The 36th district of California needs a new representative in Congress. Long-time representative Jane Harman retired from Congress about two months ago to accept a new position at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Well, that set up a special election to fill her seat which is probably one of the weirdest races I’ve ever seen.
First, under a new California law, all candidates will participate in the primary on May 17th. The top 2 finishers, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election. Most experts believe a Democrat will represent the district so the primary will likely determine which two Democrats the people of the 36th will have to choose between.
Enter Dan Adler. He comes from a non-political background, but has been active in many area non-profits. He also worked as a senior executive at Disney. So far, so normal. His father survived Auschwitz and his campaign manager is Sean Astin (you know, “Mr. Frodo,” from Lord of the Rings). Even that is normal compared to these campaign ads though.
So, this ad, named “Stick Together,” has gained international attention. It’s vaguely racist and just weird, which obviously draws everyone to it and made it go viral. Pretty slick marketing, if that was by design. The ad begins with an Asian man saying that Asian people are 15 percent of the population in the distict. Jump to a laundromat and a Korean woman with a heavy accent. Adler says many people in the district have issues, at which point the woman randomly jumps in and says “I’m Korean” for no conceivable reason. Adler then has the most awkward laugh ever to emerge from a politician’s mouth. The woman than says, “You’re Jewish. We minorities must stick together.” Then, the ad closes with a crowd people saying “send a mensch to Congress.” Weird.
Another weird ad comes from actress Patty Duke. She appears on the legendary muscle beach to let everyone know that Adler “gets shit done.” Man in bikinis, what else could you want? Adler looks really weird flexing his muscles in a suit and helping Duke lift the weights. (Other celebrity fans include Macy Gray.)
Then, there’s this ad with Adler’s son. He plays basketball and proudly proclaims that his dad “gets shit done.” Nice slogan, young man.