Representative John Faso must think very little of his constituents in New York’s 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and the Catskill Mountains.
He’s counting on them to be bigots.
How else can we explain Mr. Faso’s contention that his Democratic challenger, Antonio Delgado, is unfit for office because he had a career as a rapper a decade ago?
“Mr. Delgado’s lyrics are offensive, troubling and inconsistent with the views of the people of the 19th District and America,” Mr. Faso, a Republican, said in a statement last week.
Mr. Faso, who has heartily embraced President Trump’s agenda, is having a hard time. He is fighting to hold on to one of the most vulnerable Republican seats in the country, facing a rising swell of Democratic momentum in a district that voted for Barack Obama twice but went to Donald Trump in 2016. A recent poll, commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this month, found Mr. Faso trailing Mr. Delgado by seven percentage points.
Mr. Delgado is a Harvard-educated lawyer and Rhodes scholar who was raised in upstate New York. In 2006, Mr. Delgado, under the stage name AD The Voice, released an album that tackled issues from poverty and inequality to racism and the war in Iraq. It also includes a not infrequent use of the N-word, something Mr. Delgado, who is black, has a right to use. He also released several singles.
Mr. Delgado is a strong candidate who has focused on preserving health care coverage, bringing more jobs to the region, protecting the environment and defending a woman’s right to choose. He has made an impressive case for being elected.
Mr. Faso, on the other hand, has abandoned any effort to explain how he’d serve constituents, instead hoping that his quisling behavior toward the president and a cynical campaign of race-baiting will be enough.
In another example, Mr. Faso came out in favor of stricter standards for food stamp recipients, because, he said, “virtually every drug dealer they arrest has got a food stamp card in his pocket.” He also ran digital ads promising to “keep MS-13 out of New York,” featuring an ominous-looking photo of tattooed Latino men.
Mr. Faso seems to feel more comfortable exploiting painful racial divisions than talking about his votes in Congress, like the one last year to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. That repeal would havejeopardized health care protections for his own constituents.
The congressman might also educate himself about rap, an American art form celebrated by millions of people around the world — and likely a large number of voters in his district.
He could start with one of his campaign opponent’s songs, “Draped in Flags,” in which Mr. Delgado said Americans who love their country have a duty to question their government.
“It’s what a patriot does in hard times,” Mr. Delgado rapped.
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