Dan Bishop’s first attack on Jeff Jackson foretells an unhinged, unserious campaign | Opinion

Dan Bishop has long been someone far more interested in petty politics than genuine public service or the business of governing. Unfortunately for the state of North Carolina, that doesn’t seem to be changing now that he’s running for statewide office.

So far, his 2024 attorney general campaign appears to have one goal: to be as unhinged as possible.

Hours after Democrat Jeff Jackson announced his own candidacy, Bishop seized the opportunity to go on the offensive. Did he criticize Jackson for anything of substance? No, of course not. That would be boring.

Instead, he simply said Jackson was a “woke liberal” and took a dig at his use of TikTok by calling him a “Chinese social media star.” But it didn’t stop there. Bishop then issued an absurd faux press release intended to parodize Jackson’s campaign.

The press release uses Jackson’s campaign logo and is written in Chinese. The English translation, which is included at the bottom, reads:

“My name is Jeff Jackson. I’m a TikTok star who wants to make North Carolina soft on crime … Now back to stupid videos of me helping China spy on North Carolina and cats.”

The bottom of the press release says “Paid for by Jeff Jackson for NCCCP,” which ostensibly stands for North Carolina Chinese Communist Party.

Clearly, this is the work of a Very Serious Person running a Very Serious Campaign.

Let’s just call this what it is: a stunt. Bishop even tagged the far-right social media account Libs of TikTok, probably hoping that its more than 2.5 million followers would help his campaign go viral. (Libs of TikTok is known for sharing incendiary content that has reportedly led to harassment, threats and violence against LGBTQ+ people and their allies.)

Pretty hypocritical of Bishop to criticize his opponent’s use of social media while he’s busy fishing for views and likes himself.

But it’s also just bizarre and borderline offensive. Mocking your opponent with a “press release” written in Chinese — sounding the alarm that he might somehow be a Chinese spy — is simply beyond the pale. While security concerns about TikTok are certainly valid, the anti-Chinese rhetoric that has become ubiquitous among Republican politicians is divisive and only inflames tensions toward the Asian American community. The post also said that the release was for “our unamerican friends,” as if anyone who speaks Chinese or has Chinese heritage cannot also be American.

We’ll certainly learn a lot about Jackson from how he chooses to respond to Bishop’s underhanded tactics throughout the course of the campaign. But Bishop is showing us exactly who he is, and it’s not someone who wants to talk about his vision for a better North Carolina. Hate and negativity seem to be the only platform he has to run on.