Dear Republicans,

If you’re not already thoroughly ashamed of your party, I’m here to shame you.

Your party’s closing argument of the midterm election is a disgrace, grounded in racism and xenophobia and your candidates are buying it up and down the ballot. State legislative candidates are running ads warning of a violent immigrant invasion that’s based on lies promoted by the head of your party, the President of the United States. In a political stunt, he’s spending millions of taxpayer dollars to send troops to the border to protect our country from the few hundred starving asylum seekers who will actually make it to the US border. Even Fox News pulled his fear mongering ad from the airways because they deemed it too racist. If you’re not embarrassed, then you have less shame than Donald Trump.

You control all of the government, overseeing a booming economy and yet your closing strategy is to play on your base’s irrational fears to scare them into the polls. The rhetoric and imagery in your ads is disgusting. I hope you’re proud.

Despite oft repeated claims that you would call out racism, you lack the courage of your convictions. When we learned that state Senator Dan Bishop financially supported a white supremacist web site, you were silent. Across the country, your party depicted Jewish candidates in money-grubbing stereotypes despite the tragedy in Pittsburgh. You defended mailers and TV ads that called your candidates “one of us” and Democrats “not one of us” without admitting that “us” is white people. You refused to call out Donald Trump as he falsely warns of an invading caravan of gang members, criminals, and Middle Eastern terrorists heading to the US border.

Using racism to incite your base is a national strategy pushed from the top down and the GOP in North Carolina is embracing it. Republicans leaders and operatives sitting quietly while Trump and his supporters normalize racism are either complicit or cowards. Or both.

Your years of dog whistling and accommodating racism have come home to roost. White nationalism is now a core tenet of your political philosophy. To paraphrase Andrew Gillum, I’m not calling you a racist, but the racists believe you are racist. And if you disavow them, you will lose the election by a landslide.

You are correct, though. As Democrats, we are not one of you. We do not use racist imagery and fear of people of different cultures or nationalities to incite our base. We do not sit quietly while our leaders make blatantly bigoted appeals to gin up turnout. Instead, we stand up for people who are marginalized and try to offer opportunity for those who seek a better life, whether they live here already or just want to.

As I’ve said before, for all of its flaws (and it has many), the Democratic Party reflects America. We are the party of Jews, Christians and Muslims, blacks and whites, Hispanics and Asians, gays and straights. For all of our differences, we are united in the belief that America is a place where anybody can succeed regardless of your religion, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation or your country of origin.

We’ve had this fight before. Your side always loses–eventually. Fifty years ago, we beat back the racists and made racial slurs socially unacceptable after the Civil Rights Movement and we’ll do it again. In the meantime, whether it takes five years or seventy-five, you don’t get a pass for being nice. It’s nice racists and cowards who are the problem and I’m here to call you out.

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >

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