Rich Anderson’s Dog-Whistle Racism [Election Update]

This is part of a series of posts on Delegate Rich Anderson, who is up for re-election in District 51. Read the other posts in this series:

If you haven’t been living under a rock in the last few months, you know that incidents of aggressive racism in Virginia have increased—from Nazi rallies in Charlottesville to Republican candidate for Governor Ed Gillespie’s racist campaign ads.

Anderson Joins Ed Gillespie in Sending Implicitly Racist Mailers

Now, our Delegate, Rich Anderson, is joining in. He sent several mailers to his constituents claiming that his opponent’s (Hala Ayala, a Latina woman) support for restoring the voting rights of returning citizens (people who have served their time for past mistakes and have rejoined their communities) equates to supporting a violent criminals committing more crimes. That is what we call dog-whistle politics, Rich.

While, to some, he is simply relaying a “tough on crime” message, a closer look at his use of the words “thug” and “gang members” shows that he is using oft-used code words to refer to specific groups in in an effort to stoke racial fears.

Everyone deserves to have a voice in their community, regardless of the mistakes they have made in the past. When someone has served their time for crimes committed and returned to society, their rights should be fully restored so they can focus on bettering themselves and becoming a full member of their community. But that’s not possible if they don’t have a voice in the elections that affect them and their community. That’s why voting rights are a fundamental part of our civil rights. Just as women fought for that right in the early 20th century, returning citizens are fighting for it now.  

Just as women fought for the right to vote in the early 20th century, returning citizens are fighting for it now.  

Rich Anderson, however, would have you believe that every single returning citizen is someone who can and will harm you and your family. The purpose of these mailers is clear: to instill fear and create divisions between “white good people” and “people of color bad people.”  Anderson hopes that if he highlights these divisions and how “scary” the world will be if his opponent is elected, you’ll vote for him to protect yourself.

We Won’t Stand for Racial Attacks, No Matter How Coded

Donald Trump, Ed Gillespie, and now Rich Anderson are using these dog-whistle attacks to divide communities and win elections. But here in Virginia, we are smarter than that. We won’t fall for these manipulative tricks and hand the elections to fear-mongering white men who stoke racial fears and divisions for their own gain.

When I go to vote on November 7, I’ll certainly be voting for someone who will represent all of the members of my community, not just the ones Rich Anderson happens to like.

[bctt tweet=”On Nov 7, I’ll vote for someone who will represent all of the members of my community.” username=”ProgressVA”]