Screengrab via Michael Williams / YouTube
[Update 05/18/18: After YouTube removed Williams's campaign ad unveiling the bus for violating its standards on hate speech, the site said the video was taken down by mistake. YouTube has since put the video back up.]Republicans have pioneered all kinds of innovative ways to prey on prejudice when running for office, from dropping insanely racist ads to straight-up lying about Planned Parenthood. But perhaps no GOP politician has managed to make such a patently offensive push for votes so far this election cycle as Michael Williams.
On Tuesday, the Georgia gubernatorial candidate put out a campaign ad unveiling a "deportation bus," a gray vehicle emblazoned with the words "murderers, rapists, kidnappers, child molestors [sic], and other criminals on board." According to the Huffington Post, he's planning on driving it into Clarkston, Decatur, and Athens, three so-called sanctuary cities, or municipalities that refuse to fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities.Once he reaches those locales, the (terrifying) idea is that Williams will take matters into his own hands."We're not just going to track 'em and watch 'em roam around our state," Williams says in the ad. "We're gonna put 'em on this bus, and send 'em home."
According to Williams' campaign website, he's a big supporter of 287(g), a federal program allowing state and local cops to pass undocumented people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even if their arrests had nothing to do with immigration. He's also pushing to preserve Georgia's Confederate monuments and pass what his site calls "the strongest pro-life legislation in the nation."Williams, a state senator who co-chaired Trump's campaign in the state, hasn't clarified what would give him the authority to detain people he suspected were undocumented, or how, exactly, he would deport them. But that hasn't stopped him from plastering "follow me to Mexico" on the back of his bus, and promising Georgians it'll wind up "filled with illegals" if they vote for him in the Republican primary come May 22.Unfortunately for Williams, his odds don't look great. As the Hill noted, only about 3 percent of Georgia voters supported him in a recent poll. But who knows—maybe sending a massive, racist piece of propaganda-on-wheels rolling through the streets will swing things his way.Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.