On Saturday morning, a gunman raving about a Jewish conspiracy to bring Muslim terrorists into the country murdered 11 worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

On Sunday morning, an American politician promoted his own immigration conspiracy theory, this time claiming that socialists were conducting a “mass importation of new voters” to overrule the American people.

It’s the kind of demagoguery we’ve gotten used to on the national stage, but this time it was a Maine candidate spouting off. And it wasn’t a character from the political fringe, but the Republican Party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate: state Sen. Eric Brakey.

“Why did California turn Blue? Why is Texas turning Blue?” Brakey asked in a tweet Sunday morning. “The left has failed at selling socialism to the American people for decades. We have rejected it. Their new strategy is mass importation of new voters to transform our political culture.”


For its timing alone, Brakey’s rhetoric is abhorrent. The bodies had barely been counted in Pittsburgh when Brakey released his tweet. The day before the massacre, we saw the arrest of a suspect in a series of politically motivated mailed bombs. And that came only one day after a man in Kentucky allegedly murdered two African American strangers at a supermarket minutes after he had been denied access to a predominantly African American church..


With political violence so close to the surface, you would expect responsible leaders to call for restraint. But Brakey decided that this would be an opportunity for him to promote his long-shot campaign against independent Sen. Angus King by stirring up fear and resentment.

His target? Fellow citizens born in another country who, he insinuates, were brought here en masse to dilute the influence of what he considers “the American people.”

But it’s more than just a case of bad timing. There is no time when dehumanizing rhetoric like this should be tolerated.


We assume that Brakey knows better, but in case he doesn’t, here’s where he went wrong: Human beings are not “imported” – that’s for inanimate objects.

The only immigrants who can vote are naturalized citizens who have gone through a complicated and expensive legal process that many native-born Americans could not complete. Naturalized Americans have exactly the same right to participate in an election that Brakey does. Even if they disagree with Brakey, they are still counted among the American people.

Someone who thinks he is mature enough to serve in the U.S. Senate should understand that we are living in a dangerous time. He apparently sees this attack, along with his use of dog-whistle terms like “welfare queen” and “globalist” in other statements, to be good politics. And the scary thing is, he may be right. It might win him some votes and, though it seems unlikely, it could even win him the election.

But no matter who wins on Nov. 6, we all have to live in this country after Election Day. And Brakey’s reckless play for attention won’t make that any easier.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.