It doesn’t get more cynical: today, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) will lead a delegation to the border. Not to propose solutions. Not to address the regional crisis that propels migrants and refugees to our southern border. Not to help children get reunited with their parents. Rather, Scalise and his Republican posse of wannabe border agents are staging a photo shoot to use in their next fundraising shakedown targeted to get every last nickel out of their base voters on Facebook. Hopefully, pundits, journalists, and the public will see through this thin veneer of mendacity, and call out this stunt for what it is: a strategic racist ploy it really is and reject the politicization of what is for the most part desperate migrant kids.
Scalise’s traveling circus of fear-mongers is, unfortunately, nothing new. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy led a similar delegation a couple weeks ago. Followed by Ted Cruz, and 17 other Republican Senators riding boats armed with machine guns alongside tourist boats. All in the hopes of getting footage for campaign ads and to attempt to create a distraction from their failure to deliver economic or COVID-19 relief to the American people and GOP culpability in the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol building. And, while Cruz and his crew were on the border, the Texas GOP was hosting an anti-immigrant rally in Laredo that featured the founder of the Oathkeepers.
Borderline Sleaze to Squeeze Their Base
How do we know this is the Republican plan? Well the fundraising has already begun. Here are some examples of the xenophobic dog-whistle ads already in use:
The links to all these ads take you to a fundraising landing pages that look like this:
In the special election in Texas’s 6th House District, Republican Brian Harrison launched a TV ad solely focused on pushing the deeply misleading Republican political frame of “Biden’s Border Crisis.” This ad likely a prescient example of what is to come in the 2022 midterms.
But, let’s be clear, Republicans tried this strategy in the 2018 midterm elections and it flopped. Up and down the ticket they ran aggressive xenophobic dog-whistle ads. And their closing electoral pitch? Migrant caravans. It was one of their main campaign messages and resulted in historic losses for the GOP.
It May be Good for the GOP Base, but Corporate America Doesn’t Like It
The Republican’s reliance on strategic racism has deadly consequences when individuals and groups are mobilized to violence. But, it also may be scaring off the solid support and firehose of cash Republicans rely on from corporate America. Hard to imagine that the major corporations who are expressing dismay over GOP voter suppression efforts will want to be linked to racist, xenophobic ads. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appears worried and is issuing broadsides against corporate America though making it clear he wasn’t talking about their political donations. Nevertheless the GOP appears determined to double down on this failing strategy once again, consequences be damned. Hopefully, the American people will again show them at the ballot box that they are tired of the GOP’s divide and distract tactics favoring instead real solutions to address the nation’s challenges and improve their own lives. And, at America’s Voice, we will keep monitoring and exposing the GOPracist, xenophobic, and anti-immigrant content.