*The new rap radio ad from Dr. Ben Carson comes across as a way to attract the black vote, but for some it looks to throw a strategic smokescreen up against controversial remarks he’s made.
“As a direct way to win votes in GOP primaries, the ad makes no sense. Young black voters make up an infinitesimal share of the GOP primary electorate,” Jack Pitney, a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College in California, wrote in an e-mail to The Christian Science Monitor while voicing that more likely, “the ad is … a way of generating talk about Carson that does not focus on his many gaffes or his strident positions on social issues.”
The speculation comes amid the release of “Freedom,” a 60-second political ad that features hip-hop artist Aspiring Mogul encouraging listeners to “vote, vote,” between snippets of a stump speech from Carson.
Although the retired neurosurgeon currently tops major polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, he has made a series of controversial comments that have raised eyebrows and created a growing rift between him and the black community. Those comments include comparing President Barack Obama to a psychopath, calling the Affordable Care Act the worst thing “since slavery,” and declaring that homosexuality is a choice.
The Monitor mentioned that Carson’s standing in the polls largely stems from the support of white, rural communities and evangelical Christians, who relate to his emphasis on morality and family. Nevertheless, Henry Olsen, a conservative political analyst, tells the news outlet that the ad has potential to win over black voters in states where they don’t need to align with a particular party.
According to the publication, the “Freedom” ad is set to run today, Friday (Nov. 6) in eight urban radio markets, including Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, and Memphis, Tenn.
“[A]ll Southern states except Florida, Kentucky, and North Carolina have no partisan registration,” Mr. Olsen writes in an email to the news outlet. “Thus, if Carson can persuade some blacks to cross over for him he’s effectively expanding the GOP voter pool in ways his rivals cannot.”
Describing the ad, Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts labeled it as an effort to reach out to young black voters “on a level they appreciate and follow.”
While this may be true, the rap ad, looks to include elements of the things that have resonated with many of Carson’s supporters.
“[I]f you listen to the message of the ad, it specifically cites the values of personal responsibility, hard work, and innovation. That’s entirely consistent with his broader message regarding the keys to his own success, and what he believes is the best way to attack racism,” Matthew Dickinson, a political science professor at Vermont’s Middlebury College, writes in an e-mail to the Monitor.
Lisen below to Ben Carson’s rap (radio) ad: