HomeAsian AmericansDemocratic frontrunner in Ohio Senate race accused of anti-AAPI rhetoric

Democratic frontrunner in Ohio Senate race accused of anti-AAPI rhetoric

Asian American political groups are condemning an anti-China commercial put out by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) for his race for U.S. Senate.

The ad has been described as “sinophobic” by Run AAPI, a non-profit engaging young Asian American and Pacific Islanders to vote, and as “inflammatory” by the AAPI Victory Fund, a progressive Political Action Committee.

The spot is part of a $3.3 million ad buy purchased by Ryan in the run-up to the May primary. In his first ad, Ryan laments that China is outdoing the U.S. in the manufacturing sector.

“America can never be dependent on Communist China. It is time for us to fight back,” Ryan says.

“Representative Tim Ryan’s ad buy was tone-deaf, callous, and destructive towards the AAPI community,” said Run AAPI in a statement sent to AsAmNews. “Not only is our community still healing from the effects of anti-AAPI hate crimes exacerbated by the xenophobic behavior of the previous administration, but now we are dealing with the damage that Rep. Ryan’s video will have on the sentiment surrounding the AAPI community.”

Analysts say the ad is geared toward blue-collar workers, particularly in the manufacturing sector, who have lost jobs in companies outsourcing their labor to China, reported The Hill.

The language used is the type that is normally used by Republican candidates, according to Cleveland.com. Ryan is considered the frontrunner in the Democratic primary and the ad seems to be geared toward the general election.

“Rep. Tim Ryan’s ad for his Ohio Senate campaign stirs up a racist pedagogy vis-à-vis China and makes Americans of East Asian descent vulnerable to attack,” said Shekar Narasimhan, founder and chairman of the AAPI Victory Fund. “That may not be what Rep. Ryan intended but, as he seeks higher office, his words have added meaning. To get AAPI votes, we must fight ignorance with education and good policy and governance, not inflammatory rhetoric.”

The AAPI Victory Alliance has a history of endorsing Democratic candidates, so the condemnation of Ryan’s ad did not come lightly.

Run AAPI called for Ryan and the Democrats who work with him to “do better” and to realize “the weight and power of their words.”

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