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Combating the Nativist Narrative - Weekly Summary
Week of June 19, 2023
THREE OPPOSITION MESSAGES FROM THE WEEK
(1) Extremists fight over the spotlight with a dangerous and baseless effort to impeach Biden: On Tuesday, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) introduced articles of impeachment against the President, citing the pernicious and repeatedly debunked lie about fentanyl as well as the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory as grounds for his removal from office. The move caused Speaker Kevin McCarthy to fret about how the baseless partisan extremism would affect his majority and prompted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to call Bobert a “little bitch” on the House floor. While the Boebert-Greene spat and the House majority's inability to function may be entertaining, their spectacle of extremism that is holding Congress captive isn’t the messy harmlessness of reality TV but an active threat to public safety and the well-being of all working families. Boebert’s articles of impeachment channel the rhetoric of white nationalist domestic terrorists and further normalized the racist conspiracy theory. Boebert and the full Republican caucus that voted for this effort areactively courting more deadly political violence. Instead of the serious, albeit a bit less entertaining, work of legislating to improve the lives of the American people, House Republicans are embroiled in baseless political stunts that advance deadly conspiracies. Beyond normalizing racist lies, inaction on the part of Congress isn’t a neutral act but actively deleterious to the future of the nation. The extremist stunts by the House Republicans should be viewed through that lens. Also important to note that while some House Republicans tell the media about their discomfort with the agenda of the extremists in their caucus, for the most part, they vote with those extremists, as they did this week on Boebert’s resolution. Their votes matter more than their words.
COMBATING THE NARRATIVE: Behind the drama on the floor @RepDavidValadao voted to advance the anti-immigrant extremism of his fellow GOP. Votes speak a lot louder than words & he voted to move sham impeachment articles backed by the white nationalist great replacement conspiracy theory. No Mod Rs anymore.
(2) The House Majority continues to waste time and treasure on a bogus effort to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas: Over in the House Homeland Security Committee, GOP Members continue their weekly rinse-and-repeat nativist congressional hearing as they press a sham impeachment effort against DHS Secretary Mayorkas. At this week’s subcommittee hearing, the Majority continued their effort to fearmonger about a foreign terrorist threat stemming from a supposed open border, with scant evidence and in opposition to the current analysis of DHS. And last week the Committee dropped a document outlining the supposed offenses carried out by the Secretary that was expertly debunked by the American Immigration Council’s Aaron Reichlin-Melnick. Notably, their attacks included the continued existence of the DACA program as an offense against the Secretary. A clear display of their extremism as their attacks on DACA outline their intent to remove Mayorkas on a path to remove the limited protections for Dreamers before ultimately forcibly removing them from their home. Of note, Mayorkas scored a major victory in the United States Supreme Court, which in an 8-1 decision ruled against efforts by Republicans in Texas and Louisiana to usurp his authority to set enforcement priorities.
COMBATING THE NARRATIVE: The House Majority continues to waste time on a bogus effort to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas. Why do they want to get him out of the way? So they end DACA & try to forcibly remove Dreamers from their homes. Not hyperbole. They planned, wrote & published it. The dedication 🤮
(3) With apprehensions down, Republicans call for operational chaos: The numbers of apprehensions remain significantly down, but Republicans haven’t switched their pre-baked message, only their tone as they actively call for operational chaos at the border. While there are likely many factors that have contributed to the decrease in the number of migrants seeking asylum along the southern border, Republicans are outraged that the CBP One app may be working to reduce pressures at the border. This week, House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-TN) was on Fox echoing the Heritage Foundation claiming the administration was “using this CBP One app to actually mask the numbers” as they use the parole authority to move people along in the asylum process. “The numbers aren't going down; that's a shell game from Mayorkas,” Green baselessly accused. “It's not been an improvement, and hence terrorists are still coming.” Green is making it abundantly clear what was always quite plain, Republicans’ outrage over the border was never a good-faith criticism but a racialized political attack with the goal of halting all non-white migration. Green and his fellow Republicans are upset that migrants are able to access the asylum process, and there are no scenes of chaos and cruelty they can exploit for their political demagoguery. Though they are too deeply committed to their nativist narrative, the lack of facts or images won’t deter them from their core message.
COMBATING THE NARRATIVE: In a revealing bit of performative outrage, Rs are apparently upset that CBP One app may be working to reduce pressures at the border, making plain their faux outrage @ the border has always been about divisive politics & fearmongering, not solutions or concern for the facts.
President: Nativism will continue to be a top messaging priority throughout the Republican presidential primary. Case and point, Ron DeSantis announced that he will make his second trip to the border for a xenophobic photo op in less than a month. But while DeSantis continues his nativist stunts, serious economic consequences loom back in Florida, where his rhetoric was made manifest. Undoubtedly, DeSantis should be made to answer questions about the cost of his nativism, but so too should the other candidates, as their similarly extreme positions would produce similar disastrous outcomes.
VA State Legislature: Tuesday concluded the primaries for the Virginia state legislature. The narrowly balanced split legislature with Democrats controlling the Senate by a 22-18 margin, while in the House, Republicans control 52-48. All 140 seats are on the ballot in November, in what will likely be viewed through the lens of ‘24 cycle and as a referendum on Republican up-and-comer Gov. Glenn Youngkin. (Politico reported this week Glenn Youngkin eyes total control in Virginia.) Progressives had a good night on Tuesday and will be a critical part of some of the key battleground races. The races to watch include: SD16 in the Richmond area, SD17 which runs along the south side of Virginia, SD24 Hampton Roads, SD 27 around Fredericksburg, SD31 Loudoun County as well as House Districts 21, 22, 57, 65, 82 and 97.
WV Senate: Republican Governor Jim Justice dropped a new two-minute-long ad that lays out his line of attack against his primary opponent Rep. Alex Mooney and this case as a far-right governor. Foreshadowing the campaign to come, the ad opens with a warning about “open borders” using footage from 2018 of migrants fleeing teargas. The ad goes on to make the spurious association between the allegedly “open border” and fentanyl deaths. Justice’s ad is far from original, but that is the point, as millions of dollars will be spent over the next 18 months on ads with this exact same nativist disinformation in Senate races in West Virginia and around the county.
WEEKLY STATS OF NATIVIST NARRATIVE
Of the 400 GOP Twitter accounts we track, this week, they sent:
171 original tweets peddling anti-immigrant attacks mentioning “border”
31 original tweets about “open borders,” with Rep. Lauren Boebert tweet having the most reach with 784.5K Views, 3,374 Retweets, and 18.4K Likes.
12 original tweets that used “Biden Border Crisis” with Rep. Lauren Boebert tweet having the most reach with 67.1K Views, 336 Retweets, and 1,951 Likes.
22 original tweets that mentioned both “fentanyl” and “border” with Rep. Lauren Boebert tweet having the most reach with 303.8K views, 2,475 Retweets and 9,245 Likes.