New rapping campaign ad for Ben Carson desperately begs for youth vote

ben carson rap ad
John Pemble/Flickr
It’s no secret that the Republican party is worried about attracting African-American voters, so Ben Carson’s campaign is making it a priority. According to ABC News, the campaign will launch a new radio ad in eight markets on Friday in hopes of targeting young, black voters. The ad is entitled Freedom and features rapper Aspiring Mogul.

Carson and Aspiring Mogul are both prominent on Freedom, but only the musician actually raps. He begins by telling listeners, “vote and support Ben Carson for our next president, it’d be awesome.” (Yes, he rhymed Carson and awesome.) From there, Carson sound bites take center stage, with Aspiring Mogul just chiming in to urge people to “vote, vote.” Before it ends, though, the rapper gets to add another oh-so excellent political rhyme: “If we wanna get America back on track, we gotta vote Ben Carson, as a matter of fact.”

You can listen to this, shall we say, bizarre approach to courting the youth vote here:

The 60-second ad is what the Carson campaign sees as a way to speak to the younger demographic “in a language that they prefer and in a language that, and in a cultural format that they appreciate.” According to campaign’s spokesman Doug Watts said, they’re aiming to “attract their consciousness about the election.” However, aside from the strange idea, it’s not exactly top-flight rapping: “Vote and support Ben Carson, for our next president it’d be awesome,” Aspiring Mogul says limply, followed by a rather dry snippet of Carson speaking at a campaign event.

Whether or not the ad brings in young voters, it’s certain to get the leading GOP nominee plenty of attention — though possibly not the kind his campaign staff was looking for.

As Mashable pointed out, Carson himself doesn’t seem exactly thrilled with his campaign’s creation. He told reporters that “people in the campaign … felt that was a good way to [target black voters],” according to a CNN transcript, but added that he personally “probably would have taken a little different approach.” Not exactly strong words of leadership from the candidate, considering the add is just taking off. Is it possible he didn’t think this one through?

The radio ad is set to air for two weeks in parts of the South, including Miami, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; and Little Rock, Arkansas. It will also hit airwaves in Detroit, Michigan, the city where Carson grew up. The radio ad buy cost the campaign $150,000.


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