As forecasted, the 2020 election cycle is a raging dumpster fire, but this Republican congressional political ad is the Holy Grail of Cringe.
Released in September, the spot by Houston U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw includes five other conservative candidates for Congress, including Dallas’ Genevieve Collins and Beth Van Duyne. To say the 4-minute Mission Impossible-style spot is over-the-top would be the understatement of the millennium.
But Wednesday, the progressive super PAC-funded American Ledger reported that the overtly pro-America ad features foreign stock film footage, including an Israeli military helicopter and a Russian warship.
This isn’t the first time that a conservative candidate has used foreign stock footage to float an American political campaign, according to American Ledger. This year, President Donald Trump’s camp used Russian jets for a Sept. 11 remembrance ad. Before that, it aired clips from Ukraine, Russia, Thailand and Spain at the Republican National Convention.
In addition, American Ledger claims that a pro-Trump super PAC featured a Hungarian factory in an ad attacking his Democratic opponent’s economic plans. It also used Russian and Belarusian actors for a spot about taxes, according to the article.
At the beginning of the ad, called "Texas Reloaded," Crenshaw pensively stares out the window in his "command center" while sipping coffee. Suddenly, the black-clad congressman rips open an envelope labeled “TOP SECRET” and drops a smartphone in his hand.
Crenshaw, who lost his eye while serving in Afghanistan, then removes his eyepatch so that a beam of light can shoot from his socket to unlock the contents of the phone. A holographic map of Texas appears, along with a disembodied voice that delivers Crenshaw the following message.
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to save Texas,” says the female narrator, who is inexplicably British. “To do so, you must recruit an exceptional team of congressional candidates. They must be courageous, patriotic, and absolutely fearless. Time is of the essence. The nation’s future is dependent upon your success.”
Crenshaw's recruits include Van Duyne and Collins, plus Republicans Wesley Hunt (TX-7), Austin Pfluger (TX-11) and Tony Gonzales (TX-23).
From there, Crenshaw parachutes out of a plane to recruit the other congressional candidates, two of whom just so happen to be hanging around a military hangar. There are explosions, there are American flags, and there’s Genevieve Collins wrestling a random dude.
For the grand finale, the six conservatives strut down an airport runway with helicopters whirring by and a bomb booming in the background.
As John Oliver would say, “Cool.”
Collins is running against Democratic incumbent Colin Allred for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, which includes Dallas, Mesquite, Highland Park and Garland. Van Duyne is gunning for the 24th District, which covers the Dallas-Tarrant county line, against Democrat Candace Valenzuela. All but one of the featured candidates are in competitive races, which the American Ledger attributes to Trump’s low statewide approval rating.
Collins is likely to lose her race to the incumbent, according to non-partisan newsletter The Cook Political Report. Van Duyne has more of a shot in Texas’ 24th, which is an open seat.
If Crenshaw's ad is an indicator of what's to come, let's hope the candidates abort their mission.
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