- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 2, 2014

Campaign materials aimed at getting out the black vote are featuring references to lynchings, Jim Crow-era signs, racial unrest — and, as of last weekend, the Ku Klux Klan.

In Alabama, fliers distributed in largely black communities warn voters to cast ballots or else “land may be given to extremist groups to honor klansmen.” A copy of the flier was obtained by The Washington Times.

The specter of the KKK was raised as the latest example of the increase in racially charged scare tactics aimed at bolstering turnout in the black community, a traditional Democratic voting bloc that strategists view as key to winning razor-thin races in an otherwise Republican year.

Conservatives view the tactic with disgust. They argue that such race-baiting is condescending and assumes black voters are concerned solely with racism and not, for example, economic and foreign policy concerns.

“Democratic race-baiting is the ugly face of political desperation in 2014,” said a Sunday headline on the conservative website RedState.

On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, Maryland Democrat, “Senator, aren’t Democrats playing the race card and playing it from the bottom of the deck?”

Mr. Cardin responded by criticizing Republicans for “efforts to depress the minority vote.”

“That should have no place in American politics. And we’re starting to see that again in some of these races,” he said.

In North Carolina, Republicans were outraged when the Senate Majority PAC began airing a radio ad last week linking Senate candidate Thom Tillis to the 2012 shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Tillis even led the effort to pass the type of Stand Your Ground laws that caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin,” said the ad, which PolitiFact rated as “false.” Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was never brought up at George Zimmerman’s trial.

The conservative group American Commitment fired back with a radio ad denouncing the Senate Majority PAC spot, calling it, “a race-hustling Kay Hagan ad paid for by Harry Reid’s super PAC.”

Ms. Hagan, the Democratic incumbent, is locked in a tight contest with Mr. Tillis.

“Desperate to hold on to power, [President] Obama, Reid and Hagan are shamelessly race baiting, and it’s only going to get worse in the final weekend,” says the American Commitment spot. “Why? Because Obama and Reid fear Thom Tillis in Washington.”

Mr. Cardin insisted that the race “has been run on the issues, and I think Kay Hagan and the Democrats are proud of the way that race has been run.”

Ms. Hagan was also the beneficiary of what may be the campaign season’s most incendiary flier, which shows an old photograph of a white mob surrounding a black man hanged in the background with the message, “Kay Hagan Doesn’t WIN! Obama’s IMPEACHMENT Will Begin! Vote in 2014.”