The Daily Kos Election Update: J Street Ads Stand Up for What’s Right

Melanie Fineman Image
Melanie Fineman
on October 7, 2016

Iran nuclear agreement

Learn more about J Street's policy on the Iran nuclear agreement

J Street’s blog aims to reflect a range of voices. The opinions expressed in blog posts do not necessarily reflect the policies or view of J Street.  

This morning, the Daily Kos Election Update featured J Street’s first-of-its-kind advertisement campaign targeting opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement in crucial swing states with high-profile Senate races. The ads, in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, highlighted Senate candidates who praised the deal – and tied the hawkish incumbent Senators to Donald Trump.

As the article highlighted, supporters of diplomacy should take the lead in promoting the Iran nuclear agreement and making clear that “the world would have been much worse-off without the [it].” Diplomacy-first foreign policy makes us safer and will translate to wins at the ballot box. Our elected officials should stand proudly behind it.

Watch the ads here and read the snippet from today’s election update below.

● PA-Sen, WI-Sen: One of the most common topics in Republican attack ads this cycle has been the accord reached last year between major world powers and Iran, an important agreement that experts the world over agree reduces the danger of a nuclear-armed Iranian state. Of course, the GOP doesn’t see it that way: They simply portray it as a dastardly give-away of billions of dollars to a state sponsor of terrorism, which will soon equip itself with nukes and threaten the West. This is deeply maddening, since the alternative to this deal was not a better deal but no deal at all—plus the dissolution of an international sanctions regime that had kept Iran’s ambitions in check. In other words, the world would have been much worse-off without the agreement.

But Republicans naturally are too cynical to put country (and globe) above party, so they’ve gleefully tried to portray Democrats who support the deal as stereotypically weak on national security in ad after ad. It’s no surprise, then, that an unnamed GOP operative quoted by Politico said that internal polling shows the nuclear deal “performs among the very top hits in virtually every competitive Senate race, and it is extremely potent with independents,” including much sought-after “security moms.”

Now, though, the progressive pro-Israel group J Street is fighting back with ads of its own in support of the agreement. The organization is spending $500,000 to run nearly identical TV spots in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that praise the deal, saying that Iran was “forced to pour concrete into its reactor and give up its uranium,” and adds that “American and Israeli security experts” say “these steps prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons.” The narrator also jabs each of the two Republican senators who’s a target of these ads (Pat Toomey and Ron Johnson) for thinking they “know[] better—like Donald Trump.”

Compared to the amount Republicans are spending on ads criticizing backers of the deal, J Street’s expenditure is small. But it’s about time that progressives started standing up for what’s right. Democrats refused to defend the Affordable Care Act and it became a major topic of GOP attacks; in fact, it’s still used in Republican ads today. The Iran deal might fade from view soon enough, but if it doesn’t, Democrats need to show some spine or they’ll risk taking a beating on this for years to come.