tags: Press Releases

The GOP Closing Argument is Ugly, Extreme and Racist

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America’s Voice Political Director Zachary Mueller: “Republicans are relying on nativist lies and white nationalist conspiracies as a core part of their midterm closing argument, while the remainder of the GOP, including its leadership, languishes in complicit silence.” 

Washington, DC – In the homestretch of the midterm elections, GOP candidates and outside allies are going into overdrive on racist and nativist advertising and messaging (as America’s Voice’s GOP ad tracking project details). Notably, the lurid lies and mainstreaming of white nationalist conspiracies are facing no pushback from fellow Republicans. Below, several outlets highlight examples of the GOP’s vile focus in the homestretch and the implications: 

In the Washington Post, Liz Goodwin writes, “Racist GOP appeals heat up in final weeks before midterms,” stating:

“Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) suggested at a rally in Nevada this month that Black people are criminals. A day later in Arizona, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) appeared to refer to a specious conspiracy theory about immigrants that has been associated with white nationalists — baseless claims that at least two GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate have echoed. And in Wisconsin and North Carolina, Democratic candidates for the Senate have faced a barrage of ads on crime that feature mug shots of Black defendants.

As the campaign heats up in the final weeks before November’s midterm elections, so have overt appeals to racial animus and resentment. And the toxic remarks appear to be receiving less pushback from Republicans than in past years…

… Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, which works to counter antisemitism, said it has been ‘stunning’ to see a concept akin to the one shouted by white supremacists in Charlottesville in 2017 — ‘Jews will not replace us!’ — make its way to the political mainstream in this election cycle.

‘It is not new to see antisemitism or overt racism in politics,’ Greenblatt said. ‘What is new is after years … in which it was clear that to be credible in public life politicians had to reject prejudice, it’s now been normalized in ways that are really quite breathtaking.’”

In Al Jazeera, Jihan Abdalla writes, “Republicans bank on tough immigration line as US midterms near” with a subheader, “Republicans are using anti-migrant rhetoric to redirect focus away from other issues before midterms, experts say.” She notes:

“Many of the [GOP’s] political ads make false accusations that the Biden administration employs an ‘open borders policy’, while also promoting the false idea that migrants are responsible for bringing illicit drugs, specifically fentanyl, into the country.

These messages, said Zachary Mueller, political director of America’s Voice, an organisation that supports immigration reform in the US, have created a ‘spectre of fear’ about asylum seekers and refugees who are mainly from Central America and have been fleeing poverty, violence, political persecution and climate change.

In a July report, America’s Voice identified 121 political ads, 334 tweets and 91 campaign emails that referenced “white replacement” and “migrant invasion” in the 2022 election cycle. Both terms are a reference to a false, white nationalist conspiracy theory that claims that global ‘elites’ are deliberately replacing white people in the US with immigrants and people of colour.

‘We’re seeing an increase in the embrace of white nationalist talking points, talking about replacement and invasion,’ Mueller told Al Jazeera. ‘What we’ve seen this year is a real escalation in some of the rhetoric.’”

In his Philadelphia Inquirer column, Will Bunch writes, “Who’s behind those vile, right-wing political TV ads during the baseball playoffs?” highlighting Stephen Miller’s association with the organization “Citizens for Sanity,” which has been running noxious ads with lurid depictions of crime and violence. Bunch writes:

“Every few innings, the dark, grainy TV spots — with a flood of unsettling images of urban crime and civic unrest, or large migrant caravans streaming toward the U.S. border — broke up the stream of otherwise cheerful spots for iPhones or car insurance. One says ‘illegal immigration is draining our paychecks, wrecking our schools, ruining our hospitals and threatening your family’ — blaming President Biden, and telling Democrats to ‘stop hurting our children,’ against an ominous, empty playground swing. The crime spot blames liberals for a wave of ‘violence, bloodshed and death’ as men with machine guns roam an urban wasteland. You won’t be shocked to learn that the ads are deliberately dishonest … 

…The required tagline lists the sponsor as a new group calling itself Citizens for Sanity. On one level, thanks to some excellent research by the campaign-finance watchdog Open Secrets, we know a lot about who these Citizens for Sanity are: the very worst, xenophobic remnants of Team Trump, offering America not just a new low for the 2022 midterms but a sneak preview of the nightmare that the 45th president’s 2024 comeback crusade is likely to be.

Open Secrets reports a close overlap between the trustees of Citizens for Sanity — as identified to the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC — and the pro-Trump America First Legal Foundation, which is spearheaded by Stephen Miller, the former Trump White House official behind harsh immigration policies such as family separation at the southern border.”

According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director for America’s Voice:

“To a deeply disturbing degree, Republicans are relying on nativist lies and white nationalist conspiracies as a core part of their midterm closing argument, while the remainder of the GOP, including its leadership, languishes in complicit silence.  

Notably, the men instrumental in family separation are now trying to be Lee Atwater for the social media era, walking right up to the line of explicit racist appeals to voters. As part of our ongoing GOP ad tracking project and its ad database, we upload ads we encounter to YouTube so that they are archived if campaigns take them down. It’s a sign of the GOP times that YouTube’s content moderators flagged one of the latest Stephen Miller-allied ads we attempted to post as violating its standards for violent or graphic imagery. 

Unfortunately, the murders in Buffalo, Pittsburgh, El Paso and the recent migrant shootings in West Texas and another plot to kill migrants uncovered in Missouri offer real world examples of why the embrace and mainstreaming of these lies and this hatred is so dangerous. Regardless of the political efficacy of these GOP tactics, they court violent bigotry throughout the nation and are a corrosive acid to the promise of a multi-racial democracy.”