Trumpism has emboldened white supremacists to come out of the shadows.
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The seeds sowed by Trumpism are beginning to bear fruit in America — and the harvest is rather rotten. Donald Trump openly pandered to white racial resentment in the 2016 election and, unfortunately, was awarded the most important job in the world.
A study by Leonardo Bursztyn of the University of Chicago found that Trumpism hasn’t bred more racists in the U.S. … at least, not yet. But it has emboldened people with xenophobic views to feel more comfortable expressing them in public.
It’s impossible to separate the growing visibility of white supremacists under the guise of the alt-right without associating it with Trumpism. Now, more candidates with white supremacist ties are emerging from the shadows to run for public office.
According to Jared Holt, a researcher and writer at Right Wing Watch, the current political cycle is different than those in the past. “Fringe candidates have made a lot more noise and have been more transparent with their fringe world view and alliances with extremists than we've seen in prior cycles,” he told Al Jazeera.
Here’s a list of candidates with white supremacist ties currently running for Congress:
As reported by GOOD, Jones was recently named the Republican nominee for the heavily-Democratic Illinois 3rd Congressional District. He has unsuccessfully run for the Republican nomination several times in the past but became the nominee this year after running unopposed.
Jones is the former leader of the American Nazi Party and now heads the America First Committee. According to him, this hate group restricts membership to “any white American citizen of European, non-Jewish descent.”
Abarr is a candidate for Montana’s House District 21 who made headlines in 2014 after inviting non-whites to join the Rocky Mountain Knights, his newly-formed branch of the Ku Klux Klan. “The KKK is for a strong America,” Abarr told a local newspaper. “White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan.”
Abarr would later claim that the Rocky Mountain Knights were a “hoax” he created to “to infuse fear in the LGBTQ community and racial minorities in Montana.” He now claims to “support LGTBQ rights” and no longer views minorities as “a dire threat to White people.”
Abarr recently left the Republican Party and is now a Democrat. On his website, Abarr’s platform includes “pride and dignity for whites” and fighting “widespread discrimination and hatred targeted at European Americans.”
Paul Nehlen is running as a Republican to replace House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls him “a defiant mouthpiece for the racist ‘alt-right.’”
Nehlen was suspended from Twitter in January 2018 for violating rules banning racist and antisemitic content. He has also appeared on former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke’s podcast where he said, “Jews control the media.”
Nehlen’s Twitter account was suspended again after a racist tweet on Feb. 9. Nehlen posted a picture of Meghan Markle, the mixed-race actress and fiancee of Prince Harry, with her face replaced by a dark-skinned prehistoric Briton known as “Cheddar Man.”
The tweet prompted Wisconsin Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker to speak out against him. “He disqualified himself from public office a long time ago and while his Twitter feed is beyond disturbing, it should be ignored so he’s not given the attention that he desperately craves,” Ryan spokesperson Kevin Seifert said.
But Nehlen doesn’t believe he’s a white supremacist. “I reject being called a White Supremacist, because clearly Pro-White isn’t White Supremacy unless Pro-Jewish is Jewish Supremacy [sic],” he told The Washington Post.
Sean Donahue is running to replace Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA). In January, a Pennsylvania Republican women’s group had to cancel a candidate forum after inviting Donahue to speak. A fellow GOP candidate, Andrew Lewis, boycotted the event, leading to its cancellation.
Donahue responded to the cancellation with a nine-page statement which included:
“If we do not want to control immigration from South and Central America, we must accept Whites will ultimately become the racial minority in the United States … If I am elected, I promise to preserve the American dream for Americans and to deny that dream to foreigners.”
Donahue ran for mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, as a member of the American Freedom Party in 2015. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the party was established by racist skinheads “to deport immigrants and return the United States to white rule.”
Last year, Donahue was convicted of making terrorist threats to a district attorney.