WARNING: This does contain a sample of some of the hate speech that was cited in the original post. Kudos to Media Matters For America for catching this:
Following criticism of Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano paying Gab for campaign help, users of the far-right platform are responding by posting antisemitic death threats and calls for violence against Jewish people. Those posts included such hate speech as “exterminate all jews,” “WHERE IS ADOLPH WHEN HE IS NEEDED,” and, “Dear Lord, SMITE JOSH SHAPIRO, that weasel, lying Jew.”
Gab caters to far-right extremists, including people who have been banned from other social media platforms. Many of its users are antisemites and neo-Nazis who use the site to express their hatred toward Jewish people. Gab CEO Andrew Torba is a virulent antisemite who this year reposted praise of Gab as a place to get “differing opinions” on the Holocaust.
Gab’s extremist history is well-known, especially to people in Pennsylvania. In 2018, a Gab user posted antisemitic and violent remarks on the site before he allegedly killed 11 people in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.
Still, Mastriano said in a campaign filing that he paid $5,000 to Gab for “consulting” services on April 28. Shortly afterward, he did a video interview with Torba in which he praised the Gab founder for “giving us a platform for free speech” and said, “Thank God for what you’ve done.” Mastriano also made clear he followed Torba, telling him at one point that he “liked that one meme” the Gab CEO shared.
Mastriano knew what he was doing going onto Gab to do some anti-semitic dog whistling. Facing severe pressure, Mastriano has done a piss poor job distancing himself from this:
Torba is also not merely the impresario of a platform that is home to despicable hate directed at minorities as well as Jews. He’s someone who is himself antisemitic, as recent statements have made clear.
Torba went beyond the usual critique of some Democrats, especially those in law-enforcement positions like Shapiro, getting support from leftist billionaire George Soros, which ought to be considered fair comment and not anti-Semitic. Instead, he spoke of Mastriano as the leader of a “Christian movement” and specifically denounced Jewish conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin. He thinks they should be shunned because they are Jewish and therefore undermining his goal of making America an exclusively “Christian country.” Even after the first criticisms of his ties to Mastriano surfaced, he said that all those who are not Christians would be welcome, but only so long as they “repent.”
Indeed, he went even further in saying he wished to expand this sphere of Christian dominance to the entire planet, declaring, “Our generation of Christians is not buying dispensational Zionist lies,” a disparaging reference to the close ties that exist between mainstream evangelical Christians and the state of Israel.
That such a person would be regarded as an ally by Mastriano is troubling. But so intense is the distrust of the media and so strong is the instinct of many on the left to ignore all accusations about ties with extremists that Mastriano delayed for weeks saying anything to disassociate himself from such a bizarre and delusional personality.
It was only on July 27 after pressure and condemnations of his silence grew that he deleted his Gab account and finally stated that Torba “doesn’t speak for me or my campaign,” and added, “I reject antisemitism in any form.”
Still, Mastriano’s complaints about “smears from Democrats and the media” aren’t enough to answer the questions that must be posed about his decision to partner with Gab and Torba until it became politically expedient to back away. In order to fully defuse this controversy, he would have to explicitly state his condemnation of Torba. Moreover, he didn’t explicitly concede that Torba is an antisemite or say he was cutting all ties with him.
And it’s even more shameful how Pennsylvania Republicans are still sticking with Mastriano:
Shoring up some of the institutional support that had so far eluded his campaign, Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano picked up the endorsements of eight GOP Pennsylvania members of Congress on Monday, including U.S. Reps. Guy Reschenthaler and Mike Kelly.
Mr. Mastriano, a state senator, was endorsed by the entire GOP Congressional delegation in the state except for Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the Bucks County representative who has bucked the more Donald Trump-aligned wing of his party on numerous occasions in recent years, but may still end up supporting Mr. Mastriano.
Mr. Fitzpatrick’s spokeswoman told Politico on Monday that he hasn’t yet met or spoken with Mr. Mastriano “regarding his plan for Pennsylvania, but hopes to have the chance to do so prior to the Fall elections.”
Joining Mr. Reschenthaler and Mr. Kelly were Reps. Glenn Thompson, Lloyd Smucker, John Joyce, Fred Keller, Dan Meuser and Scott Perry. The eight signees stated in an open letter that Mr. Mastriano represents an alternative to the failed policy prescriptions of President Joe Biden and Democratic candidate for governor Josh Shapiro.
Meanwhile, Shapiro’s campaign has been finding new ways to keep his campaign active:
Starting Monday, ordering a free “Josh for Governor” yard sign will be as easy as responding to a text message for Pennsylvania voters.
The Josh Shapiro campaign’s new voter outreach program mixes voter file data and gig economy-like delivery services to create “a universe that is primed” to accept good old-fashioned yard signs. By leveraging the campaign’s texting program, volunteers in the campaign’s textbanking program will ask voters directly whether they’d like to receive a sign to support the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
Once a voter accepts, their information is sent over to the campaign, where the data is sorted into delivery routes. Then, volunteers sign up for delivery shifts and receive a route through a “delivery driver app.”
The campaign is using Circuit Route Planner, a mobile delivery app that promises to “make delivery easy for everyone” through coordinating routes for contract deliveries. For the Shapiro campaign, it means coordinating an ad hoc delivery network that connects supporters with both yard signs and campaign volunteers.
Health and Democracy are on the ballot this year and we need to get ready to keep Pennsylvania Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Fetterman, Shapiro and these Pennsylvania Democrats campaigns: