An open letter signed by a coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders and organizations demands Democratic Senate candidate and Congressman Tim Ryan (D, OH-13) pull his recent “anti-China” political ad.
In the ad, titled “One Word,” Ohio Rep. Ryan repeatedly utters that “China is winning” and Ohio “workers are losing.” While emphasizing the need to invest in Ohio workers, he said, “It’s time to fight back. You are our greatest weapon in this fight.”
The letter, authored by coalition Asian Americans for Midwest Progressives, called the ad “dangerous and unacceptable” and warned it may end up costing him Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat.
It further accused the ad of stoking “fear and anger” and accused Ryan of “playing to right-wing nationalism and fanning anti-China hate.”
“Intentionally or not, this ad builds upon long-standing racist and demonizing narratives about people of Chinese and Asian descent, utilizing rhetoric more recently popularized by extremist right-wing Republicans to feed xenophobia in an attempt to mobilize voters out of fear,” the coalition pointed out. “By centering his campaign around this right-wing rhetoric, Rep. Ryan is signaling that he is unconcerned with fueling continued violence against AAPIs, and unconcerned with the root causes of the pressing issues facing Ohio workers.”
The letter also highlighted how the ad purportedly undermines Ryan’s previous expressions of support for the Stop Asian Hate movement and “makes AAPIs even more of a target.”
“We call on Rep. Ryan to pull the “One Word” ad and eliminate all future nationalist, fear mongering [sic] rhetoric from his campaign,” added the message. “We call on groups that have endorsed Representative Ryan for Senate to publicly oppose this ad, as well as the use of similar tactics by any other campaign or consulting firm that chooses to invoke fear and appeal to xenophobic hate.”
Ryan said in a statement earlier this month that he has spent his career “sounding the alarm on China.”
“Ohio workers are the best in the world, and I will never apologize for doing everything in my power to take on China and fight for all Ohioans,” he added.
Featured Image via Tim Ryan for Ohio