Week of June 5, 2023
THREE OPPOSITION MESSAGES FROM THE WEEK
- In a gift to the MAGA base, House Republicans move forward on a sham DHS Secretary impeachment effort: In an apparent deal to secure the votes from the extreme MAGA wing to not send the country into default, Speaker McCarthy gave the go-ahead to move forward with the baseless effort to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Of course, there are no high crimes or misdemeanors to speak of, but even their political attacks don’t meet factual reality. Meanwhile, Republicans’ key witnesses are hard-right activists who pal around with hate groups like Chad Wolf — who was the unlawfully appointed Acting DHS Secretary during January 6 and who has ignored subsequent subpoenas. But this multi-layered farce is just getting started and will be a dangerous distraction for the department tasked with ensuring national security likely throughout the next year and half. Watch a press conference on the topic we participated in with Norm Eisen and the Congressional Integrity Project earlier this week.
- House Republicans advance ugly resolution solely to demagogue migrants: On Tuesday, the House Education and Workforce Committee advanced the sort of ugly nativist non-solution that has unfortunately become the hallmark of the House majority. After New York moved to temporarily house asylum seekers in an abandoned former school gymnasium in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s continued political stunt of sending migrants to the State, House Republicans pushed H.Res.461, which sought to hide old racist debunked myths of immigrant criminality behind the guise of protecting children. Worse, in the markup, Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), amplified the white nationalist Great replacement conspiracy theory while advancing an amendment to the resolution. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) delivered powerful and important pushback to the deadly rhetoric, which is worth a watch. As this Resolution moves towards a full House vote it’s important to keep in mind that it is not about finding solutions or keeping kids safe – it’s just divisive politics. It’s the job of elected leaders to bring the country together on solutions, but this bill does the exact opposite.
- Without the hoped-for chaos following the end of Title 42 the opposition looks at internal enforcement as the next chapter of their nativist narrative: There has been a precipitous drop in the total number of asylum-seekers along the southern border since the end of Title 42. While on one hand, Republicans aren’t letting factual reality stand in the way of the pre-baked nativist messaging, they are also starting to build their nativist narrative about an apparently insufficient number of deportations. This turn as they execute another clearly planned maneuver to fearmonger about our undocumented neighbors. Through the establishment of seemingly innocuous non-profit organizations, collaboration with elected Republicans, and eager right-wing media platforms chasing clicks, they continue to launder hate and xenophobia into the mainstream. Looking at this maneuver this week we wrote about the five steps employed by the right to construct their nativist narratives and advance the GOP’s cynical politics of racial division. We explain the five steps to their nativist narrative playbook here.
- President: Ron DeSantis continues his nativist tour taking his harmful anti-immigrant demagoguery on the road while his own state floods and the massive backlash to his show-me-you-papers legislation continues even before it has been implemented. DeSantis made it crystal clear this week that he will hoist Florida and its economy onto the funeral pyre to get the adulation of the MAGA mob. DeSantis has even left the Republicans who voted for his bill in a lurch as they issue mixed signals about the bill as they openly fret about the serious economic and long-term impact of the draconian legislation. Maybe this works as a short-term political calculation for DeSantis. Maybe. Regardless, his legislation will cause real and likely significant harm to the very people he’s supposed to lead. And as DeSantis continues with his political stunts to show his maximum cruelty towards non-white migrants for the MAGA mob, every reporter would do well to include the measurable harm of when extremist rhetoric develops into draconian policy.
- SCOTUS decision: In a ruling Thursday, the Court ruled against Alabama’s US Congressional District maps as a racial gerrymander. Objectively this is a common sense ruling on the factual merits of the case, and the fact that is a surprising development is in of itself damning. Nevertheless, this is a win for multiracial democracy. Furthermore, sans the racial gerrymander two solid red districts have moved to toss-ups in seats currently held by vehement nativists and election deniers. For a deeper dive, check out Slates’ Amicus’ excellent 30-minute breakdown and discussion of the case and ruling.
- Stephen Miller: In the final three months of the ‘22 cycle, we estimate the Miller-aligned groups spent upwards of $100 million on some of the most vile strategic racist ads of the midterms. Despite championing a nativist strategy that has left his party with defeat after defeat, he still clearly has undeniable access to vast sums of resources at his fingertips. His America First Legal Institute is out with a new nativist ad riddled with coded racist ideas and factual inaccuracies. While Miller may not spend six figures on this particular ad it is clear he still hopes to shield outside influence in peddling a failed strategy of extremism, cruelty, and a stunning lack of workable solutions. And as a sign of the blatant disregard for the facts, when the ad asserts the Biden administration is sending “thousands and thousands” of migrants “into your communities,” they use several clips that occurred during the Trump administration.
WEEKLY STATS OF NATIVIST NARRATIVE
- Of the 400 GOP Twitter accounts we track, this week, they sent:
- 197 original tweets peddling anti-immigrant attacks mentioning “border”
- 35 original tweets about “open borders,” with Ron DeSantis tweet having the most reach with 991.2K Views, 916 Retweets, and 11.1K Likes.
- 13 original tweets that used “Biden Border Crisis” with Ted Cruz tweet having the most reach with 252.1K Views, 1,023 Retweets, and 5,188 Likes.
- 28 original tweets that mentioned both “fentanyl” and “border” with Greg Abbott tweet having the most reach with 102.6K views, 195 Retweets and 1,429 Likes.