Minnesota GOP Candidate Goes Trump and Attacks Democratic Opponent’s Race and LGBT Identity

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

It’s not unusual for a candidate for political office to embrace what is proven to be a winning strategy. Based on the success of Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP it was just a matter of time before other Republicans took a page from Donald Trump’s bigoted campaign and used it as a strategy to win elections and endorsements. Although it is possible a Republican identifying heavily as a Christian may have simply alluded to an opponent’s racial makeup and sexual orientation, Donald Trump has made it acceptable to blatantly attack an opponent using bigoted remarks. It certainly paid off for a Minnesota woman running for a seat in the state legislature.

The Republican seeking a state House seat is Ali Jimenez-Hopper and during a Republican district convention late last month she was able to seal the Party endorsement with a speech attacking Democrat Erin Maye Quade because of her sexual orientation and race. Maye Quade’s father is African American, and she is married to a woman; something that, according to Jimenez-Hopper, makes her “really far left in her values.”

In fact, Jimenez-Hopper took exception to Maye Quade even mentioning,

That she is half black and she uses that as a strength. She brings up that she is in support of LGBT and that lifestyle and puts out pictures on Twitter of her and her wife. I believe in the traditional marriage in the sense it’s between a husband and wife and God and that family is important. We need to have these [Christian] values so we can go forth and think about your community.”

Apparently the idea of Ms. Quade sharing her family pictures on her campaign website and social media, like Jimenez-Hopper does, is an issue Jimenez-Hopper finds offensive. So much so, that during her speech at the GOP endorsing convention she focused on her opponent’s family and ancestral heritage as it contrasts with her evangelical bona fides that earned her an all-important official party endorsement.

For Erin Maye Quade, who heard about Jimenez-Hopper’s comments just two days ago, it was not “a Republican or Democrat thing, it’s basic human respect and it’s shocking to hear from anyone. That’s not the tone I want for this election — at least for me.

On her Facebook page, Maye Quade wrote:

While [Jimenez-Hopper] is busy focusing on my blackness, I’ll be working to ensure all students have access to affordable and equitable education. While she’s busy worrying about my marriage, I’ll be working to ensure Minnesotans have increased access to mental health services, support to care for aging family members, eliminate racial disparities, support to maintain independence and an economy that works for us all.”

Ms. Quade is wise to stick to the issues and obviously doesn’t want Jimenez-Hopper’s hateful remarks setting the tone of the campaign. But this is 2016 and it is Donald Trump’s GOP; a critical aspect to the new-and-improved Republican Party is abandoning basic human respect and any sense of inclusion. The base doesn’t want to hear about respect for other Americans who are not white heterosexual Christians or Donald Trump would not be the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.

The Republican ended her speech with a perfect demonstration of the socially-conservative (read religious right) ideal for the people making laws affecting every American. Jimenez-Hopper said:

If we ever needed a leader that holds true to our values as a Christian and as a mother, now is the time. If we ever needed a leader to claim our responsibility to make the right choices to shape our self [holding the unique] values of integrity and honor, now is the time.”

One thing is certain; Jimenez-Hopper’s values are incongruent with values preached by Jesus Christ, and more people than one Democratic candidate noticed the evangelical Republican’s comments are shocking.

Ms. Quade has been a longtime community organizer and local resident and shared with Think Progress that she is “completely unaccustomed to experiencing racism or homophobia in her suburban community.” In fact, Maye Quade shared that as the news of her opponent’s bigoted and religious remarks began circulating, “she’s experienced ‘an outpouring of love’ from people on both sides of the aisle.”

One seriously doubts she has received much ‘love’ from the GOP endorsing committee that were obviously enamored with Jimenez-Hopper’s portrayal of Maye Quade as being on the far left due to her bi-racial ancestry and LGBT identity.

Besides Maye Quade “being on the far left” for talking about her family and racial heritage, it is likely that her opponent is offended by Ms. Quade’s goals and hopes for all Minnesota residents. Maye Quade says that her typically-Democratic campaign will be focusing on those extremely “far left” issues like “ameliorating childhood hunger, investing in transportation, enacting statewide paid family leave, and providing people with better mental health resources.”

It is noteworthy that Republican Jimenez-Hopper did not attack Maye Quade over those issues. It is why Maye Quade said, “We can’t afford to focus on dividing people and spewing hate.” Although there are certainly Minnesota residents who agree there is no place for bigotry or divisiveness, her opponent must disagree mightily or she would not follow the GOP’s standard bearer Donald Trump. And, she would not have appealed to the GOP for their endorsement based on attacking her opponent’s racial makeup and sexual preference; Republicans know bigotry and divisiveness sells.

The chair of the Minnesota Democratic party, Ken Martin, slammed Jimenez-Hopper on Facebook for her Trump-like comments as he rightly should have. Martin wrote, “Unfortunately, I am not surprised that the Republicans have recruited candidates who resort to outright racist and discriminatory statements and tactics given their standard bearer, Donald Trump.”

However, what Mr. Martin forgot to mention is that those kind of statements and tactics, no matter how hateful, are precisely what the base wants to hear after seven-and-a-half years of conditioning by the Republican establishment; it cannot all be attributed to their standard bearer Donald Trump.

It is important to keep reiterating that Trump did not create the base he appeals to, Republicans did. And like Trump, Minnesota Republican Ali Jimenez-Hopper is just taking advantage of a base ripe for a racist evangelical candidate. It is something the Minnesota GOP endorsing convention leaders and any politically-savvy Republican knows is necessary to win GOP endorsements and the 2016 presidential primary races.

 

Image: citypages.com

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