provider Netflix, which has seen a surge in traffic as people stay home.”

Perdue has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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