tags: Press Releases

The GOP and Their Extremist Allies Want Us to Become Numb to Violence

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Vanessa Cárdenas: “The stakes are too high and the dangers too great to our democracy and real people’s lives to ignore or wave away the Republicans’ embrace of ‘replacement,’ ‘invasion’ and other right wing calls to action that threaten violence”

Washington, DC – Republican and right wing figures are escalating their dehumanizing rhetoric against immigrants and their political opponents. In the process, they are heightening the potential of more violence by unhinged supporters.

Washington Post political correspondent David Weigel’s latest analysis is titled, “On the campaign trail, many Republicans talk of violence.” He writes of Republican candidates across the country who are describing:

“… a country that was not merely in trouble, but being destroyed by leaders who despise most Americans — effectively part of a civil war. In both swing states and safe seats, many Republicans say that liberals hate them personally and may turn rioters or a police state on people who disobey them.

…many Republicans also portray Biden as a malevolent figure — a vessel for a hateful leftist campaign to weaken America. ‘It’s purposeful,’ said former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who is running in next month’s special election for the state’s sole House seat, in an interview with former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon. ‘It’s all about the fundamental transformation of America. You only fundamentally transform something for which you have disdain.’

That argument has been dramatized in ads that, for instance, show one armed candidate appearing to charge into the home of a political enemy, and another warning of ‘the mob’ that threatens ordinary Americans. In many cases the candidates are brandishing firearms while threatening harm to liberals or other enemies.”

Immigration is a central plank in the paranoid Republican worldview Weigel describes, portrayed as a fundamental component of the imagined liberal plot to destroy and transform America, as last week’s report from America’s Voice, “Republicans Embrace Dangerous White Nationalist “Replacement” and “Invasion” Conspiracies as a Midterm Strategy” documents. 

Based on research from the America’s Voice GOP ad tracking project, our report identified 546 pieces of Republican political messaging that use ‘white replacement’ and a ‘migrant invasion’ in the 2022 cycle alone; racist and baseless conspiracies that have inspired multiple domestic terrorists to kill dozens.  

Just last weekend, the dangerous radicalism of the GOP was on full display: Donald Trump amplifying again the “invasion” conspiracy at an Arizona rally;  and Rep. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene openly called for the Republican party to “ be the party of nationalism”  at theTurning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida. This week promises to bring more anti-immigrant ugliness and right wing extremism, with Trump returning to Washington and speaking as part of the America First Policy Institute summit.

In contrast, Texas Democratic candidate for Governor Beto O’Rourke is offering a different model for how candidates can and should talk about the border and immigration – engage the debate; define the GOP and their extremism; and finally, assert values-based solutions. As O’Rourke stated in response to a potential voter’s border security question: 

“If you want to come to this country … you want to join a family member, you want to work a job, you want to claim asylum or seek refuge, we want you to be able to do that, but you have to do that legally, you have to do that in an orderly fashion, and we’re going to make sure that we honor the laws on our side. The current governor, on the eve of that El Paso shooting, sent out a mailer talking about an invasion, asking Texans to defend themselves and take matters into their own hands. What if Texas elected a governor who would work on rewriting our immigration laws, to match our ideals and our values, our necessities and the reality we see? What if we had a governor who wasn’t trying to scare you about people coming over here to get you? So let’s make sure that we do the right thing: Safe, legal, orderly and we rewrite our laws to reflect our values.” (watch the underlying video exchange, featuring a former Abbott and Trump voter who is convinced by O’Rourke’s answer).

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director for America’s Voice,“Violence should never become accepted or mainstreamed in our political system. Yet the GOP and their allies are embracing a dangerous rhetoric that divides us and that fosters violence among their followers. They want us to become numb to the rhetoric and violence that is fueled by their increasing use of hate speech. And their hate speech isn’t just confined to generating violence against immigrants; it is across the board: women, voting rights, gun safety. We cannot afford to be desensitized to the Republican and right wing threats of violence and the way their anti-immigrant, white nationalist conspiracies fit into this dangerous and paranoid worldview. The stakes are too high and the dangers too great to our democracy and real people’s lives to ignore or wave away the Republicans’ embrace of ‘replacement,’ ‘invasion’ and other right wing calls to action that threaten violence.”