Needless to say, it has not been a great year for Republican candidates at the state level. The end of 2017 saw the candidacy of Roy Moore in a special election for the Senate. Numerous women accused Moore of sexual assault, some of whom were underage at the time of the encounters, raising accusations of pedophilia.
While Moore ended up losing to Democratic opponent Doug Jones, the veracity with which certain Republicans in Alabama supported Moore’s candidacy tarnished the national image of the GOP. Moving into 2018, Illinois heads toward a similarly embarrassing election with the reemergence of Republican Arthur Jones.
Arthur Jones is a 70-year-old health insurance agent from Beloit, positioned to be the Republican nominee for Congress in the state’s third congressional district. More importantly, Arthur Jones is a Nazi. Self-identifying as a “white racialist,” Jones believes that white people are more intelligent than black people.
Unfortunately for the UW System, Jones attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he was an active member of the Young Republicans and a Nationalist Socialist group. Once out of school, Jones spent eight years as a member of the Nationalist Socialist White People’s Party, formerly known as the American Nazi Party. Jones now believes himself to be “shoulder to shoulder, philosophically” with President Donald Trump.
Jones’ campaign website includes a list of issues and his stances: Make English the official national language, no more sanctuary cities, no same-sex marriage, no abortion, concealed carry and second amendment protections. While this list draws many parallels with the more overarching rhetoric of the Republican party, Jones’ website also includes tabs titled “Holocaust?” and “Hate Speech?”
Jones includes pictures of documents positing the Holocaust — the death of more than six million European Jews during World War II — is actually a hoax unsubstantiated by real facts. According to Jones, there’s a “Jewish scam” that makes certain kosher foods more expensive than non-kosher food, which gives Jews a leg-up in society and lends itself to Jones’ denial of the Holocaust. Jones goes on to do similar things regarding hate speech, using historical examples to justify racism both past and present.
Jones has run for the third congressional district five times prior to his current bid in 1998, 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2016, but has lost all five times to Democratic candidate Bill Lipinski and then to his son, Democrat Daniel Lipinski. His current bid, however, is uncontested, leaving Jones on the cusp of receiving the official Republican nomination in spite of the party’s condemnation of his candidacy.
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Jones’ candidacy speaks not only to the incompetence of the Illinois Republican party in being unable to find anyone else to run against a literal real-life Nazi, but also to the general failings of the democratic system in allowing a man with blatantly harmful, hate-filled views combined with ignorant denial of the largest genocide the world has seen to participate in an election for federal office.
While it is unlikely that Jones will continue on to win the election come fall — as the third congressional district voted Democrat in 24 out of the past 25 congressional elections and for the past four presidential elections — it is not necessarily the acquisition of the office that Jones strives for, but the attention his campaign will bring to his bigoted agenda.
The Republican Party of Illinois has, as their very likely nominee, a man who will spend the next six months preaching hate and irrational, false theories with the support of one of the two political parties. That in itself lends an air of legitimacy to Jones, a legitimacy he certainly doesn’t deserve and will most likely exploit to his own benefit. Legend has it that politicians, more often than not, are not the best of people, but allowing Nazis on official ballots is a whole different story with a very unhappy ending.
Aly Niehans ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in political science and intending to major in journalism.