Lost in the primary news from last week was one item. You may recall me writing about Arthur Jones, described as “an outspoken Holocaust denier, activist anti-Semite and white supremacist”, who is now the Republican nominee for a US Congressional seat in Illinois. He ran unopposed in a district that is strongly Democratic and the Republican party did not think it worthwhile to run someone against him in the primary, since the winner was likely to lose in the general election anyway.
I felt that this was a bad mistake on the part of the Republican party because while they have been blowing racist and anti-Semitic dog whistles for the longest time, having as their official candidate someone espousing these views on the campaign trail was something else again. I was shocked that they could not find someone who was willing to take one for the team and run against Jones even if they later got trounced in the general election, just so as to avoid this embarrassment.
But now we find that someone named Steve West won the primary for a Missouri house seat, handily beating three other candidates by almost 25 points. And he is a real piece of work.
On his Monday morning radio show, Steve West promotes fanatical conspiracies about “Jewish cabals” that are “harvesting baby parts” through Planned Parenthood, that torture and molest children and that run the Republican Party.
“Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it,” West said on a show on KCXL radio on Jan. 23, 2017.
West won the 15th District nomination in a four-candidate race. Besides his radio show, he also has a YouTube channel and a website. Donning a wig and fake beard and calling himself Jack Justice, he has unleashed an array of bigotry including homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and outright racism.
Naturally, the Republican party is shocked, just shocked, that someone like West is not only a member of their party but that party members like him so much that he won so easily.
The Missouri Republican Party late Thursday afternoon issued a statement about West’s “disgusting comments”:
“Steve West’s shocking and vile comments do not reflect the position of the Missouri Republican Party or indeed of any decent individual. West’s abhorrent rhetoric has absolutely no place in the Missouri Republican Party or anywhere. We wholeheartedly condemn his comments.”
Sorry, that won’t fly. Jones becoming the nominee could be blamed on a tactical error by the party in not fielding a better candidate. West won because party members enthusiastically voted for him. It is quite possible that given the kind of Republican party that Donald Trump has molded in his image, Jones would have defeated a primary opponent too.
West and Jones are the visible symbols of ideas that the party has been nurturing for a long time. It took Trump to give them the confidence to come out into the open.