In the final lead-up to Election Day in Georgia’s two ongoing U.S. Senate races, the campaign of incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler ran a Facebook ad in which they artificially darkened the skin tone of Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock, who is Black. Coupled with Loeffler’s relentless insistence on characterizing Warnock as some kind of dangerous “agent of change” who’s out of touch with legitimate Georgians — or whatever — the issue is clear: Loeffler is running a racist campaign against Warnock, no matter any stated intentions from the Senator or her campaign. Darkening Warnock’s skin tone while characterizing him as dangerous and threatening relies on obvious racist tropes.
Loeffler’s campaign ran the Facebook ad in which they darkened Warnock’s skin tone last week. They used some of the same images of the candidate for other advertising, but they promoted the doctored images much more heavily. The Loeffler campaign spent between $40,000 and $45,000 promoting an ad called “Beyond Radical Raphael,” which contained the doctored images, while spending just between $3,000 and $3,500 on an ad that did not darken Warnock’s skin tone.
Check out the images below — the image with text in view is the one in which the Loeffler campaign darkened Warnock’s appearance, while the other image is from the other ad, in which the campaign did not doctor the footage.
The ad that features the doctored footage insisted that Warnock “isn’t just radical — he’s dangerous.” Characterizing Black people as “dangerous” is an obviously racist trope. Warnock campaign spokesperson Terrence Clark commented to Salon as follows:
‘Given that Kelly Loeffler has run the single most negative campaign in Georgia history, there is no level she could stoop to that would surprise us.’
Loeffler has insisted on relentlessly characterizing Warnock as “radical” and out-of-touch with everyday Georgians, although he’s originally from the state and currently serves as senior pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the late Martin Luther King Jr. once served. Loeffler has announced her support for a Republican effort to object to the certification of Joe Biden’s win when Congress meets to confirm the electoral college numbers on Wednesday, an effort that essentially amounts to an attempt to disenfranchise millions of Black voters, including people across Georgia. In the name of their delusional anti-democratic crusade, Loeffler and other Republicans are trying to disqualify millions of documented votes.