Washington, DC – The runoff in Georgia is the latest reminder that a majority of Americans reject MAGA extremism and support a more inclusive vision of democracy, but it is just one of the data points this week that signal the Republican Party’s drift to nationalist extremism is continuing despite strong evidence that it is backfiring with American voters.
In Georgia, Warnock’s win showcased a strong coalition of support from suburban voters, college educated voters, and those in the suburbs, and used a strategy of emphasizing a contrast between himself and Walker. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
“The approach paid dividends in the midterm when the swing-ticket phenomenon transformed from a polling trend into hard numbers. Walker ended with 200,000 fewer votes than Kemp, significantly trailing the governor in Atlanta’s close-in suburbs and further-flung rural areas.
And Warnock’s triumph on Tuesday proved it worked again. He prevailed in the last election battle of 2022, emerging as the only Democrat in Georgia to win statewide just two years after the party flipped two U.S. Senate seats and helped Joe Biden win the presidency.”
While it attracted less attention than the high profile Georgia Senate runoff, an immigration vote this week in the House of Representatives also was a victory against extremism. The House yesterday passed the Veteran’s Service Recognition Act preventing the deportation of veterans, making the naturalization process easier for active duty servicemembers, and creating an opportunity for deported veterans to obtain legal permanent resident status. The legislation passed despite the support of only three Republicans – further evidence that they are on the wrong side of common sense immigration measures that have the broad backing of the country.
Meanwhile, more voices are highlighting the dangers of extremism being mainstreamed or excused away by many Republicans. According to NPR today:
“The White House is hosting a roundtable on the rise of antisemitism in the United States on Wednesday. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will lead a discussion with Jewish leaders following a surge in anti-Jewish comments involving prominent people. ‘Let me be clear: words matter. People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud, they are screaming them,’ Emhoff plans to say.”
This follows a terrorism advisory bulletin from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week, outlining renewed threats to LGBTQ, Jewish, and migrant communities from domestic actors. As we highlighted last week, In the midterm election cycle, Republican candidates and allies spent tens of millions of dollars mainstreaming white nationalist, anti-semitic and anti-LGBTQ+ lies that have been tied to deadly attacks in places such as El Paso, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the recent attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
Despite these deadly attacks, the renewed threats AND the political reality that GOP extremism and the party’s role in mainstreaming these vile ideas was a liability – not a benefit – in the midterms, the Republican Party doesn’t appear ready to adjust course and adopt a more responsible approach. Remember, the white nationalist “replacement theory” lie itself ties together anti-semitism with anti-immigration themes by positing that there is a Jewish plot to replace white people with immigrants.
According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:
“Americans who reject MAGA extremism and embrace a more inclusive democracy have had a good week and Republicans pushing conspiracy theories and fear-mongering about immigrants are increasingly being met with rejection by the American majority outside the MAGA base. The notable political victories in Georgia and in the midterms and sensible policy moving forward, including measures to protect immigrant veterans and their families, redesignating protections for Haitians in the U.S. and potential progress towards citizenship for Dreamers comes despite reminders that GOP extremism continues unabated.
In 2022, the White House is convening a conference to address growing anti-semitism and attacks; only three Republicans voted for a bill to protect immigrant veterans; and House Republicans have vowed to impeach the Jewish Cuban-American Secretary of Homeland Security despite the elevated threats of domestic terrorism emanating from right-wing extremists about immigrants and Jews. What a sad commentary on the state and direction of one of our two major political parties.
All of us who believe in a different vision of the country need to keep working together to forge more political and policy solutions that reject the dangerous course too many Republicans want to take us on.”