Dana Nessel, a Democrat running for Michigan Attorney General, jolted her campaign into the national conversation Tuesday with an ad asking voters if they can afford not to have an all-female ticket for statewide office.
“If the last few weeks has taught us anything, its that we need more women in positions of power, not less [sic],” Nessel begins, before becoming much more explicit.
“Who can you trust most not to show their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn’t have a penis? I’d say so!” Nessel continues, citing her anatomy as a qualification for election.
As the ad goes on, Nessel moves from her purported inability to engage in sexual harassment to an explicit call for men to be excluded from Michigan’s statewide offices. She claims that “some people” will tell voters they cannot have an all-female Democratic ticket, and that “pundits and insiders are asking” if we can “afford” an all-female ticket.
The ad cites no pundits or insiders asking if they can afford an all-female ticket. Nevertheless, Nessel explicitly calls for men to be excluded from that ticket. “Well, I read the news. And I bet you do too. It has me thinking, can we afford not to [have an all-female ticket]?”
“And yes,” Nessel concludes, “I’m a woman. That’s not a liability, that’s an asset.”
In addition to combating sexual harassment, Nessel has made reining in law enforcement a centerpiece of her campaign. She told the Detroit News in August she “would create a ‘bad cops’ division to prevent rogue officers from going from department to department in Michigan.”
Another top priority for her is combating “hate groups,” of which she has claimed there are dozens in Michigan, an apparent reference to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s unscientific survey of such groups, which includes many of questionable existence.
Nessel, a lesbian herself, represented a Michigan couple in litigation that led to court-imposed same-sex marriage in that state and was later incorporated into the federal case that did the same nationwide. According to her campaign website, “Dana lives in southeast Michigan with her wife, Alanna Maguire, their twin sons, Alex and Zach, along with various cats.”