Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the Nazi who won their party's nomination this week — but he's not the only white supremacist representing the GOP in 2018.
Republicans are suddenly in a panic after a Nazi won their party's nomination for an Illinois congressional seat this week — but they have no one to blame but themselves.
Arthur Jones, who has a section on his campaign website devoted to Holocaust denial, ran unopposed as a Republican in the March 20 primary for the state's 3rd Congressional District.
Republicans could have run another candidate in the race, but they chose not to. It was only after Jones won the party's nomination — and sparked widespread outcry — that Republicans decided having a Nazi on the ballot in November might not be the best look.
Now the party is reportedly looking for an alternative candidate to run against Jones in November's midterm elections — an idea that apparently never occurred to them until the backlash hit.
According to the Washington Post, Republicans are considering an independent or write-in campaign for an alternative candidate in an effort to "mitigate the embarrassment of a neo-Nazi grabbing the party’s nomination."
In their desperate attempt to distance themselves from the Nazi who will represent their party in November, Republicans have even gone as far as blaming Democrats for Jones' victory — a victory that was only possible because the Republican Party failed to run another Republican candidate for Republican voters to choose from in the Republican primary.
They have no one to blame but themselves.
Jones' alignment with hate groups and espousal of overtly racist and anti-Semitic viewpoints was not exactly a secret before this week's primary election. He describes himself as a former leader of the American Nazi Party, and says he now leads a group open to “any white American citizen of European, non-Jewish descent.”
In addition to touting his holocaust denial, Jones' website also features photographs from various white supremacist events he has hosted, as well as pictures of himself holding banners calling for Muslims to be banned from entering the U.S.
None of this was enough to motivate Republicans to run another candidate against him, even though they've done so in the past when he ran for office.
But now that he is officially their party's nominee, Republicans are claiming Jones doesn't represent them.
"Arthur Jones is not a real Republican — he is a Nazi whose disgusting, bigoted views have no place in our nation’s discourse," Tim Schneider, the Illinois Republican Party chairman, said in a statement.
Jeremy Adler, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s campaign, called Jones' views "repugnant" and said they "have no place in our party."
But that's not exactly true.
Trump's candidacy and presidency energized white supremacists across the country, and many of them have found a home in the Republican Party.
According to the Huffington Post:
There are at least three white supremacists currently running for Congress, and a fourth running for a state House seat. Two other candidates — one of whom can unambiguously be called a white supremacist, and one who has ties to white supremacist groups but denies being a white supremacist himself — announced runs for public office, but have since dropped out of their respective races.
In addition to these candidates, there are a number of Republicans — many of whom are running for re-election in 2018 — who have closely aligned themselves with white supremacists by making appearances at events hosted by white supremacist groups, using white supremacist slogans, inviting known white supremacists to official government events, or granting interviews to overtly racist and/or anti-Semitic media outlets.
In Montana, former KKK organizer John Abarr is running as a Republican for the House of Representatives.
In Wisconsin, outspoken white supremacist Paul Nehlen is running to replace Paul Ryan. Nehlen — who has frequently appeared on "fascist white power podcasts" and recently cozied up to former KKK leader David Duke —was the preferred candidate of Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon until a slew of bad press forced Bannon to distance himself from the GOP candidate.
In Iowa, eight-term GOP congressman Steve King is up for re-election in 2018. While King has not officially declared himself to be a white supremacist, white supremacists have officially claimed him as one of their own.
Citing King's embrace of white supremacist rhetoric and policies, the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer called King "our guy," adding, "Steve King is basically an open white nationalist at this point.” He has also earned the support of hate groups for his vehemently anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim stances.
In Arizona, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is running as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat. He is best known for his bigoted anti-immigrant viewpoints and abusive treatment of inmates — including segregating Latino inmates into a separate jail he referred to as a "concentration camp." Arpaio has also granted at least five interviews to the American Free Press, an anti-Semitic publication founded by a Holocaust denier.
In Virginia, Republican Corey Stewart is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Stewart made headlines in 2017 for defending the white supremacists responsible for the deadly Charlottesville rally. During his run for governor in 2017, he also made frequent public appearances with Jason Kessler, the white supremacist who organized the rally.
There's a reason these candidates flock to the Republican Party. While Republicans may not want to associate themselves with white supremacists, the fact that white supremacists want to associate themselves with Republicans reflects how the GOP is perceived by far-right extremists.
The Republican Party gave a platform to bigotry and hate when they lined up behind Trump — and now, bigotry and hate are flocking to the party that opened its arms and welcomed them in.