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Viewpoint: Neo-Nazi’s Congressional Campaign is Emblematic of the Trump Presidency

Former American Nazi Party member Arthur Jones faces no opposition in a March Illinois primary.

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Arthur Jones has tried to run for the Republican nomination in the third Congressional district of Illinois five times with no success.

This time around, however, he faces no opponent in the March 20 primary, likely ensuring he’ll be able to take his campaign all the way to the general election in November as the nominee. But he won’t have support from the Illinois GOP along the way.

The former member of the American Nazi Party is an abhorrent nominee for a historically Democratic Congressional seat, but his existence is emblematic of a more disturbing problem in the current political climate.

People like Jones are too narrow minded and shallow to see that a diverse America is best for the future of democracy

Jones is widely known as a Holocaust denier. There is an entire section on his campaign website dedicated to conspiracy theories about the Holocaust and comments from Jones himself disputing its existence. His website features hateful language against the Hispanic and LGBTQ communities, as well as a depiction of the Confederate flag as a symbol of “white pride and white resistance.”

Jones will likely lose the general election, as a Republican hasn’t held the seat since the 1970s, but his progress in the race is troubling.

He truly would not gotten this far if Donald Trump was not in the White House. Though white supremacy did not begin with the election of Trump, his presence in politics has emboldened racists and Neo-Nazis to have a place in popular discourse.

Trump is widely known as the “America First” president. It’s no coincidence that Jones uses the saying as a tagline for his own hateful campaign.

It’s clear what they both mean by this. They envision the US as a country where everyone looks like them. When they say America First, the underlying meaning of their words is ‘White People First’.

It’s not a stretch to say that Jones, Trump, and many within the GOP see America as a land being invaded by a kind of diversity anyone with a heart and half a brain should fully embrace. People like Jones are too narrow minded and shallow to see that a diverse America is best for the future of democracy.

The Republican Party has disavowed Jones for his beliefs, but they’ve failed to realize their own party caused his rise and emboldened his ideas by supporting Donald Trump and refusing to condemn similar extremists as they’ve come along over the years.

The third district of Illinois, compromising of parts of Chicago and its southwest suburbs, is interesting on the Democratic side as well.

Marie Newman is waging a strong campaign against incumbent Democrat Daniel Lipinski, one of the last remaining conservative Democrats in Congress. Newman has been endorsed by most progressive groups across the district as Lipinski loses support from longtime colleagues and other key political operatives.

Newman or Lipinski will likely beat the controversial Republican nominee. But Jones is where he is because of a divided GOP that’s made it permissible to celebrate white supremacy and neo-Nazism.

And that is a truth that cannot be ignored.

Jones won’t admit that he’s a Nazi, but his past involvement with the American Nazi Party does not leave much room for debate. His disregard for the unimaginable tragedies of the Holocaust prove that he’s not only unfit for office, but also a danger to society regardless of whether or not he’s put in a position of power.

He also publicly expressed support for the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville last year and praised President Trump for condemning the protestors acting against the Nazi rally.

The influence that Trump has had on his candidacy is incredibly evident, and it’s likely that the other Arthur Joneses and David Dukes of the world will take notice. This could result in a greater influx of far right, white supremacist candidates in contests across the nation.

And that is where the power of resistance must come in.

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Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

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