Paul Ryan’s Primary Opponent Is A Stone-Cold Racist (TWEETS)

House Speaker Paul Ryan is a loathsome character. That was amply established long before he helped jam through a massive “tax reform” package that represents a massive giveaway to corporations and the wealthy.

But believe it or not, it may be possible that the people of Wisconsin’s 1st District could be saddled with far worse than Nehlen. How do you get worse than a mouthpiece for the one percent? Quite easily, as it turns out. The guy challenging Ryan in the Republican primary recently revealed that he is a full-blown racist and anti-Semite.

Ryan’s 2016 Republican primary opponent was Paul Nehlen, a manufacturing executive from Williams Bay, an outer suburb of Milwaukee. Nehlen ran essentially as a Wisconsin version of Donald Trump, calling for tougher enforcement of immigration laws and secure borders, among other things. He briefly turned heads in August 2016 when he suggested that we ought to “have a discussion” about booting all Muslims out of the country.

Trump was impressed enough with Nehlen that he seriously considered throwing his considerable weight behind Nehlen’s insurgent campaign before ultimately endorsing Ryan. In the end, Nehlen got destroyed, taking only 16 percent of the primary vote. Undaunted, Nehlen is challenging Ryan again in 2018–apparently with the full backing of Steve Bannon.

Since announcing his rematch with Ryan, Nehlen has been on a quadruple-time march to the far right. He has made at least two appearances on “Fash the Nation,” one of the more notorious white nationalist podcasts. During his most recent appearance, on December 9, he blew a number of anti-Semitic dog whistles and proudly recalled how he told conservative pundit and prominent never-Trumper John Podhoretz to “eat a bullet.” He also uses his account on Gab, a Twitter alternative notorious for its laissez-faire attitude toward trolling, to share a number of noxious alt-right memes.

Ari Cohn, a top lawyer at the libertarian-leaning Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, was well aware of this history when Nehlen touted his status as a “man of the people” on Twitter, and called him on it.

Nehlen responded with a typical alt-right/white nationalist line–implying that your opponents are “anti-white.”

Cohn reminded Nehlen that he was indeed white.

Apparently that really got under Nehlen’s skin, because his next tweet exposed him as the anti-Semite that he is.

Nehlen used that tweet to hit Cohn with an “echo,” a common meme used in white nationalist and neo-Nazi circles to flag Jews or suspected Jewish influence. For good measure, he again accused Cohn of pretending to be white.

Believe it or not, that was just a sample. On Tuesday, Cohn shared more examples of the bile he received from Nehlen and his followers.

The mere thought that this guy even has a chance at being in Congress should send a chill down our spines. But the people of this swatch of exurban and rural territory between Milwaukee and Madison have a chance to do better. There are two Democrats running here, union activist Randy Bryce and school board member Cathy Myers. Bryce has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, while Myers has picked up the support of a number of local elected officials. If you can’t pick between either one, donate to ActBlue’s nominee fund for the Democratic nominee in this district; the money in this account will go straight to whoever wins the primary.

There was already ample reason to ensure that the blue team has a credible challenger in this district. It’s the only meaningful way to make Ryan pay for his role in ramming through the Republican tax scam. But if we learned nothing else from the Alabama special Senate election, we should remember the importance of having credible candidates in as many districts as possible. We cannot take even the slightest chance that this racist knuckledragger ends up going to Washington.

(featured image courtesy Nehlen’s Facebook)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.