- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Republican U.S. House member running for re-election in Arkansas criticized on Thursday an outside group’s ad that caused political jaws on Twitter to drop to the floor.

The ad, paid for the group Black Americans for the President’s Agenda, is playing on Arkansas radio stations with a heavily black audience and urges listeners to vote for “our Congressman French Hill and the Republicans.”

In it, two black women in stereotypical “dishing at the beauty shop” voices warn that the confirmation hearings of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh showed that “white Democrats” want to bring back “the bad old days” of lynching black men over perceived or non-existent sexual improprieties with white women.

“Some may have heard an appalling ad on the radio. I condemn this outrageous ad in the strongest terms. I do not support that message, and there is no place in Arkansas for this nonsense,” Mr. Hill, the incumbent Republican in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District, wrote on Twitter.

In the clip posted on Twitter, one of the black women says that Republicans “know that it’s dangerous to change the presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt, especially for black men.”

She warns that “if the Democrats can do that to a white justice of the Supreme Court with no evidence, no corroboration [and a weak case] what will happen to our husbands, our fathers, our sons when a white girl lies on them.”

A second black woman replies, “girl, white Democrats will be lynching black folks again” and later in the ad repeats the warnings of “lynchings when a white girl screams rape.”

Throughout the Jim Crow era, when the South was a one-party Democratic stronghold, a white woman’s uncorroborated word was enough to get black a man imprisoned, at best. False charges animate such real-life and fictional cases as the Scottsboro Boys and “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Mr. Hill’s repudiation of the ad, and its preying on centuries-old fears among Southern blacks, was unsurprising and one Republican pollster suggested on Twitter it might be an agent provocateur.

“Well, this would be one of the more unfortunate side effects of running in the Super PAC political world - having some group you have no affiliation with try and torpedo your campaign,” Robert Blizzard said.

According to OpenSecrets.org, Black Americans for the President’s Agenda is a group that just got up and running this election cycle. It has given no money to federal candidates and taken in less than $150,000.

Its treasurer is listed as Vernon Robinson, a former city council member in Winston Salem, North Carolina, who also played a role in the “draft Ben Carson” movement in 2016.

Earlier this summer, Mr. Robinson repudiated the Republican Party and changed his registration to the Constitution Party, saying “all of the Democrats and 90 percent of the Republicans in office betray their oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.”

Arkansas’s 2nd District is a 75 percent white district that includes the state capital, Little Rock, and much of the central part of the state. Mr. French comfortably won election in 2016 with 58 percent of the vote, outperforming President Trump, who carried the district with 52 percent of the vote over Hillary Clinton’s 42 percent.

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