Stephen Miller, the nativist policy advisor to the insurrectionist former president, is once again tied to bogus ads intended to rile up white people over perceived grievances. Politico reports that the noted white supremacist’s America Legal First organization has been paying for radio ads complaining about supposed “anti-white bigotry” by the Biden administration, on issues ranging from COVID-19 funds to disaster aid. “When did racism against white people become okay?” the ad asks.
This is, of course, complete bullshit. Conservatives like to proclaim that “facts don’t care about your feelings,” yet these ads are running on feeling alone, “amplifying tropes that have historically been used to generate backlash to minority groups,” the report notes. The ads are running mostly in Georgia, where Sen. Raphael Warnock is in a tight race against one-man abortion provider Herschel Walker.
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Miller’s group has already been tied to racist ads running in a number of western states, too. Viewers of a Padres vs. Dodgers game last month may have seen what Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik described as “an openly racist commercial blaming President Biden and other Democrats for illegal immigration.” Similar to a nativist ad from Republican candidate Blake Masters, the ad depicts masses at the southern border. Specifically, brown masses. “Even by GOP attack ad standards, Citizens for Sanity’s ghastly creation is extraordinary,” The Nation noted.
“The ad identifies its sponsor only as ‘Citizens for Sanity,’ but that last line should give you a further clue: It’s an organization of several former Trump aides who spearheaded his administration’s attacks on immigrants,” Hiltzik noted. He wrote that “Citizens for Sanity” officials are associated with, you guessed it, America Legal First. That organization was founded with the explicit goal of sabotaging the Biden administration through the courts.
Daily Kos’ Rebekah Sager has previously reported how Miller sued the state of New York for allegedly prioritizing non-white COVID-19 patients for treatment. “COVID-19 is an X-ray into our society,” Sager wrote. “And data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lay it out clearly. Death rates among Black and Hispanic/Latino people are much higher than for non-Hispanics in all age categories.” Of course, leave Miller to deduce from that an unfounded belief that white people are being tipped off of wheelchairs and left out to die. “Miller, like Trump, like many MAGA supporters, will never understand racial disparities, in the economy, jobs, wealth, and certainly in health,” Sager continued.
What is reality is that Miller was just itching for a public health crisis, any public health crisis, in order to usher in emergency powers that could be used to block and expel Black and brown migrants at the southern border. He got it in the novel coronavirus pandemic, and was part of the political campaign pressuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement the Title 42 order. Public health experts said then, and have continued to say today, that there’s no evidence the policy would do anything to slow down the virus.
Further quoted in Politico’s report is Gene Hamilton, an America Legal First vice president, Citizens for Sanity member, and anti-immigrant ally to Miller. Hamilton, a former staffer to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, “was a steadfast proponent of anti-immigrant policies while in the Senate and has carried that work into the Trump administration,” The Plot Against Immigrants previously said. Open Secrets said this past fall that court documents revealed that Hamilton “admitted writing the Department of Homeland Security memo that formally terminated Deferred Action for Children Arrivals.” The Supreme Court would later rule 5-4 that the insurrectionist administration had unlawfully terminated the successful and popular program.
The ads are racist and extreme, and they’re also the GOP platform. One report from this past fall showed that hundreds of GOP ads echoed the “invasion” rhetoric used by racist mass killers. Immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice had said it “found over 2,130 ads and 400 campaign emails that use nativist dog-whistles this cycle.” Masters’ despicable ad, in particular, turned asylum-seeking families and individuals into a cartoon mass attempting to cross the southern border. Zachary Mueller, political director at America’s Voice, said, “The faceless animation he uses is more reminiscent of a zombie videogame than the real-world issues at hand.”
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The 2022 midterms are just around the corner, and you sent us a ton of fantastic questions for this week’s episode of The Downballot.
Among the many topics we cover: which states are likely to report results slowly—and how will those results change over time; the House districts that look like key bellwethers for how the night might go, and which might offer surprises; why and how Democrats make the hard decisions on which races to triage; the top legislative chambers to keep an eye on; and plenty more!
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