Wendy Davis Ad: Is This An Attempt To Attack A Politician For Being Disabled?

Wendy Davis’s highly-controversial ad ends with one final thought about Greg Abbott.

“He’s not for you.”

But what this Davis attack ad fails to appropriately address is why her opponent is the wrong man for the job.

Usually these ads focus on the behavior of the politician that demonstrates dishonest or untrustworthy qualities.

How they voted, what companies or businesses they supported (that they should not have), and questionable things they’ve said in the past.

While these are elements in the Davis attack ad, there is an ambivalent focus on Abbott’s physical disability which is highly problematic, if not discriminatory.

The campaign advertisement brings up the fact that her adversary is disabled, information that is simply not relevant to Wendy’s campaign for governor. For whatever reason, Davis’s people felt the need to force its relevancy.

The advertisement addressed the fact that Abbott was injured after a tree fell on him in 1984, rendering him permanently disabled. Wendy’s attack ad then accused the Texas Attorney General of ignoring his own experiences as a victim and being largely unsympathetic toward his constituents.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Wendy Davis’s advertisement featured the image of a wheelchair. The wheelchair image was rather ominous looking; it was also focused on for an uncomfortable amount of time.

Not too surprisingly, Wendy has earned a great deal of backlash for focusing on Abbott’s life-changing injury.

Despite the criticism, Wendy Davis made it a point to defend the half-minute clip and the focus on her adversary’s disability.

“What this ad shows is that after rightly seeking justice for himself, Greg Abbott turned around and spent his entire career denying that same kind of justice to other victims.

“Whether they were victims of brutal rape, whether they were disabled individuals, or whether they were patients who were maimed by a surgeon who was under the influence. These are important [facts] that Texans have a right to know about.”

What Wendy Davis must be careful of doing is assuming that Greg Abbott’s entire outlook is decided through his disability.

Because that is an opinion that has nothing to do with the campaign for governor.

Forming an opinion about a man based on who he is and what he has done should be simple enough without needing to imply that being in a wheelchair is meant to impact his decision-making.

Many of the things addressed in Wendy Davis’s ad did not even require drawing attention to Greg Abbott’s horrific accident. It was enough to call her opponent out on his behavior, as she would any other non-disabled opponent.

When someone is potentially guilty of disablism, suddenly that becomes impossible. This is how we get an unfortunate ad like the one released with the approval of Davis.

Wendy is already at a disadvantage with Texans in her attempt to become the state governor. Many considered her a long-shot even before the ad aired.

With this problematic advertisement, Wendy Davis may have further damaged her meager chances at office.

[Image via Wendy Davis]