Des Moines Register Deems Kim Reynolds Ad ‘Dehumanizing,’ ‘Racist,’ and ‘Indefensible’

The Des Moines Register, by circulation the largest newspaper in Iowa, denounced Governor Kim Reynolds for an ad produced by her re-election campaign in an editorial published earlier this week, calling it “dehumanizing,” “racist,” and “indefensible.”

Reynolds’s ad opens with Representative Cori Bush (D., Mo.) declaring in an interview that “defunding the police has to happen.” The incumbent Republican governor then pauses her television, lamenting that “watching the news, you wonder: Has the rest of the country lost its mind?” She goes on to decry “attacks on police,” “paying people not to work,” and “open borders.”

“Aren’t you glad you live in Iowa?” asks Reynolds before submitting that “here, we still have common sense” and touting her administration’s tax cuts, support for law enforcement, and commitment to keeping schools and businesses open during the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s it.

The Register opens its critique of the ad by accusing Reynolds of telling “people who look different from most Iowans that, at best, they are indeed different and, even worse, inferior.” To support that claim, the editorial cites the ad’s reference to “open borders,” which the editorial board deems unsurprising, given that Reynolds has allegedly “repeatedly made demonizing remarks about immigrants.”

To evidence that, the paper cited an instance in which a college student was murdered by an illegal immigrant and Reynolds responded by declaring that “we are angry that a broken immigration system allowed a predator like this to live in our community.” The Register complains that Reynolds’s statement implied that  “no longtime Iowan has ever been a predator,” although it did no such thing.

Its editorial board also takes issue with Bush’s inclusion — although she has been one of the country’s most prominent and outspoken advocates of withholding resources from law enforcement — arguing that it’s meant to trick Iowans into thinking Reynolds’s opponent, Deidre DeJear, holds that position. And yet, Bush’s name appears in the ad and the incumbent governor explicitly references “the rest of the country” in her critique of the congresswoman’s argument.

Finally, the editorial attacks Reynolds for a lack of substance, remarking that “it’s as though she [Reynolds]”  believes that insanity is “the only plausible justification” for supporting defunding the police. The Register makes no affirmative case for the position in its nearly 900 word editorial lambasting Reynolds’s 30-second ad. A survey conducted by Pew Research last year shows that just 15 percent of Americans agree with Bush, while 47 percent support more spending on law enforcement.

Reynolds, whom the editorial charges with having adopted “Donald Trump’s brand of demagoguery,” leads DeJear by somewhere between 8 and 17 points, according to the surveys included in FiveThirtyEight’s polling average of the race.

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