Tying Ed Gillespie to racist groups is completely justified, no matter what the local editorial board says

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

An editorial from the Richmond Times-Dispatch criticized Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and the state Democratic Party for a new ad correctly linking Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie to racist groups.

Earlier this week, Northam’s campaign sent a mailer to Virginians linking Gillespie to the white nationalists who engaged in a violent protest in Charlottesville, VA, in August. The text on the ads urged voters to “stand up to hate.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board criticized the mailer, writing that linking Gillespie to these groups is not just “a reach” but “it’s practically libel” and saying it requires voters to follow “absurd logic.” From the October 25 editorial:

Virginia Democrats seem intent on proving that two can play at that game. They have distributed a mailer of their own, seeking to tie Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie to the white nationalists who rampaged through Charlottesville in August.

That isn’t merely a reach. It’s practically libel.

Gillespie has repeatedly and passionately condemned white supremacists and other creatures that have crawled out from under the alt-right rock. Linking him to them requires the following absurd logic: (1) Donald Trump said some stupid things about Charlottesville. (2) Trump is a Republican. (3) Gillespie is a Republican. (4) Therefore, Gillespie supports racial hate.

But the logic behind Northam’s mailer is completely sound as, during his campaign, Gillespie has been dog-whistling and even openly pandering to racist groups.

Following another white supremacist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month, Gillespie waited 24 hours before responding with a tepid statement condemning the protests. But he happens to agree with these racists on one of their top demands -- keeping confederate monuments and statues in place. Gillespie also recently hired Jack Morgan, a former campaign staffer for President Donald Trump, whom The Washington Post editorial board characterized as “a blowhard who says America is headed for a civil war and that the movement to take down Confederate monuments is a communist plot to subvert the nation.”

Additionally, Gillespie has been running misleading anti-immigrant ads for weeks in an attempt to link Northam to the rise of violent gangs.

Gillespie has been running a campaign centered on hate, so it’s only fair to link him to that message.