How Beagle Alvin Helped Democratic Senate Guide

The dog had a lot to do.

He co-starred in a political ad that had to show off the friendly warmth of the candidate. But the ad also tells white voters in Georgia that the onslaught of racialized attacks needs to be diverted without direct involvement, and that the black minister who led the Eveniza Baptist Church can also represent them. I needed to.

Of course, the Beagle dog Alvin couldn’t know that when he went for a walk with Rev. Raphael Warnock last fall, as the film crew was spending time with him in the suburbs of Atlanta.

Alban pulls Warnock in a puff vest for an ideal suburban walk (bright sunshine, picket fencing, American flag), and Warnock’s commercial pushes back Republican opponents in a recent Georgia Senate final vote. Appeared in some of.

Probably the most famous place, Democrat Warnock puts a plastic bag of Alvin’s dung in the trash can, likening it to the increasingly harsh advertising of his rivals. The Beagle barks in agreement, and when Mr. Warnock declares that “we” (he and Alvin) approve the message, the dog licks his beard healthy.

“The whole ad is screaming that whites are black candidates that shouldn’t be afraid,” said Akeem Jefferson, a professor of political science at Stanford University who studies race, stigma, and politics in the United States.

Mr. Warnock became the first black senator from Georgia after Democrats swept both senators’ seats on Wednesday. The victory of the twins provided a great boost to the Democratic rule of the Chamber of Commerce and the opportunity to set President Biden and his agenda.

While there is no single factor that could cause such a narrow victory, Mr. Warnock won with less than 100,000 of the approximately 4.5 million votes, and another new Democratic senator, John Osov, won with even fewer votes. beagle It played a major role in breaking through the turmoil in two contests that broke all Senate spending records.

“The puppy ad made people talk,” said Brian C. Robinson, a Georgia-based Republican strategist. “They humanized him, making it harder to make him a caricature.”

By the end of the campaign, Warnock’s aides had a dog reference pop up in an internal poll, supporters solidarity lifted their puppy at a campaign rally, and a homemade beagle-themed sign stuck in the front yard. I saw you.They also started selling “Puppy 4 Warnock” Product.

All of this will probably surprise Alvin. After all, he wasn’t even Mr. Warnock’s dog.

Prior to the November 3 election, two Republicans, Senator Kelly Loeffler and Congressman Doug Collins, bleeded each other in the right race, which pledged allegiance to President Trump.

Mr. Warnock was on the glide path to the runoff and had the rare opportunity to air months of uninterrupted introductory ads about himself.

The 51-year-old minister proved natural in front of the camera, and his campaign filmed him speaking directly to the audience in most of their ads. However, the Warnock team also knew that the pastor’s 20 years of intense rhetoric on the pulpit could lead to a catastrophic attack.

Racial politics was inevitable. Warnock is more than just a black candidate, he is a pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s spiritual hometown of the Eveniser Baptist Church, and political scientists and strategists find him a unique challenge when confronting Mr. Leffler. Emphasized that he faced. South.

Andra Gillespie, a professor of political science at Emory University in Georgia and author of several books on race and politics, said, “I know he is recognized as a highly racial candidate. I did. ” An important question in his campaign was, “Can you be racially transcendent and arguably the most prominent black church minister in America?”

The Beagle dog spot was the brainchild of Adam Magnus, the leading advertising maker of the Warnock campaign. Through humor, he wanted to find a way to inoculate Mr. Warnock against explicit and implicit attacks. First he had to call a minister. “I want to make sure you like dogs,” he recalled asking.

Warnock said it wasn’t the case now, but he used to have dogs (comet, cupid, brennal) and it was a puppy-themed spot game. Next, Mr. Magnus had to throw a star pouch. It was finally found by Georgian supporters the campaign didn’t name.

Beagle dogs (a breed of “we are psychologically associated with whites,” as Dr. Jefferson said) are another subtle but deliberate effort to explode racial stereotypes. There was an argument that there was. Magnus said the reality is more mundane. “The dog needed to be very cute, a little friendly and able to hold the dog.”

Alvin’s shot in Mr. Warnock’s arm will be a punch line.

“Get ready for Georgia, a negative attack is coming,” said the candidate, predicting smear for everything from eating pizza with a fork and knife to hating puppies.

“By the way, I love puppies,” he added, hugging Alvin.

It was the opening ad for Mr. Warnock’s run-off and soon became a hot topic online.

Mr. Warnock is not the first candidate to declare love for a puppy in a political self-defense preemptive action. In 2006, Republican Michael Steele, another black candidate running for the Maryland Senate, featured his own ad saying essentially exactly the same thing.

“It was a tribute to the homage,” said Steele at the Warnock spot, saying his campaign wasn’t conscious of racial prejudice when creating ads, but Warnock’s. I saw a clear effort to disarmament racial prejudice from the campaign. “He has made a statement in response to the president saying that blacks are coming to your neighborhood,” Steele said. “We already live there.”

The Warnock team knew that the road to the Senate required a complex and fragile multi-ethnic coalition. The party needed to mobilize black voters at the same time with a turnout close to the presidential election. He also called on white voters in the suburbs, who broke the Republican rank last November, to make Biden the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1992. ..

There is a rough rule of thumb for the Democratic Party of Georgia to win. They should support about 30% of the white votes, with 30% of the voters being black.

“If you’re trying to make history in the South and you’re trying to elect an African-American minister in an election that you know you need white voters, you need to do everything you can. “Advertising strategies to make voters comfortable,” said Chiplake, a Caucasian Republican strategist who worked for Collins.

Or, Georgia’s Black Democratic strategist Jessica Bird said, “I don’t think I’ve spent a day in the last five years without thinking about how whites see black candidates.” I am.

Dr. Gillespie and other political scientists call efforts to make black candidates more acceptable to white voters as “inhumane,” and the Beagle dog Alvin is a case study of its success.

“The point of deracialization is not to offend black voters,” Dr. Gillespie explained. “It’s reassuring white voters,” she said, in the case of Mr. Warnock, who inevitably had a direct involvement in racial justice among past candidates. He simply and cleverly added suburban puppies to the mix.

Given the popularity of the first Beagle ad, Magnus knew he would return to Alvin. But how? It had to be humorous, he decided, and it was misleadingly quoted by Mr. Warnock as “God Damn America” ​​(he was quoting someone else) and she he The person who “celebrated the hatred of anti-Americanism” had to repeat the theme of dismissing Mr. Leffler’s attack, such as slashing as a Marxist.

The second filming of Alvin in the scene where Americana oozes lasted about four hours. And at some point, Magnus crouched behind a tree and persuaded Alvin to turn on the cue. And Alvin wasn’t asked to contribute more than his camera performance. The buggy thrown into the trash was full of gravel. ..

They advertised just before Thanksgiving and booked the annual national dog show, among other programs.

Online, Beagle dog spots surged to 3 million times in a few hours and 5 million times a day.

State Republicans and Democrats were amazed at the effectiveness of the advertising campaign. “I know many people who didn’t vote for Raphael Warnock, but they didn’t hate or despise him,” Lake said.

Professor Jefferson of Stanford University said Warnock’s persistent liking was that “his enemies aimed to emphasize his blackness and otherness to Georgia voters, all this racism. I’m throwing criticism, “he said, which was even more impressive. Mr. Warnock countered the landscape that evoked “this cute dog” and “white aesthetics.”

Dr. Jefferson said that objects such as puffer vests, picket fences, beagle dogs, and suburbs have racial relevance, which may not seem the case. “It’s the same as a pumpkin spice latte.”

When the campaign commissioned the next poll after the ad, it contained an open question to assess what voters thought about Mr. Warnock. Pollster Mike Bosian made a cloud of answer words and couldn’t believe the results.

“I saw’puppies’,’ dogs’ and’poops’,” he said. “I’m crazy.”

Alvin broke through in the midst of two of the most expensive Senate races in American history.

The race remained tied by internal voting until the end. However, Bosian could not help noting that Warnock took a two-point lead after being detained in the previous investigation. “I can’t be sure of the cause and effect,” he dragged.

On January 5, Mr. Warnock won just 2 percentage points.

When the Democrats swore to Mr Warnock on Wednesday, he acknowledged various factors. Without years of grassroots organization by black leaders, few believe they have won.Or without a feud between Republicans excited about Mr. Trump..

Alvin appeared once on the last day of the race, pulling Mr. Warnock across the finish line in a beige zip-up sweater. More dogs of different breeds participated as they strolled in different suburbs.

“It symbolized how he carried out the entire campaign,” Lake said. A proud dog enthusiast, a Republican strategist, was stunned to learn that Alvin wasn’t Mr. Warnock’s dog.

“You may have been fooling me!” He exclaimed. “It seemed like he and his Beagle had a bond!”

How Beagle Alvin Helped Democratic Senate Guide

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