Former White House aide and noted white supremacist Stephen Miller is and will always be a loser, but he was especially one this week when his barrage of despicable, racist political ads proved to be a $40 million flop.
Miller had been assuring his racist base that a “red wave” was in store for Republicans, doing his part by launching massively offensive ads in more than a dozen states that sobbed about supposed “anti-white bigotry” and pushed violent anti-immigrant imagery. He funded these ad though his America Legal First organization, while others were pushed by his associates. He wanted to make anti-immigrant animus, as well as anti-trans hostility, the issues.
But this week, voters largely rejected this bigoted agenda. While votes are still being counted, and certainly some GOP candidates have emerged victorious, there was no red wave. Pro-immigrant measures all across the country have won, or are leading. Democratic candidates who leaned into immigration, like John Fetterman, will be in office next year.
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“Stephen Miller predicted that Republicans’ nativism would help usher in a ‘red tsunami,’ but his tens of millions of dollars’ worth of overt racism and nativism fell flat in 2022—just as his similar election predictions about the power of GOP nativism failed in past cycles,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, executive director of immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice. “The strategy of trying to mobilize the MAGA base around extreme Trumpian grievances and anti-immigrant fear-mongering fell flat.”
The organization and its partners on Tuesday released a massive poll of more than 12,000 midterm voters revealing that despite the tactics, a majority of voters remained firmly in support of a pathway to citizenship. “68% support legalizing Dreamers,” while “63% support legal status and citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” tweeted Cárdenas.
Relatedly, exit polling from CBS News on Tuesday found that more than half of respondents, 54%, said immigrants in the U.S. today do more to help the country than hurt it. It’s not surprising when considering that most Americans favor a pathway to citizenship. It is surprising when considering that Republicans like Miller, along with so much of the mainstream media, constantly team up to frame immigrants as a problem.
The proof that Miller’s racist scheme failed is in the pudding. Republicans’ effort to make roads less safe by repealing the Massachusetts law that opens driver’s licenses to eligible undocumented immigrants failed. With 95% of the vote in, nearly 54% of voters said the pro-immigrant law should stay. We are keeping our fingers crossed for Arizona’s Proposition 308, which opens in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrant youth. With 61% of the vote in as of Wednesday, it’s slightly leading.
Among candidates, Democrat John Fetterman defeated long-time New Jersey resident Mehmet Oz. Rather that shirking away from anti-immigrant attacks, as some squeamish Democrats have tended to do in the face of GOP fearmongering, Fetterman “successfully blunted and countered those attacks by doubling down on his belief that ‘immigration makes America, America,’” Immigration Hub said in a release received by Daily Kos. In Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly remains ahead of Peter Thiel puppet Blake Masters, who embraced white nationalist conspiracy theory as part of his anti-immigrant platform. In Massachusetts, Republican gubernatorial nominee Geoff Diehl was a major figure in attempting to repeal state law that opened driver’s licenses to undocumented residents. He lost to State Attorney General Maura Healey, who is also an openly gay woman.
Citizens for Sanity, a group tied to Miller, also spent more than $3 million in New Hampshire in the past few days alone to boost right-wing candidate Don Bolduc, who was challenging incumbent Maggie Hassan. Bolduc lost, as did the right-wing candidates vying for the state’s two U.S. House seats. Additionally, Democrat James Roesener became the first openly trans man elected to the state legislature. And while Sen. Raphael Warnock and one-man abortion provider Herschel Walker are heading to a runoff in Georgia, the reverend leads slightly. This is despite Miller flooding the state with ads, which were so gross that the NAACP issued a call urging radio stations to pull them from the air. Remember: Miller is the GOP.
“Once again, the American people took matters into their own hands and turned conventional wisdom on its head,” Cárdenas said. “Voters rejected GOP extremism, rejected immigration as a wedge issue and defeated Trump and Stephen Miller’s millions on violent anti-immigrant ads, while Latino voters held steady for Democrats. Despite Republicans’ confident assertions that their relentless nativism would be a core part of their midterm sweep, immigration again failed to deliver as a powerful GOP wedge issue.”
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