“That was the final straw. She was depicting me as a gang member. I served seven years in the Marine Corps.”
- Gilberto Ramirez, a Reno concrete worker and first-time voter quoted in the Las Vegas Sun regarding defeated Senate candidate Sharron Angle's campaign ads
The Sun and various other news outlets have reported on just how critically decisive the Latino vote was in the re-election of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid captured the support of 90 percent of Nevada's Latino voters, who turned out in record numbers - some, like recently-naturalized citizen Ramirez, incensed by a series of much-criticized campaign ads from Reid's Republican opponent Sharron Angle.
Perhaps the Angle ad that drew the most ire was one called "The Wave," in which images of young Latino-looking men appeared with a voiceover that began: “Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear...”
One of the striking things about "The Wave," the latest and perhaps most controversial of the immigration-related ads produced by the campaign of Nevada's Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, is how similar it is in its tone to what is perhaps the granddaddy of the illegal-human-tide campaign ad genre, a television spot from former governor Pete Wilson's 1994 re-election campaign known as "They Keep Coming."
The ad starts with a video image from the early 1990s (one that was repeated for years on television as synonymous with illegal immigration) of people running north into the United States from Mexico, along the southbound lanes of the San Ysidro border crossing. Rushing the southbound lanes was a maneuver that some smugglers encouraged for a period back then, as was telling border crossers to run across Interstate 5 to avoid border security, a tactic that led many to their death on the highway.