A new report from the group Muslim Advocates shows that candidates who ran Islamophobic campaigns faced backlash and eventually lost their elections.
The use of anti-Muslim bigotry in political campaigns is a tactic Muslims and Muslim candidates have seen over and over in recent years. Just last week, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) launched a series of Islamophobic and racist attack ads against his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar.
But a new report shows that candidates who have run on these very tactics in the last two years have faced backlash and eventually lost their elections.
In its “Running on Hate” report released on October 22, Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., documented candidates who ran ― or are running ― in the 2017 and 2018 elections and produced Islamophobic campaigns as part of their political strategy.
Political mudslinging and malicious campaigns are nothing new in the history of American elections. But in the last few years, especially after the election of Donald Trump as president, racist and xenophobic campaigns have increased alongside the alarming number of white supremacists running for office and the subsequent rise in hate crimes nationwide.
Half of the 2017-18 candidates Muslim Advocates identified in its report were running for Congress, with the remaining 40 running for local positions, including 15 candidates for county office, 15 for governor and 10 for state legislature. Of the 73 races where a candidate’s party affiliation could be positively identified, all but two were Republicans, further confirming the GOP’s hostility toward Muslims.
While 34 of these campaigns are still active, the results for the other 46 went heavily against those candidates: 27 anti-Muslim candidates lost their races, eight dropped out, and one was recalled. Only two of them ultimately won, both in 2017.