The commercial prompted heated reactions from the groups it portrayed, including the teachers union, which told the Chicago Tribune “we’re not going to dignify this racist, sexist, homophobic piece of crap with a response.”

But there’s been strong criticism from within the GOP, too. Tim Schneider, Illinois party chairman, said in a statement that “there is no place in the Illinois Republican Party for rhetoric that attacks our fellow Illinoisans based on their race, gender or humanity.” He demanded that Ives “pull down the ad and immediately apologize to the Illinoisans who were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division.” Even David Paul Blumenshine, a GOP primary candidate for state representative and an Ives supporter, said he thinks the ad should be pulled.

The pushback underscores growing clashes between two branches of the GOP since Trump took office. Following the president’s lead—and the Tea Party before him—conservative hardliners such as Ives are playing voters against one another with the objective of fostering partisanship and deepening the support of the party’s more intolerant conservative base. Those criticizing the ad represent a shrinking, more moderate Republican party, which has tried, although rarely successfully, to keep politics civil.

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