Republicans took a beating in the 2018 midterms and are running out of strategies for success. This is why they’ve decided to leapfrog from targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to targeting the newest members of Congress—specifically three very visible women of color: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN). As Politico notes, these women represent “a new trio of Democratic villains” for a very desperate GOP.
The GOP is right to be nervous. The last two election cycles resulted in people of color and women handing Democrats victories in some of the most unlikely of places and upending Republican strongholds in a number of districts. Though Donald Trump is their president, and they retain control of the Senate, Trump is wildly unpopular outside of his base. He continues to wreak havoc on the country, and women like Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar are unafraid to say so. Thus, they are hoping that fearmongering and obsessive coverage might encourage their base to cough up some dough to defeat Democrats in 2019 and 2020. That’s why the National Republican Congressional Committee has been sending out thousands of emails linking vulnerable Democrats to these new lawmakers. It is an overall lazy and racist strategy, but is unsurprising, especially to its targets.
Tlaib told POLITICO she’s become a lightning rod for conservatives because her profile isn’t one that has historically been seen in the halls of Congress.
“The fact that somebody like myself, who’s a woman of color, is now an equal to many of them — people are very fearful of that,” said the Michigan Democrat.
It’s also impossible to ignore how this strategy also revolves around stoking fears about the two new Muslim women in Congress, portraying them as wildly unpredictable. Earlier this week, Omar apologized after being slammed by Democrats for a tweet suggesting that “GOP support for Israel is driven by campaign donations from a prominent pro-Israel group [AIPAC].” This evoked reactions in many who believed it to be a reference to pervasive and ugly stereotypes about Jewish donors. The GOP pounced on this immediately as a possible fundraising opportunity.
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