Republican Candidates Are Now Filming Their Campaign Ads In Swamps

It’s the new fire-a-gun-at-a-symbol-of-something-you-don’t-like. Welcome to 2018.

Stovall for Congress/YouTube

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Say you’re an aspiring Republican politician in the Trump era trying to demonstrate your loyalty to the president and his followers. What do you do? Here’s what you do: You put on a pair of waders and stand waist-deep in murky water to show your commitment to helping President Donald Trump drain the swamp.

Bexar County Republican chairman Robert Stovall, who is seeking to replace retiring Texas Republican Lamar Smith in Congress, is the first 2018 GOP candidate to take the plunge:

Stovall in fact appears to be standing in a river that just has some algae in it, rather than an actual swamp. Ecological accuracy is not a recurring feature in these ads.

The swamp metaphor was a dominant theme in Republican primaries for special congressional elections in 2017. In the Alabama Senate race, Rep. Mo Brooks embarked on a 23-stop “Drain the Swamp” bus tour; interim Sen. Luther Strange ran an ad titled, “Drain the Swamp“; and Roy Moore’s final campaign event was called the “Drain the Swamp Rally.”

Here’s now-Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kans.), who last year won a surprisingly tight special election in April to replace the current CIA director, Mike Pompeo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HMh_BIpunM

Estes’ ad raised more questions than it answered, such as, “Why is there an alligator in Kansas?” 

And also, “Wait, what happened to all the algae?” 

But in a race as close as his, that extra flourish might have made all the difference. Patient Zero of the standing-in-waders-trying-to-drain-the-swamp explosion was Bob Gray, who last year waged an unsuccessful campaign for the GOP nomination in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. Gray lost to now-Rep. Karen Handel, but he remains the only candidate pledging to drain the swamp who has made a physical effort to drain the swamp as he was standing in it:

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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