Gold Star dad Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention was one of the most powerful moments of the 2016 election so far. Now Hillary Clinton is trying to capture that in a new ad where Khan retells, simply and straightforwardly, the story of how his son, US Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in action in Iraq.
Humayun Khan saved the lives of his unit by moving forward to stop a suicide bomber, and the bomb exploded.
“I want to ask, Mr. Trump,” Khan says, his voice breaking, “would my son have a place in your America?”
The ad will air on TV in several key swing states: Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Like many of Clinton’s anti-Trump ads, it’s arresting and effective.
But usually, political messaging featuring Real People — framed in ways to emphasize how much they are not politicians — usually feels strained or hackneyed. While involving them is meant to put a human face on the stakes of the election, they often seem like props. It’s easy to decide that the ads are simply gimmicks.
But Trump has changed that. Clinton was able to make this ad because Trump himself has created his own worst enemies. By engaging in asymmetric warfare with Democratic symbols such as Khan or former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, he’s made them much more powerful messengers against him.