Arizona’s primaries are set for tomorrow, and among the Republicans running is Blake Masters, a Peter Thiel-funded candidate who in recent weeks has been pushing racist ads and conspiracy theories “that could repel Latinos in the state,” The New York Times reports.
Immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice noted last month that Masters’ ad “both echos the ‘white replacement’ and ‘invasion’ conspiracies that have inspired several domestic terrorists and renders refugees into faceless animations massing at the border wall.” This is what he truly believes, pushing the racist theory across various mediums.
The white replacement-pushing Masters is likely to emerge the victor in his race, The New York Times said, even as Republicans have shamelessly touted the win of Mayra Flores, a Latina representative from Texas. “But anti-immigrant policies in Arizona have been far more damaging to Republicans there, and Mr. Masters is going even further than the party has in the past.”
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America’s Voice noted that Masters has in fact “put forth some of the most vile and overt” ads. He tweeted one with the caption “end the invasion,” using the exact same white supremacist rhetoric spewed by racist mass murderers. America’s Voice noted that the ad turned asylum-seeking families and individuals into an animated mass attempting to cross the southern border. Zachary Mueller, political director at America’s Voice, said he’s “courting real-world political violence with this ad.”
“The faceless animation he uses is more reminiscent of a zombie videogame than the real-world issues at hand,” Mueller said last month. “It adds an additional level of concern to an already dangerous set of lies because the animation creates even more distance from the humanity of those seeking asylum at our border and makes them not real. This particular style of dehumanization is deeply concerning when it is paired with a racist conspiracy theory that already has a significant body count.”
But violence is a Republican platform now. Jim Lamon, who is competing against Masters in the primary, reveled in the outrage that followed his violent ad, which showed him shooting at actors portraying President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Mark Kelly. Featured in the ad was Border Patrol Union President Brandon Judd, who has also promoted the racist “great replacement” conspiracy theory while an active border agent.
Top Republicans, like number three House Republican Elise Stefanik, have embraced this racist rhetoric, refusing to denounce it even after it was cited by a racist mass shooter in Buffalo. Stefanik has also shamelessly applauded Flores’ election win. America’s Voice tried to ask Flores if she disavowed Stefanik’s view, but she blocked the organization’s campaign director, Mario Carrillo, on Twitter. So then I tried to ask her. She blocked me too.
“In both Nevada and Arizona, Latino voters are gaining political clout,” The New York Times reported. “They make up an increasingly large share of the voting population in both states, and have helped swing many recent statewide elections to Democrats. Those wins were crucial in sending both Barack Obama and President Joe Biden to the White House, and handing Democrats control of the Senate.”
That includes flipping Arizona for the first time in more than two decades and electing Kelly, thanks to the years-long work led by Latino and Indigenous activists. Their organizing intensified following the passage of racist legislation over a decade ago, galvanizing communities since to build up an impressive résumé of victories, including the 2016 defeat of former Maricopa County sheriff and noted racist Joe Arpaio. Kelly will now face off against one of these candidates in November. (Daily Kos’ Hunter has noted that several GOP candidates are already crying “rigged!” should things not go well for them tomorrow.)
“We all know you need to engage Latino voters in order to win statewide,” Arizona Democratic Party chair and state Sen. Raquel Terán told The New York Times. “There’s a real hypocrisy of [Masters] going out and talking about these replacement theories and then trying to play it that he is the person who is going to be solving your life’s problems.”
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