Tuesday is election day, and candidates and their campaigns up and down the ticket are scrambling to make one last get out the vote effort. Over the weekend, Donald Trump and his team made one such effort, in the form of an ominous two-minute advertisement narrated by the Republican presidential nominee himself.
The ad, titled “Donald Trump’s Argument For America,” casts doubt on the “failed and corrupt” political class, jabs an elbow at “disastrous trade deals,” and appears to carry anti-Semitic overtones that could appeal to some extremist followers who have been following his campaign with rapt attention, creating memes on 4chan and harassing journalists on Twitter with (((echoes))).
The three people who are highlighted in the ad (aside from the Clintons and Barack Obama) are George Soros, a Jewish financier; Janet Yellen, the Jewish head of the Federal Reserve; and Lloyd Blankfein, the Jewish chair of Goldman Sachs. The language recalls centuries-old themes from anti-Jewish propaganda. Corruption and control of the world’s financial markets is by far the most common smear against Jewish people and is used to this day to drum up fear in various electorates.
On Sunday morning, Minnesota senator Al Franken responded to the ad by telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that he views the ad as “something of a German shepherd whistle” to anti-Semitic Americans. “I’m Jewish, so maybe I’m sensitive to it,” he said. “But it clearly had sort of Elders of Zion kind of feel to it, international banking crisis — plot or conspiracy, rather, and then a number of Jews.”