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Combating the GOP’s Nativist Narrative – Weekly Summary

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Week of April 17, 2023


  • The Congressional Dais, the Stage for GOP’s Nativist Political Theater:  The House Republican majority was quick to pat themselves on the back for a job well done for all the “oversight” they provided in their first one hundred days, it appears they have mixed up the concept of “oversight” with dangerous political theater.  Republicans used 12 hearings over 10 weeks they were in session to to amplify the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory; peddled misinformation about a so-called “open border” and fentanyl; and to push a sham impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas.    Absent from the Republican members in the dozens of hours of congressional hearings were substantive solutions for an orderly process at the border or improvements to legal pathways. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) invoked the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory during the House Homeland Security Committee this week while Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), did so in the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
  • Courting Racist Violence with “Invasion” Rhetoric: Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) introduced the “Stop the Invasion Act” with 15 Republican co-sponsors. The legislation advances the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory that is directly tied to multiple domestic terrorist attacks. Heidi Beirich, the co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, draws a direct connection between the rhetoric and the violence, saying, “When migrants are described as invaders, that leads to violence,” she said. “Because how else does one stop an invasion?” Supporting Rep. Ogles’ legislation is the hate group FAIR, which Ogles’ press release shares a quote. Chad Wolf’s America First Policy Institute and the Tanton network NumbersUSA are also named supporters of the bill.  Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is also set to be a speaker at a rally he is promoting at the Texas Capital in Austin, next week, whose main demand echoes the terrorist who attacked El Paso in 2019, calling for an “invasion declaration.”  
  • Republicans in Disarray Over Nativist Obsessions: This week, the House Judiciary marked up the Republican-only extreme anti-immigrant piece of legislation doubling down on the failed cruelty and chaos approach. The new proposal, introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) is a child detention and asylum ban bill. But Republicans still cannot move this extreme messaging bill, which would be DOA in the Democratic-controlled Senate, as the New York Times reported this week Republicans don’t have the votes from their own caucus. As Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted about the Republican bill: “It turns out that basing real-world policy on the lurid fantasy universe depicted in MAGA-pleasing ads produces results so absurd and extreme that Republicans beholden to less MAGA-fied voters can’t stomach it.” Nor do Republicans have the votes around their sham impeachment effort around Secretary Mayorkas. 


  • OH Senate: Car dealership owner, Bernie Moreno announced this week that he will make a second attempt to win the Ohio senate primary after a quixotic expensive splash in the ‘22 primary. Moreno received some early support shy of an endorsement from Donald Trump and is out with an introduction ad this week that warns about “drugs flowing across the border.” A Colombian immigrant, Moreno is quick to frame his story as the ‘right’ kind of immigration, asserting his family “came here legally” to pursue the “American Dream.” In his previous bid, Moreno spent millions of dollars peddling the great replacement conspiracy theory ads to Ohioans. In one ad, Moreno claimed: “Illegals come for the freebies, free money from Biden, take your job, free passes for crime because Democrats want their votes…They are changing our nation, let’s stop them.” He also ran Facebook ads reading “It’s an INVASION.” Moreno also took to Twitter to applaud both other Ohio Senate candidates for using “invasion” language. 
  • LA Gov: As Daily Kos Elections noted this week that anti-immigrant zealot and Louisiana AG Jeff Landry has a sizable cash-on-hand advantage over his opponents ahead of the all-party gubernatorial primary this October.  Current Democratic Governor John Bell Edwards is termed out. Landry has used his office to launch repeated anti-immigrant attacks. Most recently, targeting and subpoenaing non-profits aiding refugees and asylum seekers. Landry likely is more than happy with the continuation of a broken immigration system as he was entangled in a gas venture that set out to exploit migrant workers to maximize profits.
  • MT Senate: Hard-right Congressman Rep. Matt Rosendale, who co-sponsored Rep. Ogles’ great replacement conspiracy theory legislation, looks like he will try his hand at a rematch against Sen. Tester after losing to the Democratic Senator by more than three points in 2018. Politico reported earlier this week that Rosendale, with the encouragement of the Club for Growth, has privately “told friends and allies that he plans to run for Senate.” A contested primary here is quite likely, in which case we will likely see a flood of xenophobic ads lobbed back and forth, with Rosendale leading the charge with truly ugly and dangerous rhetoric. 


  • Of the 400 GOP Twitter accounts we track, this week, they sent: 
    • 259 original tweets peddling anti-immigrant attacks mentioning “border”
    • 34 original tweets about “open borders,” with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweet having the most reach with 400.9K Views, 4,155 Retweets, and 16.3K Likes.
    • 33 original tweets that used “Biden Border Crisis” with Sen. Ted Cruz tweet having the most reach with 172K Views, 970 Retweets, and 3,543 Likes.
    • 29 original tweets that mentioned both “fentanyl” and “border” with Gov. Greg Abbott tweet having the most reach with 59.7K views, 185 Retweets and 1,026 Likes.