2018 midterms

Steve King May Actually Pay a Price For Being a Blatant Racist

Too racist for rural Iowa? Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Iowa congressman Steve King keeps a miniature version of the Confederate Battle Flag on his desk (ostensibly, to honor the proud heritage of the treasonous slave-ocracy that Iowa once fought a war against).

In recent years, King has challenged liberals to name a single “subgroup of people,” at any time in human history, that “contribute[d] more to civilization” than “white people”; praised a virulently Islamophobic Dutch politician for understanding that “demographics are our destiny” and that the West “can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies”; tweeted, “Diversity is not our strength,” and, “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one”; tried to prevent the U.S. Treasury from putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill; endorsed a far-right Austrian party that was founded by Nazis, and is currently led by a former neo-Nazi; and told his followers that if they wish to understand what will happen if America tries to restore its civilization with “whatever washes up on our shore,” they should read Camp of the Saints, a French novel with the following plot:

Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.

The non-white people of Earth, meanwhile, wait silently for the Indians to reach shore. The landing will be the signal for them to rise up everywhere and overthrow white Western society.

The French government eventually gives the order to repel the armada by force, but by then the military has lost the will to fight. Troops battle among themselves as the Indians stream on shore, trampling to death the left-wing radicals who came to welcome them. Poor black and brown people literally overrun Western civilization.

And yet, despite this long record of overt white nationalist advocacy, Steve King might actually lose reelection in western Iowa this November.

A poll released Tuesday by Change Research, a firm aligned with the Democratic Party, found King leading his Democratic challenger, former baseball player J.D. Scholten, by the razor-thin margin of 45 to 44 percent. King has held his seat since 2012, and won his last two reelection bids with more than 60 percent of the vote. Iowa’s fourth district is heavily rural, and backed Trump in 2016 by a landslide margin. As of last month, an Emerson College poll had King up by 10 points.

By all appearances, this data led King to assume that he could win again this fall — even if he spent much of campaign season palling around with his favorite fascists in Austria, instead of shaking hands in Sioux City. As of mid-October, the congressman had a piddling $176,000 in cash-on-hand. Meanwhile, Scholten has spent $1.4 million, and has been airing anti-King advertisements in the district for two weeks. King has yet to air a single campaign commercial.

And the congressman’s financial disadvantage could deepen in the final week of the campaign. In recent days, a man who believed that Jews were trying to destroy Western civilization by flooding it with non-white immigrants murdered 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh — and Land O’Lakes suddenly decided that it was no longer interested in funding the political career of a neo-Nazi sympathizer.

“We take our civic responsibility seriously, want our contributions to be a positive force for good and also seek to ensure that recipients of our contributions uphold our company’s values,” the butter company said in a statement Tuesday. “On that basis, we have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. Steve King moving forward.”

Meanwhile, even the chair of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee felt compelled to pretend that he’d just realized that Steve King was a bit racist.

One day earlier, the historically Republican Sioux City Journal endorsed Scholten. All this prompted the Cook Political Report to shift its rating of Iowa’s 4th district House race from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.”

If Steve King lost a thoroughly safe Republican district — as a result of embracing overt white nationalism — it would send a powerful message to other GOP lawmakers who are currently flirting with going “full racist.” And there’s some reason to think that he will.

But, for the moment, there’s still a bit more cause for thinking that King won’t be overthrown — as of last week, an internal poll commissioned by the King campaign had the congressman leading Scholten by 18 percentage points.

Poll: Steve King May Actually Be Too Racist for Rural Iowa