Most political campaign ads are low-budget, hokey and jam-packed with heavy-handed symbolism. This makes many of them cringe-inducing, but it also means they serve as neat summaries of the top-line ideas pervading a political party or faction.
The ad is clearly meant to present Fiore as a Trump-loving, hardline conservative, and in this it succeeds.
A new campaign ad from Republican Las Vegas City Councilwoman Michele Fiore, who announced her run for governor of Nevada on Tuesday, is a perfect example. The one-minute spot features awkward directing and brims with try-hard Trumpian irreverence. And in the process, it shows how utterly lacking in ideas Trump’s wing of the GOP is.
The ad is clearly meant to present Fiore as a Trump-loving, hard-line conservative, and in this it succeeds. A Ford pickup truck lurches to a halt in the Nevada desert, and Fiore steps out to tell us that she’s running for governor to continue her fight against the establishment.
“We need outsiders, fighters, not the same old boring, moderate, compromise blue-blazer politicians,” she says before toppling a television playing Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, giving a speech in Washington.
She then unholsters a pistol before unveiling her “three shot plan”: banning vaccine mandates, banning critical race theory and stopping voter fraud. She punctuates these points by shooting beer bottles (which apparently are all made by the beer company known as “socialism”). You have to see it to believe it — I recommend watching the video.
The only other idea consistent throughout the ad is Fiore's fondness for Trump. Her truck features a “Trump 2024” bumper sticker, and she boasts about being one of the first elected officials in America to support the former president.
As Republican candidates line up for the 2022 midterm elections, Fiore’s ad distills the key themes surrounding the Trump wing of the GOP — and how shallow it is.
Until recently, critical race theory was a little-known academic term for the study of institutional racism, but right-wing culture warriors have falsely come to characterize CRT as any kind of curriculum that diverges from or questions right-wing narratives about American history. Oftentimes Republicans are waging this war in classrooms where nothing resembling critical race theory is being taught.
Voter fraud is another manufactured crisis. There is no evidence of serious voter fraud across the country. Instead, we know the right is using the myth of significant fraud to try to pass hundreds of laws across the country that simply make it harder to vote.
And regardless of where one stands on vaccine mandates — I am a huge advocate of getting vaccinated, and think company mandates are reasonable, given how safe the vaccines are, but I do understand discomfort and objections to them — the idea that they represent the foremost Covid-related policy concern right now is remarkable. As Fiore should well know, the pandemic is still ravaging this country’s population, overwhelming its health system and dragging down our economy.
Strikingly, Fiore has nothing to say about the economy, foreign policy, public health, climate change or any number of other major issues with existential stakes in our society.
Strikingly, Fiore has nothing to say about the economy, foreign policy, public health, climate change or any number of other major issues with existential stakes in our society. Instead what we get is a narrowly focused culture war.
But perhaps more than anything Fiore conveys a disconcerting militance: Her use of guns and her toppling of the image of a lawmaker echo the insurrectionist themes of Jan. 6, a day that Trump has celebrated. Fiore might not have many ideas about how to solve society’s problems — but solving society’s problems is not this movement’s concern.