Not all elections in America are about Donald Trump.
But you might not know that from some of the season’s campaign ads.
Not all regional politics is about Bill de Blasio, but you might not know that either from certain other campaign ads.
Evoking locally unpopular, widely known incumbents of the other party to frighten voters to your side is nothing new, especially during Halloween week.
But this year, the trick seems to stand out all the more.
De Blasio, who’s widely expected to be re-elected in the city on Nov. 7, opens one 30-second spot with a short black-and-white video clip of Trump blustering from a podium.
“We’ve seen his way, using fear and hate as weapons,” says the voice-over, which happens to be delivered by mayoral spouse Chirlane McCray. “But here in New York, we’re showing the way forward.”
And on it goes to the windup.
“Right now, this is his,” she says over a still photo of the Oval Office. “But this is yours,” she concludes, with a multiracial montage of New York faces on the screen and the words, “This is Your City.”
In Nassau County, county executive candidate Laura Curran’s use of Democratic operatives who also served de Blasio drew denunciation from her GOP foe Jack Martins.
She's been pounding his past supporting role in the Senate majority when it was led by disgraced Long Island colleague Dean Skelos, whose felony conviction has been set aside on appeal. He is due to be retried next June.
To support the GOP trying to retain power after corruption scandals, a Martins campaign spokeswoman cited the de Blasio team overlap and corruption questions in the city.
“Nassau voters aren’t interested in becoming the sixth borough of New York City or having their county executive bought and sold by radical NYC special interests,” said spokeswoman Molly Fullington.
The tactic of guilty-by-party-association shows up everywhere.
In Westchester, Democrat George Latimer is trying to unseat Republican County Executive Rob Astorino. Over the weekend, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) campaigned for Latimer.
Schumer said, according to LoHud.com: “The eyes of America are on Westchester County. The best way to send a message to Donald Trump that he can’t go on like this is to elect George Latimer.”
In a similar vein, Sen. Bernie Sanders said at a campaign stop: “Everything that Mayor de Blasio is trying to do is exactly the opposite of what Donald Trump is trying to do. And you should be very proud of that.”
Making Trump a piñata has a flip side. Some Republican candidates are adopting 2016 Trumpian tactics to make headway in this year’s final stretch.
In New Jersey, Kim Guadagno, the GOP underdog to succeed Gov. Chris Christie, equates her Democratic opponent Phil Murphy’s support for “sanctuary cities” with support for immigrants in the country illegally who kill.
Along the same lines in Nassau, anti-Curran mailers feature a photo of tattooed, shirtless, thuggish males posing under the message “Meet Your New Neighbors!”
This uber-hyperbolic piece proclaims Curran to be “MS-13’s choice for county executive.”
It doesn’t go so far as to call Curran the “founder” of MS-13, though. Last year’s winning presidential candidate set a new bar for absurdity by calling his opponent a “founder of ISIS."
Replied Curran communications director Phil Shulman: “Jack Martins’ baseless line of attack is nothing more than an attempt to distract voters from his work to keep his mentor Dean Skelos in power after his arrest on federal corruption charges - and he knows it.”