Mike Gipson won his Assembly race thanks to the clout of Rep. Maxine Waters and Assemblyman Isadore Hall, the California Democratic Party, heavy contributions from the moneyed interests that matter, and a lie.
The California Teachers Association, oil producers, casino owners, payday lenders, soda and alcohol companies, unions representing nurses, public employees and construction workers, insurance companies and, of course, tobacco companies paid to bring Gipson to Sacramento.
Using some of their money, Gipson fabricated and sent to voters in his South Central Los Angeles Assembly district one of the most vile mailers I’ve ever seen. There is little recourse. With other new legislators, he will take the solemn oath of office on Dec. 1.
Like all freshmen, Gipson will be a backbencher. But the smart people who select and elect candidates see potential. They spent $2.7 million on the campaign for and against Gipson and his opponent, Prophet Walker, who was running for the first time.
Gipson’s deception wasn’t clever. Anyone with a computer could have done it. He cut out a photo of Walker and pasted it in a dark hoodie, and manipulated the photo to depict Walker aiming a gun and grinning, though in context it looks like a snarl. Gipson placed a photo of his own face onto a police officer in uniform.
The verbiage described Walker’s criminal past and Gipson’s good work. But that was secondary. The point was the menacing image, juxtaposed against “Officer” Gipson. Gipson was a cop 20 years ago in Maywood, a gritty L.A. suburb that in 2010 disbanded its police force because of its history of brutality and corruption.