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“Republican Playbook is All About Fear”

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GOP’s Ugly Political Strategy on Display in Maryland and Arizona

As attacks in congressional races in Maryland and Arizona demonstrate, and as we have been predicting, Republican candidates and campaigns are following the cues of the Trump White House and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and running hard on ugly, anti-immigrant attacks.

According to Pili Tobar, Managing Director of America’s Voice:

“The politics of fear will be the dominant focus of Republican campaigns this cycle. Despite the explicit lessons from 2017 Virginia and New Jersey Governors’ races and several special elections showing that these attacks are not working, and in some cases backfiring, we still expect to see ugly anti-immigrant attacks be the core focus of Republican campaigns up and down the ballot and across the country.”

Washington Post editorial, titled “The GOP wallows again in wedge issues and fear,” highlights how Republicans in the open Maryland 6th congressional race are “taking a page” from the playbook of the failed gubernatorial campaign of Virginia’s Ed Gillespie and fear-mongering over immigrants and crime in an attempt to derail the candidacy of Maryland state delegate and Democratic contender Aruna Miller.

The Post writes, despite the fact that Gillespie “lost in a near-landslide:”

“The lesson seems to have been lost on Republicans in neighboring Maryland, where the state party apparatus, taking a page from Mr. Gillespie’s tattered playbook, has launched an odious attack on a Democrat running for the open 6th Congressional District seat for “treating criminals like celebrities” and inviting threats from MS-13 gangs who have “invaded neighborhoods.”

… The Republican playbook is all about fear. By wallowing in wedge issues and demonizing The Other, the party hopes to frighten voters out of their wits — and into voting for GOP candidates who, like Mr. Trump, would capitalize on division by flirting with the electorate’s most noxious elements.”
And in a piece looking at political environment in ArizonaCNN’s Dan Merica highlights how President Trump recorded an ugly, anti-immigrant robocall, paid for by the RNC, for the deep-red AZ-8 open congressional race. Trump’s robocall highlighted that if a Democratic candidate wins, “illegal immigrants will pour right over your border, bringing their drugs and their crime with them.”

Concluded Tobar, “Democrats shouldn’t take the bait or run for the hills in the face of these attacks. Instead, they should stand up for American values, remain focused on the core issues that voters care about, and denounce divisiveness and scare tactics.”

For more information on GOP’s anti-immigrant attacks, check out the political memo from America’s Voice and access more information and analysis on our 2017 election eve poll of Virginia voters.