Massachusetts state Rep. Carl Sciortino's new campaign ad attempts to portray him as the most liberal person running in a very Democratic congressional district in a very Democratic state. But even in this dark blue part of Massachusetts, the ad manages to illustrate to one of the biggest longterm problems facing the GOP.
In the ad out Wednesday, Sciortino comes out to his Tea Party-supporting dad — as a "Massachusetts liberal." It was quickly noticed by lots of reporters for its cleverness and adorable portrayal of a father-son relationship. "This ad's basically a masterpiece," MSNBC's Chris Hayes tweeted. NBC's Chuck Todd said, "we all hope this is the way all families are when it comes to politics." National Journal's Jill Lawrence called it "wonderful." But Sciortino's ad also captures the GOP's looming demographic problem.
Although it portrays a loving father and son, Sciortino's ad promotes the image of a Tea Party member, an old man, quietly giving in to the radical politics of his young son, and sort of illustrates the problems the party has been having lately. Playing off the "coming out to your parents" conceit (Sciortino Jr. is openly gay) father and son light heartedly banter about all the things Junior has done to embarrass his father, like going after big banks and corporations, writing laws to protect women entering abortion clinics and promising to go to Congress to fight the NRA and the tea party. Here's the full ad:
Sciortino is trying to position himself as the most progressive of five other progressive opponents in the special election for the seat Ed Markey vacated when he was elected to the Senate. Markey's district is the most Democratic seat in the state. The three Republicans running for their party's nomination are fighting an uphill battle, at best.
A Pew Research Center poll last year found that most young people are Democrats, and they support Obamacare and stronger government — basically everything the Tea Party stands against. An ABC News/Washington Post poll from May found that Tea Party support is dropping, especially among young voters. Between last fall and this spring, support dropped disproportionately among the youth, from 51 percent to 31 percent. Meanwhile, according to the Pew poll, youth voter turnout is growing.
So while some may think this is just a corny but cute political ad (out of the Bill de Blasio school of family exploitation, maybe), for the Tea Party it's a reminder that the youth vote is a problem in need of a solution. That said, the Democratic grip isn't as tight on millennials as they'd have you believe. Youth support for the Tea Party is dropping, but there are still young Republicans out there, ripe for the picking.