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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.”

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate