Paul Nehlen: Nazi Ideology on the Republican Ticket
As someone who studies white nationalist ideology, I’ve followed Paul Nehlen closely for the last year. I do not use the words “white supremacist” or “Nazi” casually; I am fully aware of the gravity of the label, particularly in terms of the type of resistance Nazis ought to be met with. I assign the label “Nazi” with precision and care. Paul Nehlen made my work easy.
Here he is, just a few days ago, posting pictures of himself at the desk in the Oval Office, surrounded by the spiked heads of Jewish men.
If you’re unfamiliar with this platform, let me briefly introduce Gab. This “free speech” Twitter alternative is where people with underdeveloped political beliefs have fled to do their timid politiking in the closest thing to an echo chamber they can find. Echo chamber, here, has more meanings than most care to realize. The platform is full of people like Nehlen using the parenthetical (((echos))) to indicate people of Jewish heritage.
Nehlen fled to Gab after he was banned from Twitter. His followers created this video of Hitler rallying the German army in Nehlen’s service, which the candidate then reposted:
The irony of using this scene, which represented the turning point in the war when Hitler became aware of his impending defeat, is delicious.
The last time Nehlen ran, Paul Ryan beat him by 68 points. Imagine how lousy of a candidate you must be to lose to Paul Ryan by 68 points. If Nehlen had a sense of history, which he doesn’t, he’d start his comparisons to Hitler here: No democracy would elect either of them, unless that democracy was deeply and fundamentally broken.
Instead, he figures himself a heroic Hitler, who he sees as analogous with the Lord Jesus. And Kennedy. And Jackson.
While it may seem odd for Nehlen to think he could win a spot in the House, it aligns with a broader white supremacist strategy. For example, Nehlen attentively follows neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, who has been calling for more “real life” political engagement. Here’s an interaction where Nehlen reflects on this call while praising his fellow ideologues, including former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke.
JQ refers to the “Jewish Question,” or the conspiracy that Jewish people are secretly undermining Western society through wealth accumulation .
Note Anglin’s use of “kikespiracy,” an invocation of the anti-Semitic slur, “kike.” I will return to Nehlen’s own use of the word shortly.
There is another common refrain among the alt-right and white nationalists here: the idea of “staying in shape” for the day where preparing for a war will finally pay off because the war has indeed arrived. This type of self-fulfilling prophecy is typical of white supremacist strategies from Hitler to the founding of America. White nationalists prepare for and instigate wars, and then fight them as though it was a matter of self-defense. We have seen some acts of instigation, such as Charlottesville, but Nehlen suggests that we have not scratched the surface of the violence he prepares to help unleash.
Here are some images that Nehlen has distributed to his followers:
“The bastards,” according to Nehlen, is a broad category. I can’t tell you everyone it includes, but I can offer some dimensions.
It certainly includes undocumented people living in America, as we can garner from this image of Nehlen catapulting a young child across a border to what appears to be Paul Ryan’s mansion and/or Mexico. (Don’t ask me for coherence here. If they were intelligent, well, they wouldn’t be Nazis.)
Other, similar tweets suggests that “those bastards” include gays, transgender people, anti-capitalists, and nonwhite people writ-large. Nehlen sees anyone outside the white Christian norm as someone who might, at any moment, begin a conspiratorial plot against white families.
He views his right to antagonize and spread misinformation as an essential component of the first amendment. The depth of his violent message should not be understated. Nehlen has not openly called for genocide, but he has done so in somewhat more subtle ways.
For example, consider the exchange below. Nehlen gabs about Sen. Chuck Schumer (D- New York) having Jewish heritage and enacting that heritage though a hatred of white people. He finishes the message with “Pass the bikes.”
In white nationalist circles, a common rallying cry is “Gas the kikes, race war now.” Nehlen evades the actual use of the phrase by inserting a similarly syntaxed rhyme; this particular phrase is fairly common. A fan quotes his initial Gab, completing the idiom:
It is as close to calling for a genocidal race war as one can possibly get without using the exact words it requires.
Nehlen does not take kindly to being challenged on his ill-informed, irrational hate. Those who challenge him are either publicly labeled as Jews (even inaccurately) or retaliated against with wakeup calls from their neighborhood Nazi candidate.
Here is Nehlen, discussing his response:
If you received one of these calls, I would be delighted to hear what pre-recorded message you were greated with.
Now, you may be thinking “But CV, Nehlen did not explicitly say those terrible things! You are accusing a man of trying to incite a race war, but he has not outright said it!”
That’s true, but in Nehlen’s own words…
Don’t be dense.
The smartest among us are on point.