Vinny Minchillo had seen enough.
"Everyone talks about civil discourse, but when we talk to each other, especially on social media, there's no civil discourse," he says. "It's really, really funny. It's become OK to talk about Republicans in the most horrible terms possible. In the '80s and '90s on TV shows, the bad guys were always Russians. Now the bad guys are all Republicans."
Minchillo, who's worked for a number of Republican campaigns including Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid, decided to challenge preconceptions about members of the GOP, and maybe change a few minds, with a campaign called "Republicans Are People Too."
"I thought we should do something about and just get people to realize that, hey, 'Republicans walk among us,'" he says. "We're regular folks just like everybody else, we're not hovering over a boiling cauldron throwing in locks of Ronald Reagan's hair, we're regular people."
Commenters on social media have questioned whether the video and its accompanying Facebook and Twitter feeds are serious. Minchillo says they are.
"It is serious, but that doesn't mean we don't have a realistic look in the mirror. We decided when we got into this that we weren't going to delete comments that are negative. If stuff is reasonably appropriate, we're going to retweet it," he says.
Minchillo and his ad firm, Glass House Strategy, are sitting out the midterm elections, which, Minchillo says, has given them the opportunity to do something lighthearted.
If the Republicans Are People Too campaign is successful, Minchillo says jokingly that it will allow people to be, and admit to being, a Republican in public and, more seriously, that it will help register voters. He also said he'd welcome a Democratic equivalent, perhaps showing Democrats at a gun show, because "Democrats like guns too."
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