tags: Press Releases

GOP Embrace of Dangerous Nativist Conspiracies, Previously Limited to White Nationalist Fringes, Gets Media Attention

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Arizona Republic, Border Report, Agencia EFE, El Diario/La Prensa and La Opinión Among English and Spanish Media Outlets Focusing on GOP Mainstreaming of Dangerous White Nationalist Conspiracies

Washington, DC – New English and Spanish media coverage highlights the details and dangers of Republicans’ growing embrace of dangerous and dehumanizing lies and nativist conspiracies that were previously limited to white nationalist fringes, but are now central to GOP strategy and messaging. Many of the stories center on details of a press call yesterday (find audio recording and accompanying press release here). Among recent coverage:

“As Arizona’s 2022 election cycle approaches a critical point, political ads continue to dehumanize and vilify migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border by characterizing the situation as an ‘invasion,’ leading to damaging effects for migrants and Latinos, advocates say.

‘The more dehumanizing rhetoric you use to talk about a particular population, the more likely you are to inflict harm on them and even death,’ said Anna Ochoa O’Leary, professor and head of the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona.

In 2019, a gunman killed 23 people and wounded dozens more in a racially motivated massacre that targeted Hispanic shoppers in an El Paso Walmart. A few days before the shooting, the gunman wrote a manifesto that attributed the attack to a Hispanic ‘invasion’ of Texas, echoing themes of the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory.

The racist, baseless theory was first popular with far-right white nationalists and promotes a notion that there’s a plot to ‘replace’ and undermine white culture and political power in Western countries.

At least 546 pieces of political messaging that promote ideas around ‘white replacement’ and a ‘migrant invasion’ have been identified so far in the 2022 election cycle, according to an ad tracking project by America’s Voice, an immigrant advocacy group that tracks racism in campaign ads.”

  • Leading Spanish language outlets, including Agencia EFE, El Diario/La Prensa in New York and La Opinión in Los Angeles, highlighting GOP candidates’ embrace of incendiary nativist rhetoric. The Spanish-language media are paying particular attention to reports on the nativist and incendiary rhetoric from Republican candidates and how the Latino community and immigrants have become targets of the attacks that such rhetoric unleashes. For example, the massacre in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, was carried out by a white nativist who believed that the US was being “invaded” by immigrants through the Southern border.
    • In an article lifted by several media outlets in Spanish, including El Diario/La Prensa NY,  entitled Activists denounce normalization of “preaching of hate,” Agencia EFE writes that “the “preaching of hate” and nationalist rhetoric in the United States have “alarmingly normalized” among Republican politicians, activists who advocate for minorities and immigrants said today.” The article quotes America’s Voice Executive Director, Frank Sharry, noting that “what was something you would hear from the fringes of the far-right regarding immigrants and immigration has now become a centerpiece of the GOP electoral strategy.”
    • Likewise, the leading daily newspaper La Opinión, from Los Angeles, in a piece titled Messages of “hate” from Republicans against immigrants and other minorities trigger alert, writes that “civil rights and immigrant advocates warned about the violent consequences of the “nativist” and “hatred” message of some Republicans, as part of their electoral strategy.” … “Experts highlighted how ‘white nationalist’ conspiracies and rhetoric about so-called ‘replacement’ and ‘invasion’ have fueled dangerous situations in the United States,” adds the article.
  • At Border Report, Julián Reséndiz writes, GOP campaign ads warning of ‘invasion’ are racist, activists say”:

“Right-wing candidates are increasingly calling the migrant surge at the southern border an invasion so they can scare voters into casting ballots for them in November, immigrant advocates said in a teleconference Tuesday.

One group, the Washington, D.C.-based America’s Voice, says it has tracked 130 ads by Republican candidates for public office characterizing asylum-seekers as invaders and potential criminals and peddling the idea of a Democrat ploy to replace white voters with incoming minorities.

‘We have been tracking racist advertising by GOP candidates and it is alarming and stunning,’ said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice. ‘What was once something you would hear from the fringes of the far-right regarding immigrants and immigration has now become a centerpiece of the GOP electoral strategy.’

…The ads not only disparage and ‘demonize’ migrants that include asylum-seekers and members of vulnerable social groups, but also could inspire violence against any people of color, the activists said.

‘As an immigrant myself, I know how dangerous this rhetoric is,’ said Juanita Monsalve, senior marketing and creative director for United We Dream Action. ‘(It) has real-life consequences. We saw that earlier this year at a grocery store in Buffalo and in 2019 with the shooting in El Paso. In both instances, the shooters were motivated by anti immigrant rhetoric.’”

Among the key takeaways from the recent America’s Voice political report assessing GOP anti-immigrant messaging in the 2022 cycle:

  • At least 2,130 ads and 400 campaign emails that use nativist dog-whistles this cycle; an average of approximately 2,700 tweets from Republican candidates and campaigns per month that move anti-immigrant messages
  • At least 360 ads that fear-monger about Democrats’ alleged “open border” policies and more than 140 ads that employ the “invasion” and “replacement” rhetoric.  
  • More than 500 pieces of political messaging overall that echo the “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy theories that inspired several domestic terrorists to murder dozens of Americans. 

Check out America’s Voice GOP Ad Tracker: http://gopadtracker.com/