There is a bonafide Nazi in the GOP ranks and conservatives are trying to grapple with his gross presence. Arthur Jones, a Holocaust-denying insurance broker and perennial candidate for Congress, has officially become the only Republican candidate for Illinois' 3rd congressional district, despite numerous opportunities to thwart his ticket.
Sen. Ted Cruz, not one to acknowledge his party's shortcomings, released a statement Friday afternoon condemning Jones' candidacy.
"This is horrific," Cruz wrote in a tweet. "An avowed Nazi running for Congress. To the good people of Illinois, you have two reasonable choices: write in another candidate, or vote for the Democrat. This bigoted fool should receive ZERO votes."
According to Politico, Illinois Republicans had four chances to stop Jones from running as the GOP nominee, but they failed every step of the way. No one opposed Jones for the nomination. And when it came time to announce a third-party candidate to seriously hamper Jones, the deadline passed with a whimper, meaning Jones will face off against incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski mono e mono.
Republicans in Illinois appear to be horrified by the result.
“The Illinois Republican Party and our country have no place for Nazis like Arthur Jones, llinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said in a statement. "We strongly oppose his racist views and his candidacy for any public office, including the 3rd Congressional District.”
Jones gleefully reveled in the Republican Party's incompetence, telling Politico, "They didn't put up a third-party candidate? That's great! That's fantastic!"
Jones said the purpose of his candidacy is to oppose the "two-party, Jew-party, queer party system."
While most Republicans, including Cruz, have spoken out unconditionally against Jones, one conservative writer, Dan McLaughlin, seemed to suggest there could be instances when voting for Jones would be appropriate. The National Review Online columnist took to Twitter on Friday to remind Republicans in Illinois that Jones' opponent in the race is pro-life and, therefore, it would be "permissible" to vote for the Democrat.
"The Democrat is pro-life, so it's permissible to vote for him, as many R voters did in the primary," he wrote.
The tweet confused McLaughlin's colleagues who made the logical leap and inferred that if Lipinski was pro-choice, like most Democratic members of Congress, then it would improper to vote against Jones.
Feel like it’d be permissible to vote for him even if he were pro-choice, given that his wacko fringe opponent is, you know, an actual Nazi.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 30, 2018
There are few conservative writers who openly defend the new Republican Party under President Donald Trump. At the very least, most right-wing pundits lament the rise of nationalism and incivility. But McLaughlin has differentiated himself from his cohorts by remaining steadfast Republican. His disdain for the Democratic Party is only matched by Dinesh D'Souza, another National Review writer who the president recently pardoned. D'Souza came under fire Saturday for retweeting a post that contained the hashtag #burnthejews.
There might not be another political commentator in America who is more prone to such gaffes than D'Souza. The only other person who rivals this ineptitude is Trump himself.
Meanwhile, McLaughlin has spent his Saturday trying to explain his tweet.
1 more time for people like Jeet who didn't read my article or Ted Cruz's tweet:
1-I agree w/Cruz & IL GOP: you vote vs the Nazi.
2-Cruz said vote D or write in. As many Rs did in the primary, Lipinski's a rare D you can vote for w/clear conscience.https://t.co/c2Tdz6ODpZ
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) June 30, 2018
One of the most common political complaints in 2018 is the comparison of Trump and his supporters to Nazis. Conservative pundits, such as Ben Shapiro, claim it is offensive to compare Adolf Hitler to the 45th president. They say that the Republican Party is not as toxic as the left would lead the rest of America to believe.
Yet it is impossible to ignore the literal Nazis who occupy some of the biggest platforms on the right. Just recently, Rep. Steve King retweeted a Nazi sympathizer. When the media called him out on it, he refused to offer an apology. And when House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has the power to censor his members for vile conduct, directed a mild scolding at King, the Iowa congressman said he wasn't even a blip on his radar.
Steve King explains his retweet of a message by a Nazi sympathizer. He told me it was unintentional because he didn't know who the person was. But he's not sorry and won't delete the tweet, and supports the message in tweet railing on mass immigration
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 26, 2018
Steve King speaking on @ChrisCuomo's show on Paul Ryan's statement on his Nazi tweet:
"Paul Ryan didn't say anything. His spokesman made a general comment that didn't even have my name in it.https://t.co/utQXtnN6ON
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) June 27, 2018
The Republican Party's Nazi problem can best be explained as such: Nazis are permitted as long as they oppose liberals.