Catherine Hanaway released a campaign ad on Friday blaming unrest in Ferguson and student protests at the University of Missouri for crime spiraling "out of control" in the Show Me State.
"Riots in Ferguson, lawlessness at Mizzou, murder rates climbing," the voiceover narrator says at the beginning of the video. "Our next governor must make Missouri safe and strong."
Hanaway goes on to claim that "crime is out of control" and a crackdown on lawlessness is the solution.
"I prosecuted 4,000 crimes," she says. "I'll strengthen community policing to protect citizens and police, support the right to carry a firearm and harsher penalties for shooting a police officer."
Watch the video here:
Hanaway conveniently declines to mention the reasons for the aforementioned protests. Specifically, that an endemically racist police department in Ferguson harassed and treated black citizens like cash machines for years before Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in 2014. And that the University of Missouri system's lackluster response to racism at its Columbia campus led to the student hunger strike and ouster of its president, Tim Wolfe.
Not to mention Hanaway's plan is to solve Missouri's problems by throwing more people in jail — contributing to America's already devastating mass incarceration epidemic.
But who cares, right? This is a political campaign after all. Context, moderation and racial literacy are incidental when you're trying to get elected, as evidenced by other campaigns that have similarly exploited sentiment — positive or negative — generated by the Black Lives Matter protest movement.
In March, for example, an ad for Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) boasted of condemning protests against police violence and advocating for more protection for officers:
And in April, prosecutor Steve Zappala used footage of unarmed black man Walter Scott being shot as part of a controversial bid to garner votes for his run at attorney general of Pennsylvania:
Needless to say, this did not go well for Zappala.
Politicians and pundits elsewhere have also cited the "Ferguson Effect" for recent crime spikes — the idea that protests against police violence have made police more afraid to do their jobs and emboldened criminals. This dubious theory has been widely disputed.
This is why we can't have nice things.