Asian-American Voter Outreach 101: Don’t Do What Dan Adler Did

Yes, he's a real person seeking actual public office. But you wouldn't guess it from this ridiculous campaign ad.

By Julianne Hing May 13, 2011

Before you write this video off as a rejected SNL skit like I almost did the first time I saw it, you should know: Dan Adler is a real person seeking actual public office. Adler, a Democrat, is running for an open seat in California’s 36th congressional district in Los Angeles County where, just as that tattooed man says in the ad, Asian Americans are 15 percent of the population.

It then calls for an ad that relies on old stereotypes and tired visual tropes, naturally, to win the electorate over, coupled with the assertion that "we minorities should stick together"–Adler is Jewish–topped off by Adler’s ridiculous claim that his marriage to a Korean woman somehow makes him an honorary Asian. (Dan, sorry to break it to you: it doesn’t really work that way.)

Talking Points Memo called it a textbook "Demon Sheep" stunt where candidates, like California’s Carly Fiorina release ads so patently ridiculous that they explode on the internet strictly because of their absurdity.

TPM got Adler on the phone, and he insists he’s sincere. "I take it extremely seriously," Adler told TPM. "The idea I’m doing it for a put-on is insulting and disrespectful. I’m doing it exactly the way Thomas Jefferson wanted it done."