In recent years, graffiti has been increasingly seen in public spaces as a form of expression, the expression of dissatisfaction or discontent with the established order.
As the election campaign got going in late February, several Democratic candidates and staffers received alarming, threatening messages on their personal cell phones – and some even sent an email to the Obama administration, asking them to halt the campaign.
The messages left by Democratic candidates and operatives at the beginning of the month were “threatening and harassing,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has said.
“No Democratic candidate should have to deal with the kind of threats that many of them are being subjected to,” he said, referring to the barrage of robocallers and phone calls.
Reid added he was “alarmed” there had been repeated instances of threats being sent to Democratic National Committee members, and even the Clinton campaign.
“You don’t have to do this alone, do you?” he said, adding that a “very serious problem” has been created by “political bullies.”
It isn’t clear whether Democratic Senate candidates in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maine and Colorado have been targeted in the robocalls. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee did not respond to a request for comment.
The Obama administration was the first to respond to the threats on election eve, sending a letter to the Clinton campaign and the DNC warning the groups that the campaign might face a lawsuit and that any use of automated calls should be done at the “end of the call or the end of the campaign.”
“As we have said before, we do not condone the threatening and intimidating tactics used by any candidate’s political campaign,” the letter states. “Those seeking to influence our election are going to have to come to them, directly, where the rules of the game are the rules of the game.”
The Democratic National Committee has been in direct contact with its candidates and staffers, as well as other Democratic candidates around the country, said spokesman Brad Woodhouse.
The DNC has been “actively informing any candidate we know of that their campaign is one that could be affected” by the threats, and has given “carefully considered guidance” to those involved in campaign preparations, Woodhouse said.
And, he noted, the group does not advise campaigns on how to use robocalls. Those were used in the past, he added.
A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign acknowledged the calls came from automated call centers located near Clinton campaign events.
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