A recent article on the major news website Vox. com began with a terrifying statement:
“In at least five state and national races across the country, the Republican Party is dealing with an uncomfortable problem. Their party’s candidate is either a card-carrying Nazi, a Holocaust denier, a proud white supremacist, or all of the above.”
In one way, this should not be so surprising. After all, President Trump last year called some of the racists and white supremacists who marched under the banner of the swastika in Charlottesville, Virginia “very fine people.” As they walked down the street, the white-nationalist protesters chanted “blood and soil,” the English translation of a Nazi slogan. One of the men seen marching with the fascist group American Vanguard, James A. Fields, deliberately rammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer.
During his presidential campaign, Trump used clear anti-Semitic tropes and dog whistles. Both as a candidate and since 2017 as president, scarcely a week has gone by without him making some new bigoted statements against Africans, African Americans, Muslims and Hispanics.
A report issued in February by the Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic incidents rose by almost 60 percent in 2017, an unprecedented jump and surely no coincidence. “A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community – from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, and children harassing children at school,” said ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt. “These incidents came at a time when we saw a rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in society.”
A respected national poll this month found that 49 percent of US voters believe that President Trump is a racist – an astounding figure. Forty seven percent do not believe so.
So it should be no surprise that candidates who are proud Jew-haters, Holocaust deniers, white supremacists and racists should have started to infiltrate the Republican Party. We should take no comfort from the fact that none of these individuals are expected to win in the upcoming November mid-term elections. Hitler also started small. Support for the Nazi Party, was less than three percent of eligible voters in 1924. It rose to 31 percent in July 1932, 27 percent in November 1932, and 39 percent in March 1933 when Hitler came to power.
Who are these openly racist Republicans? In North Carolina, Russell Walker, a white supremacist, is running for the State House of Representatives. His website states that “the Jews are NOT Semitic; they are satanic as they all descend from Satan.”
In Illinois, the official candidate for the third congressional district, running for the US House of Representatives is Arthur Jones whose campaign website features a section called “Holocaust?” in which he argues that the “idea that six million Jews, were killed by the National Socialist government of Germany, in World War II, is the biggest, blackest lie in history.”
In Wisconsin, there is Paul Nehlen, a candidates running for the seat of retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was banned from Twitter after posting a photo mocking Meghan Markle for her biracial heritage.
In Virginia, the winner of the Republican primary and official candidate for the US Senate is Cory Stewart, a one-time consultant for Nehlen, who has campaigned under the Confederate flag and claims that removing statues of Confederate Civil War figures is akin to terrorism. Stewart, who was warmly embraced by Trump, won almost 137,000 votes in his primary victory. Win or lose, he will garner hundreds of thousands more in the election on Nov.6.
Israelis, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have become fond of President Trump and the Republicans, should ponder these disturbing facts.
Clearly, it is incumbent on the Republican Party to purge itself of these disgusting candidates and their hateful ideology. But that will be difficult, if not impossible, to do as long as Trump remains the head of their party.
The rest of us should keep our eyes and ears open and be fully aware of the growing danger.