News & Politics

Kobach, Wilders to lead nativist presence at RNC

Imagine2050 Staff • Jul 18, 2016

“Hello, Cleveland!”

That exclamation was comically immortalized in the classic 1984 film This is Spinal Tap and will almost surely be quoted by many during this week’s Republican National Convention. Among those in attendance will be a number of nativist and white nationalist extremists who have been emboldened by Donald Trump’s campaign.

It should be noted, however, that some extremists were already in Cleveland last week-most notably, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. During the week, Kobach has been working with other convention delegates to draft the party’s platform and garner some significant wins for the party’s nativist right wing. Most notably, as The Hill reported, Kobach successfully inserted platform language calling for a “border wall” that must cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

Kobach, who has advised the Trump campaign on immigration issues, is one of the organized anti-immigrant movement’s leading legal minds. He is of counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and behind some of the country’s most notorious anti-immigrant legislation like Arizona’s SB 1070.

Read: The Immigration Reform Law Institute and the anti-immigrant origins of United States v. Texas

Kobach’s presence at the event cements the influence of organized nativism at the convention, but Kobach is hardly alone. Indeed, others in attendance will also be seeking to use the event as a platform promote their bigoted views.

Anti-Muslim bigots throw ‘fab party’

Perhaps the biggest splash nativists have planned for the four-day convention will be a party Tuesday evening headlined by anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders. Geller and Wilders have a long history of working together to define Islam as inherently violent. In a June 29 video produced by the anti-Muslim think tank Gatestone Institute, Wilders stated, “the first thing we need to do is recognize that Islam, and nothing but Islam is the cause of all of our problems.”

The party specifically targets the LGBT community, seeking to exploit post-Orlando grief to foment anti-Muslim hatred. The invitation reads, “As gay Americans, we could no longer stay silent about a barbaric ideology that wants us dead and that actively threatens the freedoms of all Americans.”

Other announced attendees at Tuesday’s “WAKE UP!” event include the rabidly nativist, right wing provocateurs Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos. Former United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage may also attend. After stepping down as UKIP leader following the disingenuous and fear-mongering campaign behind the Brexit vote, USA Today reported the far-right figure would attend the convention “as an observer.” Given Farage’s penchant for harboring anti-Muslim animus-he may want to join in on the fun at an event describing itself as “the most fab party at the RNC.”

White Nationalists Also Plan to Attend RNC

Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant leaders aren’t the only extremists planning to attend next week’s convention.

Matthew Heimbach, the white nationalist activist and founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN)—and the Traditionalist Worker Party, TYN’s affiliated political party—told The New Yorker “We’re definitely going to be having a presence.” TYN spokesperson Matt Parrott also told McClatchy about 30 members of the group will attend. “We’re essentially just going to show up and make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs,” Parrott said.

Activists affiliated with Heimbach and Parrott’s group made headlines last month when a TYN demonstration in Sacramento, California devolved into a violent clash with counter-protesters.

Other groups planning to attend include the anti-government Oath Keepers, virulently anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church, and white nationalist, neo-Nazi groups American Freedom Party and Blood and Honor USA, as reported by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.

To slightly tweak another classic Spinal Tap line, “It’s like, how much more racist could this be?”

The Center for New Community is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse any political parties or candidates for elected office. This post, and any post on Imagine2050, is not intended to support or oppose any candidates for elected office.

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