State Sen. Dan Bishop, the GOP candidate in next month’s special election for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, has yet to offer even a hint of sympathy to the victims of this weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. But on Sunday night, he did find time to spend an hour on Twitter berating Democrats who’ve called out the far-right hatred that has sparked so much of this violence as “clowns”:
This whole “clown” business has been circulating among Republicans for some time—the ne’er-do-wells at the National Republican Congressional Committee, for instance, have been tweeting out creepy, crappy clown Photoshops for months.
But it’s not just a particularly lame joke. It turns out there’s a disturbing genesis. Jared Holt, one of the tireless folks at Right Wing Watch, reported in April that white supremacists have begun adopting a version of the infamous far-right “Pepe the Frog” meme decked out in clown garb that they call “Honkler,” to symbolize “their exasperation over an imagined state of collapse in the Western hemisphere that they largely blame on immigrants and minority groups.”
The Forward’s Aiden Pink explained further, “While some users depict themselves as clowns who are ‘in’ on the ‘joke’ of the alleged downfall of white society in a multiracial country, others have targeted their supposed enemies by depicting them as clowns.” The Twitter account for a white supremacist podcast called “Goy Talk” took Honkler in precisely this direction:
Whether or not Bishop understands the significance of his “clown” slurs, the propagation of this meme from the cesspools of the internet directly to the highest levels of Republican power shows just how in thrall to the far-right today’s GOP is. (As a reminder of the kind of guy he is, Dan Bishop was the author of North Carolina’s infamous anti-trans “bathroom bill.”)
The idea of a cruel man like Bishop serving in Congress is repugnant, but fortunately, there’s a much better choice: Democrat Dan McCready, who very nearly won this seat last year in the face of a widespread Republican scheme to literally steal the election.
Please give $3 to help McCready defeat callous hatred and flip North Carolina’s 9th District blue!
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