In the days since Massachusetts’s senate candidates last debated, there have been controversial videos and swift advertisements. And the issue that has dominated the past few days has been ethnicity, unfortunately.
It all started with Scott Brown, the Republican candidate, attacking his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren at their first debate: “Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color. And as you can see, she’s not.” The senator claimed that his opponent “checked the box” on job applications saying she was a Native American in order to get ahead. He said she lied about her heritage to get a job, because obviously she’s not Native American with that skin color. Brown can identify someone’s background by just looking at their skin, apparently. If that wasn’t enough to cause an uproar, this video is:
In the video, you can see many of Scott Brown’s staffers including his Deputy Chief of Staff, performing fake Indian war whoops and the “tomahawk chop.” These acts were meant to mock Elizabeth Warren’s heritage, something that should be completely deplorable. But, Scott Brown didn’t deplore his own staffers racial attacks. He did condemn them, only saying that if he were there he would have stopped them. Yet, in that same statement, he attacked his opponent’s heritage again. Elizabeth Warren released this advertisement as a response:
The democratic candidate’s most impactful line in the advertisement is, “Scott Brown can continue attacking my family, but I’m going to keep fighting for yours.” Warren is essentially taking the high road. She doesn’t want to focus on these offensive and irrelevant racial attacks by the other side, she wants to debate real topics.
Monday’s debate will be interesting. Scott Brown will have to be cautious with his attacks on Warren, as she can easily cite the offensive video that Brown will have no response to. If anyone’s going to bring up the “issue,” it’s not going to be Elizabeth Warren. Warren has made it clear that she wants to talk about the true issues including taxes, jobs, the environment, health care and women’s rights. While her opponent supports tax breaks for the “so-called wealthy” (in Brown’s own words), Warren is fighting for the middle class. Let’s hope the debate tomorrow is focused around real issues rather than an artificial issue presented by Scott Brown’s campaign. We'll see if there's civility.
Here is a schedule of the upcoming debates between the candidates: Sept. 20, hosted by WBZ-TV, Channel 4, the Boston CBS affiliate; Oct. 1, hosted by the University of Massachusetts-Lowell; Oct. 10, hosted at Springfield's Symphony Hall and broadcast live on several media outlets, including CBS-3 Springfield, ABC-40/Fox6, and on WFCR 88.5 FM; and Oct. 30, hosted by a Boston media consortium.
PolicyMic will be live blogging each debate, be sure to tune in for real-time coverage and analysis here!