Three Republican candidates in this year’s midterms have been disavowed by the Republican National Committee for their racist and anti-Semitic views — including one who, according to a local television news poll, is leading among Republicans in the primary for California’s Senate election.
“While they have no chance of winning, we nonetheless condemn these candidates and their hateful, racist views in the strongest possible terms,” an RNC official said in a statement to Yahoo News Wednesday. “There’s no place for them in the Republican Party.”
The statement followed reports that in one local poll the leading contender to challenge California Sen. Dianne Feinstein this November, polling at 18 percent in a 32-person race, is an obscure newcomer named Patrick Little, running on a platform of making America “free of Jews.”
Little, who sees himself as a “civil rights advocate” for white Americans and seeks “to liberate America from the Zionist occupational government,” told Yahoo News that he chose to run as a Republican because “third parties tend not to win.” He said, however, he gave up on trying to work with local Republican executive committees a month or two ago when “none of them returned my calls.”
In a primary that has attracted relatively little attention — Feinstein is heavily favored to win reelection — it’s not clear how many poll respondents knew who Little is or what he stands for.
In a statement issued to members of the press, Matt Fleming, communications director for the California Republican Party, said: “Mr. Little has never been an active member of our party. I do not know him and I am not familiar with his positions. But in the strongest terms possible, we condemn anti-Semitism and any other form of religious bigotry, just as we do with racism, sexism or anything else that can be construed as a hateful point of view.”
But Little is just the latest congressional candidate to tout racist and anti-Semitic views.
Paul Nehlen, a prolific Twitter troll who, before he was banned from the site in February for a racist post about the actress and British royal fiancée Meghan Markle, had published a steady stream of diatribes against Jews. He is the self-described “pro-white” contender in a narrow field of Wisconsin Republicans vying for outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan’s seat.
Arthur Jones is an outspoken Holocaust denier who, despite being disavowed by the Illinois Republican Party, ran unopposed in the March primary in the heavily Democratic Third Congressional District, representing parts of Chicago’s Cook County. He will be on the ballot as a Republican in November.
Marilyn Mayo, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League specializing in right-wing extremism, pointed out that extremists running for office is “not necessarily a new trend. … They often run on the Republican ticket,” she said. Both Nehlen and Jones have run in the past.
What is new, however, “is that there seems to be a feeling among these candidates that their time has really come, that their views are more likely to be embraced by people,” said Mayo. “There’s that sense that in this political climate that we’re in right now, that more extreme views are somehow more acceptable.”
Mayo credits the rise of the alt-right, which has fed off the notion of widespread discontent among white Americans, as well as the popular rejection of “political correctness” with fueling what she sees as a normalization of bigoted views.
“I think this is something that has empowered and emboldened white supremacists to just be blatant, not even to hide their views at all,” she said, noting that former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke began wearing a suit and moderating his rhetoric when he ran for president and various congressional seats in the 1980s and ’90s.
“These guys are not interested in changing how they voice their views at all,” she said, referring to Little and others like him who are running this year. “They’re just blatantly racist and anti-Semitic.”
Little credits Donald Trump with fueling his political involvement and controversial views.
“Donald Trump, during his run, engaged me in a way that I hadn’t been engaged since the tea party,” Little told Yahoo News, describing Trump as “the great white hope,” and crediting him with restoring “white people’s faith in the electoral system for the first time since, I don’t know, George Wallace.”
But Little, who says he was previously pro-Israel, now believes that Jewish control over U.S. government has prevented Trump from fulfilling most of the promises he made to white Americans during his campaign.
“Donald Trump was dog whistling about Jewish supremacism during his campaign,” Little said, referring to the then presidential candidate’s comments about “globalists,” a term with anti-Semitic connotations. “I’m doing more than dog whistling.”
Little and the others are considered long shots at best, without the support of their own party. But Little said he was heartened by the results of a poll, released by NPR and others in October 2017, which found that 55 percent of white Americans believe they face discrimination.
“When I realized the percentage was that high, and when I realized they would actually turn out, I decided to run,” he said.
Read more from Yahoo News:
- As House wraps up Russia inquiry, top Dem on Senate probe says there’s no end in sight
- After relief debacle, Puerto Rico’s governor looks for political revenge in Florida
- Who will be the next governor of California? And why it matters to the rest of the country
- What Mueller’s questions for Trump reveal about the investigation
- Photos: A look back at the work of Shah Marai, AFP photojournalist killed in Kabul