Midterm madness: White supremacists behind racist ‘robocalls’
Outrage over campaign as Trump makes final stops on whirlwind tour
An automated call to voters by a white supremacist group has highlighted the increasingly bitter rhetoric in the US midterms as the campaign enters its final stages.
Voters in Georgia were targeted with the message that impersonated Oprah Winfrey, a prominent supporter of Stacey Abrams, who is running to become the first black female governor in the US. It compared the Democratic candidate to “a poor man’s Aunt Jemima” who “white women can be tricked into voting for, especially the fat ones”, and mocked Winfrey as a “magical negro”.
Aunt Jemima refers to a brand of US pancake mix linked to southern plantation racism.
The message was reportedly funded by TheRoadToPower.com, a video streaming site that has been described as white supremacist by campaign groups. It is unclear how many people received the automated call.
The run-up to tomorrow’s vote has been marred by violence. A series of pipe bombs was sent to prominent critics of US President Donald Trump last month, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, and a massacre in a synagogue in Pennsylvania left 11 dead, for which a white supremacist was charged.
Outrage over the racist phone message came as Trump campaigned in Georgia as part of his whirlwind tour of the US. He has visited 20 states since the start of October in an attempt to shore up support for “at-risk” Republicans in key areas. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted: “If you want to protect criminal aliens – vote Democrat. If you want to protect law-abiding Americans – vote Republican!”
Anti-migrant sentiment has grown during the campaign, with Trump targeting a group of Central Americans trying to reach the US border. The caravan of 4,000 migrants is making its way up through Mexico in the hope of being given asylum.
Early voting figures for the midterms show record-breaking numbers in the tightly fought states of Tennessee, Texas and Florida. In one of the country’s most divisive races, Abrams is vying to become the country’s first African-American female governor. Her opponent, Brian Kemp, the current secretary of state for Georgia, condemned the call as “absolutely disgusting” and a message of “unbridled hate and unapologetic bigotry”.
Similarly racist “robocalls” targeted voters in Florida, where black Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum is running for governor. They featured a man speaking in minstrel-style voice as monkeys screeched in the background.
Meanwhile, Kemp – who holds a slight lead – has been accused of orchestrating his own dirty tricks campaign. A total of 53,000 people, about 70% of them black, had their voter registrations suspended by his office. On Friday, a judge ruled that Kemp must unblock more than 3,000 of those flagged as ineligible to vote.
The US Supreme Court upheld a law passed in North Dakota, which requires voters to produce ID showing their current address at polling stations. Democrats said the rule could stop American Indians from voting, since they often live on reservations.
– © Telegraph Media Group Limited