GOP Senate Candidate Thinks White People Are The Only ‘Traditional’ Americans

thom tillis


In a story posted by Daniel Strauss of Talking Points Memo on Tuesday, Thom Tillis, North Carolina’s State House Speaker and Republican nominee for US Senate, did an interview in 2012 where he suggested that Hispanics and blacks are not ‘traditional’ Americans. While being interviewed by Chris William of the Carolina Business Review, the conversation steered towards racial demographics and the challenges the Republican Party faces in the near future. Tillis said that the party needs to do a better job of reaching out to minorities. He also feels that the GOP’s principles of limited government and reliance on the free market are ones that many minorities should embrace.

However, at the same time, Tillis appeared to bemoan the fact that the percentage of whites in the population, in both North Carolina and the US, is shrinking while the Hispanic and black populations are growing. (Fact: While the Hispanic population rate has been growing for a while now, the percentage of  blacks in the population has remained steady.) Tillis then claimed that white Americans are the “traditional population” of North Carolina and the United States and that the GOP needs to reach out to the future voters, who aren’t part of that “traditional” demographic.

Below is the full video of the interview, courtesy of Carolina Business Review:



And here is the transcript of the relevant point of the discussion via Talking Points Memo:


William: Let’s start fairly broad with the Republican Party. You watch— and probably see many more— polls than I do or we do in general. When you watch what’s happening in presidential politics. When you see this shift that Hispanics used to be in the Republican Party and now they’re clearly on the other side of the aisle —when you see all of these things that have transpired, what do you think about? what is going on in the Republican Party?

Tillis: Well I think it has more to do what’s going on in the demographics of this country and recognizing that and then having a platform and a message that resonates. If you take a look, you mentioned the Hispanic population —the African American population, there’s a number of things that our party stands for that they embrace. I think we have to do a better job of communicating it. I think we have to do a better job of being out there in between elections, garnering support for the things that we’re trying to advance. And I think that we need a focus on limited government and free markets which is something that’s appealing to everybody. That kind of work will position us for those growing sectors. The traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable. It’s not growing. The African American population is roughly growing but the Hispanic population and the other immigrant populations are growing in significant numbers. We’ve got to resonate with those future voters.


TPM reached out to the Tillis camp to see if the wannabe Senator had anything to say in response to this. The response from Tillis’ communications director was laughable.

“”Traditional” North Carolinians refers to North Carolinians who have been here for a few generations. A lot of the state’s recent population growth is from people who move from other states to live, work, and settle down in North Carolina. Thom Tillis for example.”

Sorry. That is NOT what Tillis said at all. He specifically pointed to both African Americans and Hispanics and compared them to the “traditional” population of the state and country. This had nothing to do with people who have lived in North Carolina and everything to do with Tillis’ views on race in the state and nation as a whole. Essentially, he thinks only white people are real, salt of the earth Americans. Anyone else is just an ‘other,’ which is probably why he’s been so forceful in trying to get voter suppression laws on the books in North Carolina.

It remains to be seen if this will greatly effect the US Senate race. Tillis is matched up with incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. Polls show that the race is a toss up, and Republicans are hoping to flip this seat in their quest to take over the majority in the Senate. However, much like 2012 with Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, and 2010 with Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller and Ken Buck, the Republicans might see easily winnable seats slip out through their fingers due to bad candidates saying idiotic things.


64 Replies to “GOP Senate Candidate Thinks White People Are The Only ‘Traditional’ Americans”

  1. Hey Mr. Tillis what about the Native American Indians that lived here long before us “traditional” North Carolinians took their lands. North Carolina has never been whites only, there has always been minorities here, yes some came unwillingly, but theres has always been diversity in our state. My family has been in this state since before it was a state, and still theres no way in hell i would ever vote for any Republican. We have to get out and vote in Nov. These idiot Repubs are destorying our state. They have ineacted laws that decimate the middle class and enrich their 1 percent friends.Tillis has never had an original idea that did not come from the Kochs or from Art Pope.

  2. I’ll state the obvious: the “traditional” Americans are brown, as in Native Americans. The white folk didn’t arrive until centuries later.

  3. Being “vile” is one of the qualifications to be a conservative candidate of anything. But the stupidity is a no-brainer.

  4. First of all I’m 61 year old white guy, Please in the Name Of The Lord, don’t think that all white people are like this creep. I was raised up in a poor family but I was taught that All people are God’s Children and were all the same, unless your like this creep and then your the lowest form of an animal there is.PROUD VOTER FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA, NOT JUST ONCE BUT TWICE.

  5. The “nastiness” of Republicans is evident in almost every statement they make in regards to race, sex & religion! Nothing amazes me anymore…not their words or their actions! They are hell-bent on sending this country back in time when rich, white, old men ran it and they don’t care who knows it!!! I am sick of them ALL!

  6. Oh come now, Mr. Tillis, There was a long-standing “tradition” in this country of bringing people against their will from Africa and enslaving them, a custom which North Carolina went to war to protect. It is an American “tradition” to bring in people of other races, whether Chinese or Hispanic, to do hard dirty work that “regular people” don’t want to do. That tradition continues to this day for Hispanics, while we have found a way to get Chinese to do our scut work while staying in their own country. And of course, there is the good old tradition of taking land from Native Americans and pushing them to the least desirable land possible, when not exterminating them outright. He needs to re-study his American history–may I suggest Howard Zinn’s A History of the American People?

  7. Exactly Cheryl! But the GOP is traditionally stupid so he probably was never taught about the REAL Native Americans. The GOP IS a mental problem!


  9. If Tillis think white Americans are the salt of America, that means he won’t eat foods with black peppers?

  10. There is no such thing as a free market any more. Its a noncompetitive market where monopolies exist

    Remember this guy is talking about “Traditional” people of the state.

  11. traditional american would apply to only Indians. everybody else migrated here whether they wanted to are not.

    the communication directors answer is idiotic. the western half the country was once under Mexican rule, and african americans have been in this country 400 years.

    the gop cannot help themselves can they? they want more nonwhites in the party, but then they speak and reveal why more nonwhites won’t become republicans.

  12. He’s from North Carolina; the apartheid government of the South. He is the norm not the exception here in the “Racist State”. Back it up with some bible talk and religion on top and nothing could be finer in Carolina.

  13. As an Asian, I never, ever believe that all Whites are like that GOP-joke of a Neanderthal-turned-State-House-Speaker.

    However, the moment any White person tells me s/he’s a Republican and s/he’s of working class status, I will and continue to be convinced that that person is exactly like Thommy Tillis – hands down.

  14. Since when is it O.K. to be openly racist while in public service?

    These people need to be SHAMED until they crawl under the rock they’ve crawled out from under. This is where a true Fourth Estate would come in. Unfortunately, ours is a Fourth Estate in Name Only.

  15. That is just the tip of the iceberg with Tillis, I have to say he is a nasty piece of work, he has just about ruined the state of NC and now wants to do the same for the country. He is a Koch puppet, you must have heard about moral mondays.
    NC is denied health care, unemployment comp, the poor are losing tax credits to give more to the wealthy, we will soon be proudly experiencing fracking and a pipeline I think.
    NC has gone mad.

  16. Mom and Dad both born here.
    Yet Mom’s father from Norway- Dad’s Puerto Rico-
    When I say that = as a kid I was called
    a spick!?????
    My maiden name sounded Polish so I never told anyone for a long time- WHAT I WAS!
    IS Puerto RICO not part of the good
    ol USA? I think people like this guy are just horrible.
    Trace his ROOTS! But more than anything DO NOT VOTE HIM IN!

  17. Hey Priebus, How is that rebranding thingy going for ya? PS The autopsy results are back and your party is still racist as ever!!

  18. Traditional America = straight white christian men – 2nd class women are to be used solely as incubators and the deviants are gassed to their death

  19. jessee helms is dead but his offspring are still around – you should add Orville faubus to that list of poop heads

  20. How elitist and bigoted of him…
    Oh, by the way: bigotry and elitism are two of the 10 Tenets of the GOP. The other eight: hypocrisy, Fascism, greed, corruption, incompetence, arrogance, insanity and unintentional comedy.

  21. No – NOT Protestant anymore. They’re overall way too liberal. He thinks it’s only Evangelicals and Pentecostals who both POST-date the founding of the nation. But for this guy the Protestants are now “merely” Protestant not “Christian” because so many have embraced LGBT people fully, support equity in social and economic justice, and even – gasp – honor a woman’s right to choose. Can’t be having all that liberalism now, can he?

  22. that’s why I added Proselytizer in parenthesis…
    altho I’d bet the original definition of WASP is what he would say he means if you pressed him on it…

  23. Truly ICH I do not believe these people are able to be ashamed. It is impossible to shame anyone who has not been or learned the way to be humble, to think of others. These people call themselves Christians, but know nothing of what Jesus taught and did as example.

  24. this is standard crud from the right wing usually southern baptists / evangleists

    We have one here in MD. Only his kind of xtan should be a citizen and allowed to vote

    BTW he’s a member of the league of the south – a white supremacist group.

    This is the same group that Joe Wilson of the famous horrible “you lie” statement during an Obama State of the Union speech a few years ago. Joe wilson belongs to the same white supremacist group

    White trash in a suit.

  25. The saddest part is that we have politicians here in NC that are even dumber than Tillis is. Tillis kept a bill to sponsor a state religion from making it to the floor of the NC House a few years ago. But that doesn’t mean Tillis is smart.

  26. That’s only the “sadder” part. The “saddest” part is that we have a large percentage of citizens here who are stupid enough to vote for Tillis.

  27. Attitudes like this guy’s, make it quite clear, that fighting the filth in the world, is a full time, intergenerational undertaking!!!!! Hate, much like one’s intelligence capacity, is passed on genetically!

  28. Some of us nontraditional Americans are serving in the military to protect this country so he can continue to exercise his right to be a dumbass.

  29. The man said the demographics in NC used to be more white than it currently is. The use of traditional here is the same as the term historical. Let’s leave the demagoguery to the right wing – they do it much better than us. And no, I am not defending him, just suggesting a little intellectual honesty.

  30. The demographics according to the 2010 census is that North Carolina is 68.47% white which is down by 1.5% according to data from the census bureau for 2007. The dog whistle is strong with this one. As far as historically African Americans made up a quarter of the population which is down to 21%

  31. True, gsb, but they have egos the size of Jupiter – and that can be easily hurt.

    That’s why we need a strong Fourth Estate. It’s their jobs to put and to continue to put these shameless racists in the spotlight and to relentlessly hammer on them until their overbloated egos can’t take it anymore and they’re forced to crawl back under that rock where they belong. It’s the only way since we can’t have any faith in a voting public that’s been dumbed-down so ferociously.

  32. First, this is just more GOP/Tea Party BS. Second, I know ALL White People do NOT think like this fool.

    Third, …God Bless America!!!

  33. There’s a handful of Republicans/TP that are in a class of their own. The mere sight of them makes me recoil. I have a visceral reaction to their revolting presence. Their positions of power defies logic. Putrid as they are, it baffles me how they got enough votes to be in office.
    This nasty SOB is one of them. Scott Walker, Pat McCrory, Eric Cantor, Rick Snyder, Stacey Campfield, Marsha Blackburn, Paul LePage belong in my group of most hated. They have no charisma, no people skills & are obviously shills of the Koch dictator regime.
    I hope more videos of this asshole are discovered. He’s obviously a full blown racist. He’s the one that called Moral Mondays Moron Mondays. That one ought to be dug up just to remind NC what he thinks of them.

  34. I am so ashamed to to say that I live on the same fucking planet as that idiot Thom Tillis.
    In fact I am ashamed I live in the same fucking solar system as him, in same fucking galaxy as him, in the same fucking universe as him, and in quite possibly the same fucking multiverse he does!

  35. I don’t know this man nor do i care about Republican or Democrat.But what he said about traditional he is actually correct.The native indians may have been here first but they didn’t form the United States,white men did and that is what he meant when he said traditional.So get the racism out of your heads.Because he is white and he made a correct comment as in traditional he is somehow evil,now that is racism.

  36. Well seeing that African Americans were with them don’t we count as traditional Americans. Oh yeah I forgot we weren’t considered humans so you may have a point. SMDH at you people denial of your own racist statements.

    BTW whites didn’t build this country. Minorities did, With slave labor, The Chinese were instrumental in laying the tracks of the railroads. And countless others who were exploited and worked to death so you can say “I BUILD THAT”

  37. Good find but we all know the dog whistle when he said it. Real Americans/traditional Americans= WHITE AMERICANS. All others are Untermenschen

  38. That is a myth. There is no evidence that the Native People came from anywhere,and were not always here.Every time the euro centric archeological community,robs another Indian grave site,it pushes our presence i n the New World back another ten thousand years. If in fact the Natives came from Asia,on foot,across the Bering Land Bridge,it would have taken decades. No archeological evidence on the remaining islands in the Bering strait has ever been found to confirm their passing. Read American Genesis by Dr. Jeffrey Goodman. As for Tillis,Folks there is no cure for stupid,and no arguing with it either.

  39. Your logic is irrelevant. There was an America before the white man came. It simply was not called that. What was it called before the Europeans arrived? PARADISE

  40. Actually it was not a paradise. The Mastadons and other animals had a paradise prior to humans coming here, all others had to eek out a living from the land

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