June 11, 2018

White Supremacists and the Upcoming U.S. Elections

By Melissa Ryan

White supremacists are building long term power in the Republican Party. That should worry every American.

The white supremacists are running! Political coverage of 2018 is chock full of stories about nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists running for office this year. According to The Hill there are at least 8 known such candidates running for office this year. Patrick Little, perhaps the most well known nazi candidate even has supporters running anti-semitic robocalls on his behalf. Coverage of nazi candidates reached a fever pitch when the Huffington post ran a detailed article about Nathan Larson, a self-identified white supremacist and “quasi-neoreactionary libertarian” candidate who also happens to be a proud pedophile. Larson has run for office before but believes that he has a chance this time because “A lot of people who disagreed with someone like Trump … might vote for them anyway just because the establishment doesn’t like them.”

Meanwhile Trump and the GOP, eager not to repeat Alabama’s special election, have embraced Mitch McConnell-approved, more mainstream candidates. Even Steve Bannon, who less than a year ago was still bragging his ability to primary the GOP establishment and take down McConnell admitted recently that “People are starting to realize that the anti-establishment thing is kind of a luxury we can’t afford right now.”

Trump is careful whenever he’s made an endorsement to emphasize the candidate’s ability to win. He also reminds his base about Alabama and how they can’t afford another loss. Here’s what Trump never does: disavow their ideas. State Republican parties have given Trump cover, with the GOP in Illinois denouncing the Congressional candidate who won the Republican nomination and California Republicans kicking Patrick Little out of their convention. But as we saw after Charlottesville, Trump just can’t bring himself to disavow white supremacy and risk offending his base.

Racists running for and holding elected office isn’t a new phenomenon, especially at the local level. They’ve always been among us. Social media has shone a new light on candidates and elected officials with bigoted views, usually when they run their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’m glad that so many reporters are tracking these comments now. Voters deserve to know when a candidate holds bigoted views that will inevitably affect how they would govern.

Here’s what concerns me. Trump and the GOP are still pretty effectively threading the needle. The recent coverage of nazis running for office as if it’s a new phenomenon helps them do it. Because it focuses on the insane things that individual outlier candidates are saying rather than the normalization of these ideas. There have always been horrible people running for and holding elected office. The recent focus on these candidates gives Trump and the GOP an easy out.

Meanwhile white supremacists are building long term power in the Republican Party. The Daily Beast reports that Charlottesville speaker and far right YouTube personality James Allsup was just elected to a Republican Party post in Washington State. As a college student Allsup was President of Washington State University’s College Republicans and was forced to resign from the position after Charlottesville. White supremacist party building worries me a hell of a lot more than individual candidates. Having the infrastructure in place makes it a hell of a lot easier for the the next Nathan Larson, Arthur Jones, or Patrick Little run and win.

President Trump has as yet failed to condemn the white supremacists who are standing on the Republican party ticket in the upcoming elections. With a history of failing to condemn white supremacism, dating back to Charlottesville and beyond, this should come as no surprise.

 



This piece was originally published on June 10, 2018 in the Ctrl Alt-Right Delete newsletter. To read the June 10 Ctrl Alt-Right Delete in which it appeared, click here.