Slowly but surely, bitcoin contributions are growing on both sides of the aisle in U.S. politics. Accordingly, one congressional candidate in California is now catching heat in an opponent’s attack ad for accepting bitcoin donations. The attack is seemingly the first of many as election seasons are poised to foster pulpy mischaracterizations of the original cryptocurrency.
Back in February, Bitsonline noted how bitcoin donations, though still a meager trickle, were on the rise in the arena of American politics by both Republicans and Democrats.
As such, it was only a matter of time before the bipartisan “race-to-the-bottom” art of attack ads caught such growing bitcoin use in its crosshairs.
Now, then, that first bitcoin-based political attack is upon us. That’s per Motherboard reporter Daniel Oberhaus, who obtained a screenshot of a new attack ad against crypto-friendly Californian congressional candidate Brian Forde.
Forde’s retweet of Oberhaus’ article and the screenshot.
Devised by the campaign of Dave Min, who is vying against Forde for the Democratic nomination to represent California’s 45th congressional district, the ad portrays Forde’s received bitcoin donations in a hyper-stereotypical light.
Context of the Ad
Forde, a former leader of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative and adviser to the Obama White House on crypto-assets, began accepting political contributions in bitcoin after a former MIT colleague refused to donate in fiat.
Since then, the candidate has raised thousands of dollars worth of BTC and now welcomes donations in ether, too.
Forde’s donation page – both BTC and ETH accepted.
Min’s attack ad focuses in on Forde’s embrace of cryptocurrencies, with its narrator linking bitcoin trading as pure speculation and arguing the crypto’s supporters “oppose cracking down on drug deals and human trafficking.”
In responding to the ad, Forde’s indignance was clear, remarking that Min was partaking in a cheap shot that misrepresented what his supporters stood for:
“These comments about my supporters are sensationalist, wildly inaccurate, and in line with my opponent’s lack of understanding of the technology. If they were speculating they wouldn’t have donated to my campaign in Bitcoin. They didn’t HODL, they donated to my campaign in Bitcoin because they believe in the technology.”
First of More to Come
With bitcoin in its crosshairs, Min’s attack ad certainly won’t be the last.
That’s due to the nature of American politics. In recent years, many observers have noted the increasingly unsportsmanlike nature of intra-party and inter-party attack ads in the U.S. political arena.
In other words, everyone’s going for the jugular in campaign season — Democrats vs. Democrats and Republicans vs. Republicans during the primaries, and then the consolidated sides against one another during general election season.
To this end, making spurious, over-hyped insinuations is the name of the game when it comes to trying to link your political opponent, whoever they may be, to scandal. Almost anything goes — even if ridiculous under scrutiny.
Min’s bid was and is to make it seem like Forde is turning a blind eye to what amounts to a rampantly immoral caricature of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. But that’s just what it is — a caricature. Linking every bitcoiner to crime is obviously untenable.
But, like I said above, it’s not about being tenable. It’s about kicking up as much dust as you can and causing your opponents a headache with whatever rock you can chuck.
Alas, the bitcoin attack ads are surely just beginning as crypto sees rising use in political contributions. And these attacks will