When White Supremacy Becomes a Campaign Tactic

If former Sheriff Joe Arpaio hadn’t entered the Republican Senate primary in Arizona, Kelly Ward might have been able to make a run at beating Martha McSally, who currently leads in the polls. As it stands now, Arpaio and Ward seem to be splitting the “deplorables” vote against the candidate that has the backing of the entire Republican establishment.

In an effort to boost her position ahead of next week’s primary, Ward is taking a bus tour of the state and has invited Mike Cernovich to join her. In case you haven’t ever heard of him, the Southern Poverty Law Center collected a few of his quotes.

  • “Today we have a moment of silence for Trayvon Martin’s rape victims. Kidding! He got got before he was able to rape anyone.”
  • “I went from libertarian to alt-right after realizing tolerance only went one way and diversity is code for white genocide.”
  • “The ‘alt-right’ hasn’t killed anyone, but #BlackLivesMatter regularly slaughters the innocent. Know the real threat. Think! #Dallas.”
  • “South Africa is learning what happens when whites are exterminated. Total decay and chaos, rape, murder.”
  • “Not being a slut is the only proven way to avoid AIDS. If you love Black women, slut shame them.”

Of course, people in the media have asked Ward why she wanted to campaign with someone like Cernovich. If I simply reported what she said in response, you might not believe me. So here it is on video:

Ward came right out and said that campaigning with a white supremacist was a “campaign hook” to get people to pay attention to her bus tour. During an appearance on MSNBC, Ward was asked the same question and replied that Cernovich has an audience she wants to reach.

White supremacists have the right to say any vile thing that comes out of their mouths–and Ward has a right to use that as a hook for her campaign. But the rest of us can note that a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate is openly courting the white supremacist vote while assuming that a smart campaign strategy includes using their leaders as attention-getting props. The hate that Republicans have often tried to hide with dog-whistles is coming out of the closet. And it’s being exploited in a whole new way.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .