2022 midterms

Blake Masters Has a Lot of Thoughts About Black People

Photo: Ash Ponders/Bloomberg via Getty Images

You may know Blake Masters, the Republican candidate for Senate in Arizona, as one of the guys who got $10 million from anti-Democratic billionaire Peter Thiel or as the candidate endorsed by a prominent Nazi. But over the past few months, Thiel’s ex-stenographer has been trying to jolt his way into the minds of the electorate by stripping away the subtext of common Republican talking points and getting directly to racist ideas, from blasting the first Black vice-president as an unqualified “affirmative action” hire to blaming “Black people” (yes, really) for most gun violence in the U.S. It’s worth a closer look at his rhetoric, given the possibility he could beat Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly in November.

Diverse leadership at the Fed is tanking the economy.

On Sunday, the Associated Press published a story about increasingly diverse ranks in the Federal Reserve’s leadership, noting there are more female, Black, and LGBT officials than ever in the central bank’s 109-year history. In response, Masters implied that those candidates got to the top of their field not because they were qualified, but because of their identity:

He followed up in a video saying he doesn’t “care if every single employee at the Fed is a Black lesbian, as long as they’re hired for their competence and not because of what they look like or who they sleep with.” He apparently never questioned whether any other Fed official, such as every one of the 16 chairs who was white, was qualified.

Kamala Harris is an “affirmative action” hire who is not qualified to be the vice-president.

Masters didn’t stop there, going even further to slam what he claims was affirmative action, saying there is no “single policy since the end of Jim Crow that’s been worse or more divisive for race relations in this country.”

Then he pointed to Vice-President Kamala Harris as an example. “If you want to see the affirmative-action regime on display, just look at Biden’s White House,” he continued. “Biden promised that he would choose a woman for his VP, then of course he chose Kamala Harris — so incompetent she can’t even get a sentence out. But I’ve never spoken to anyone who can say with a straight face that Kamala was somehow the most qualified candidate for that job.”

Labeling Black candidates with ambitious CVs as unqualified, from Barack Obama to Ketanji Brown Jackson, is a time-honored tradition by politicians like Masters. As for Harris, she was elected cumulatively by tens of millions of people as San Francisco district attorney, California attorney general, and U.S. senator before she was also elected as vice-president.

Gun violence is the fault of “Black people, frankly.”

In an April podcast appearance, Masters said that “we do have a gun violence problem in this country, and it’s gang violence. It’s gangs. It’s people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don’t want to do anything about that.”

Gang violence is a problem in many American cities, but its scale is nowhere near large enough to account for the 45,222 deaths by firearm in 2020, of which more than half were by suicide. While Black Americans experience far more gun deaths than other races, gun deaths are also a major problem in overwhelmingly white states such as Alaska and Wyoming, both in the top ten of states with the highest rates of gun violence. And Democrats have spent years trying to enact gun-control measures to stop shootings, with far less gun violence in Democrat-controlled states with more restrictions.

Democrats are trying to “import” a new voting base.

Last year, Masters said that “what the left really wants to do is change the demographics of this country” by increasing immigration from non-white countries. In an interview in May, he added that Democrats are “trying to manufacture and import” a new voting base.

In so many words, the idea Masters is suggesting is the replacement theory, a tenet of white nationalism cited by racist mass shooters across the country, most recently in Buffalo. In a statement to the New York Times, Masters doubled down, saying, “It is obvious to everyone that Democrats see illegal immigrants as future voters. No ‘theory’ is needed to observe that.”

While the concept moved from the fringe to the mainstream of the party during the Trump administration, it’s an interesting policy for Masters to adopt, given that more than a third of Arizona is Latino and that he is also trying to court socially conservative Latino voters moving away from the Democratic Party.

Blake Masters Has a Lot of Thoughts About Black People