The ‘Daisy’ political ad can’t hold a candle to this latest exercise in emotional rape

The ‘Daisy’ political ad can’t hold a candle to this latest exercise in emotional rape
Image: YouTube screen grab

In 2016, Smithsonian magazine ran an article titled “How the ‘Daisy’ Ad Changed Everything About Political Advertising.” The reference was to a famous (and infamous) 60-second TV spot that ran during the 1964 presidential campaign season.

The ad opened with the image of a sweet, innocent young child plucking petals from a daisy. That scene gave was to a mission-control countdown followed by a massive nuclear explosion that obliterated everything.

Notes the article’s author, Robert Man:

The message was clear if only implicit: Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was a genocidal maniac who threatened the world’s future. Two months later, President Lyndon Johnson won easily, and the emotional political attack ad — visceral, terrifying, and risky — was made.

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Mann goes on the whitewash this sinister piece of propaganda by specifying that it ran only once and never mentions Goldwater by name. Besides, he goes on to rationalize, LBJ had a commanding lead by the time the ad ran, so what difference — to paraphrase another presidential candidate — could it possibly make?

With the debate over the “Daisy” ad fresh in your mind, have a look at a new ad put out by a group called Latino Victory, and see if you don’t agree that it eclipses the “Daisy” ad and just about any other political ad ever run.

Like “Daisy,” this exercise in emotional rape exploits innocent young children terrorized by an imagined evil that takes a very tangible form. Like “Daisy,” the ad is intended to promote a Democratic candidate, in this case Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Ralph Northam, by smearing his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie.

Rather than tell you what the ad depicts, I suggest you watch it. I can’t say it’s an entertaining minute. But it sure is an instructive one. And not in the way Latino Victory intended.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to "Liberty Unyielding."