Anti-Muslim rhetoric is alive and well in the 2018 midterm election, according to a new report Muslim Advocates released Monday. The bright light for activists is that the campaigns aren’t working.
In the 51-page report first reported on by Politico, Muslim Advocates identified 80 candidates who ran campaigns in 2017 and 2018 that used anti-Muslim rhetoric. All but two were Republican candidates.
But polling from the report shows that voters from all sides aren’t aligning themselves with these candidates.
“Super-majorities from both parties, of every demographic and region, preferred the candidate who defended Muslims,” the report detailed. “Even Trump voters.”
The report, titled “Running on Hate,” tracked the low success of the 80 candidates:
Most of them are on track to lose, if they haven’t already. Of the 80 anti-Muslim candidates we identified, only 11 – 14 percent – were elected or are safely projected to win their elections in November 2018, according to Cook Political Report’s forecasting of congressional and gubernatorial races. Almost all of them are incumbents and many of even the longest-term standard bearers of this ideology are facing historically low poll numbers.
One of those early losers was South Dakota congressional candidate and state Sen. Neal Tapio — who, according to Politico, finished last in a South Dakota Republican primary. He released this low-budget ad that links the local founder of a mosque to a terrorist organization because of a scarf.
Watch the video below:
Following dropouts, finalized 2017 races and lost primaries, many of the original 80 candidates are no longer relevant in the midterms. However, five Senate candidates, three gubernatorial candidates, and 17 congressional candidates remain, all of whom are Republican.
One of the most notable anti-Muslim campaigns is that of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who is being challenged by Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar. Campa-Najjar isn’t Muslim, but Hunter’s campaign created an attack ad earlier this month that linked him to Islamic terrorism.
In response, 70 national security experts put out a statement condemning Hunter for releasing the ad:
“The ad is short on facts but long on some of the darkest forces of our society — bigotry, xenophobia, and racism.”
Watch the ad below:
Hunter is identified in the report as likely to win the election in November.
If Hunter is elected, he’ll likely be working alongside Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who are both slated to become the first Muslim women in Congress. Both women, according to the report, have faced anti-Muslim backlash:
“A joint event they hosted was crashed by an anti-Muslim activist who called them ‘jihadis’ and screamed numerous conspiracies about Muslims, incest, and genital mutilation and claimed that mainstream American Muslim groups are terrorist organizations.”
It’s unclear exactly how many of the remaining candidates who have been reported as using anti-Muslim rhetoric will take office in November, as five candidates are listed as running in toss-up elections, making the final overall success or failure of anti-Muslim rhetoric in elections still unknown.