Jo Rae Perkins, a hardline supporter of Israel, on Tuesday won the Republican Party’s nomination to run in November against Jeff Merkley, a Democratic senator for Oregon.
Perkins is a believer in the QAnon conspiracy and a denier of the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Political paranoia and historical denialism have worked themselves deep into the Republican Party.
Travis View, who has written about QAnon for The Washington Post, has described the group’s theory as being “based upon the idea that there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything.”
According to View, believers contend that this cabal controls politicians, the news media and Hollywood. They think that had it not been for the election of Donald Trump, this cabal “would have continued ruling the world,” View told the website Salon last year.
The FBI warned last year of possible violence originating from “fringe political conspiracy theories,” including QAnon. Believers, who think Trump’s efforts will lead to the arrests of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have been arrested in worrisome incidents. One armed man drove an armored vehicle to the Hoover Dam on what he claimed was a QAnon mission related to the never-ending saga of Clinton’s private email server.
Todd C. Young, a senator for Indiana and chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, claims not to know anything about Perkins’ support for QAnon, but notes that the committee “tends to support Republican candidates.”
It remains to be seen if the political paranoia of QAnon is a bridge too far for the Republican Party, but initial indications are that such views will not prove unacceptable.
Almost certainly, however, the anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim bigotry displayed by Perkins will not cause distress. Such views are increasingly common within her party.
Outright bigotry is generally frowned upon within the Democratic Party, but much of its leadership is so pro-Israel that it refuses any meaningful measures to economically sanction Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank. Entrenching Israeli apartheid is not the sort of racism most leaders of the Democratic Party are prepared to take meaningful action against.
Republicans, for their part, outright support Israeli apartheid and annexation.
In January 2014, Perkins tweeted that “Israel has not systematically pushed out the indigenous population.”
Through that comment, she denied the Nakba – the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine when approximately 800,000 Palestinians were indeed systematically pushed out.
This was not a lone tweet. On the same day in 2014, Perkins also took issue with the term “Israel/Palestine,” arguing that only “Israel” should be used.
The Republican candidate provides a longer look at her views on Israel in this 10-minute video attacking the Obama administration for abstaining from UN Security Council resolution 2334 reaffirming that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal. In it, she claims that President Barack Obama supports a “one-world government” and hopes that “Donald Trump gets rid of the UN.”
Via Twitter and Facebook, Perkins has repeatedly circulated Islamophobic material.
She has also promoted the anti-Semitic view holding Jews responsible for the death of Jesus with her retweet of this call for a new trial for Jesus.
Perkins has dabbled in anti-Black stereotyping while resorting to unhinged rhetoric seeking to move Black voters away from the Democratic Party. All of this is done while promoting the Trump MAGA hashtag as well as the QAnon WWG1WGA hashtag – “Where we go one, we go all.”
In 2016, Perkins excused Trump for how he refused to rent property to African Americans during the 1970s. Such discriminatory housing practices were “not unusual” for the time, Perkins claimed, while acknowledging that movement away from such discrimination is a good thing.
Also in 2016, she mocked the Black Lives Matter movement. Perkins asked if “only half of their life matters” for people she regards as “only 1/2 black.”
This is the Republican Party of Donald Trump, thoroughly marinated in conspiracy theories as well as anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and anti-Black sentiment.
Jeff Merkley, the sitting senator, is, however, the strong favorite to win again. Most of the West Coast has rejected Trump’s racism and anti-science views which have endangered voters throughout the country as COVID-19 has killed close to 100,000 people within the United States.