Former wrestling tycoon and newly Republican party-endorsed US Senate candidate Linda McMahon has an impressive website, TV and radio commercials running as well as a stated willingness to spend tens of millions on her Senate bid. But a review of her TV ads, including those running now, shows that there are no people of color anywhere to be found. Two testimonial ads, entitled “Enough is Enough” and “Real,” show “ordinary people” extolling McMahon’s positive qualities. Not one black person, not one Hispanic, not one Asian are among those talking up McMahon.
In an earlier TV ad, “Revolving Doors,” McMahon hits a red button that stops a revolving door made to represent business as usual in Washington, DC. Six people are trapped in the doors. Not one black person, not one Hispanic, not one Asian is in the commercial. The lack of diversity in McMahon’s TV commercials could be explained as just an oversight; after all, only three ads are cited. However, a review of her website strengthens the perception that there is a problem here.
McMahon’s snazzy, interactive website has a feature called “Photostream.” It is a compilation of photos from McMahon’s appearances around the state including meet and greets, Republican town committee meetings, debates, and special events like the Durham Fair, the Shad Derby and the Hartford Marathon. In all, there are 51 sets of photos for a total of more than 200 pictures a visitor to the site can view. Of these, there are only two minorities pictured; three if you count the guy in the stock art photo for the website’s “welcome” page.
McMahon has a well-oiled and tremendously well-financed campaign. Coming off a victory at the GOP state nominating convention, McMahon looks to be in fine position to move toward the primary in August and possibly the general election in November. Her campaign can afford the best “operation research” or dirt-diggers money can buy, spent last week leaking information to the New York Times that battered potential rival Richard Blumenthal about his embellishments of his military record.
One would think that having access to the best professional campaign people would mean all voting demographics would be covered. They’re not. McMahon should have to answer for spending millions to appeal to the country club set to the detriment of diversity. According to the Census Bureau’s latest numbers, racial minorities comprised nearly 28% of Connecticut’s population. McMahon’s campaign imagery is nowhere near reflective of the state she wants to represent in the US Senate. There is no evidence that McMahon’s people purposely excluded minorities from the webpage. Yet if it occurred as a matter of course because of how they naturally operate, that’s even more troubling.