Racism: A Deplorable MAGA Feature

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Post election update 03/22/2024: Unofficial results show Derek Merrin got 52% of the vote Tuesday night. His vote totaled only 27,411 so roughly 30,000 Republicans in the 9th district are okay with racism.

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[0:02] The 2024 primary election season is reaching a crescendo here in Ohio. Three rich Republican white guys running for Congress can’t stop using racist rhetoric in their campaign advertisements. We also look at one ad that claims falsely that one of those rich white guys is a liberal. To prove once again lying in campaigns is legally, if not ethically, okay. I’m Doug Berger, and this is Secular Left.

[0:37] Music.

[0:49] I live in the 9th Congressional District of Ohio, which runs along the northern part of the state from williams county through toledo and i think huron county or something like that.

[1:10] During the last gerrymandering is when they shifted the district more west into, more republican rural areas of northwest ohio it’s currently the seat is currently occupied by by longtime congressional person Marcy Kaptur. She’s from Toledo. And she’s had that seat for at least 40 years. Yeah, at least 40 years. And so the Republicans in Ohio are trying to help her retire. And so they gerrymandered her district in 2022 to include more rural areas that supported Donald Trump in the last election. And she went up against J.R. Majewski, who was basically before that a no-name, and he lost very badly to her because she’s an incumbent. So she has that extra oomph that congressional people have when they are already in the seat. So, and before that, they had gerrymandered that district to include Toledo, hug the shore of Lake Erie to the east, and include the city of Lorain and parts of the edge of Cleveland.

[2:39] And that was before 2022 and that was because Ohio had lost a district and the Republicans in the state decided to force out either Kaptur or at the time Dennis Kucinich who was a real champion of progressive values and he’s a little bit loopy sometimes so they were forced to run in the same district and Kucinich lost because most of the 9th District was still in the area that people knew Capter. So that was that. And then in 2022, then they shifted the district to the West in hopes of putting a Republican in there.

[3:23] So this election, 2024, there was originally Majewski was running again. Again, he eventually dropped out just a few weeks ago after getting caught saying stupid stuff, as he always does, about cognitive disabled people using the R-word. So he got forced out. But see, here’s the thing. Most of the time, these conservative Republicans, they don’t give a crap about disabled people. They could care less about disabled people.

[4:03] If it wasn’t for the congressional race that they wanted to win, and they didn’t like Majewski, because he was endorsed by Trump, but establishment Republicans did not like him. And so basically they were finding any excuse to force him out of the race, and he gave them one. So, I mean, it’s his own fault, sure. But it’s not because Republicans got… It’s not like the Grinch getting a heart, put it that way. Because most of the time, they don’t care about disabled people. So they ended up forcing Majewski out.

[4:40] And there’s still three people that are running. And it’s State Representative Derek Merrin from Monclova Township. He’s a Christian nationalist, bigot, anti-LGBT, attacked trans kids, etc., etc. You know, he’s a real piece of work. And there’s Craig Riedel, who used to be, or considered himself a moderate, and now he’s, you know, like all Republicans in the era of Trump, he’s chomping at the MAGA bit. He was the frontrunner of regular Republicans. He was the frontrunner until he got caught on a hot mic disparaging Trump. So they got scared, and they talked Derek Merrin into running.

[5:32] The third person is Steve Lankenau. I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter what his name is, because he’s not going to win. He’s the former mayor of Napoleon, which is in the 9th District. And so you still have the three Republicans. And what they’ve all decided to do is, you know, you do the typical cut taxes and that’s all they got, cut taxes.

[6:07] But one of the things that they’re running on, all three of them are running on, is they are dehumanizing undocumented people. So they are buying into the false narrative that our southern border is being invaded by cartel-controlled drug smugglers that are out to kill your family.

[6:32] And they’ve been very, very vocal about using that kind of imagery. It’s been in all their flyers. I’ve got probably a dozen flyers from Derek Merrin alone that has that imagery and those words.

[6:50] Their TV ads are just as ominous. Donald Trump needs conservatives to secure the border. We’re going to build the wall. We have no choice. Proven conservatives like Derek Merrin. Our country was a lot better under Donald Trump. We have to secure the border and stop illegal immigration. Derek Merrin’s priority, finish Trump’s wall immediately. I want the invasion of our southern border stopped and our border sealed. Send Trump a proven conservative. Vote Derek Merrin. Congressional Leadership Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising. Right now, nothing is more important than securing the southern border by finishing Trump’s wall. I’ve been to the border and seen it firsthand. hand. We told Washington to fix it, but they failed. I’m running to hold Joe Biden and Marcy Kaptur accountable for the drugs, crime, and terrorists streaming in and putting our loved ones at risk. I’m endorsed by Congressman Jim Jordan because he knows I’ll join him in shutting down the border until we finish Trump’s wall. I’m Craig Riedel, and I approve this message. And it shocked me. It really did. Because, you know, and I’m thinking, so are we electing racists now? I don’t get that.

[8:03] Because that’s what they’re doing is they are dehumanizing and using racial rhetoric.

[8:10] To other undocumented people. And these are people that are humans, just like you and me, who have decided they’ve made a choice that they want a better life, and so they attempt to enter the United States. They attempt to enter legally, but that’s a quagmire. That’s a bureaucratic quagmire. And so some of them take the easy way and cross illegally. And yes, I understand people. People, you know, they cross illegally, they’re here illegally, they, you know, they should be, should not be here illegally. However, these are people that are coming here because they either are in danger in their home countries or there’s just nothing for them there. They have no job or they’re hungry or whatever. They want to do, they want to make a better life for themselves. themselves. And people are like, well, all they have to do is just come here legally. It’s like, it’s not that simple. It just isn’t. If it was that simple, everybody would do it. And that’s the thing. This country, the United States, has a history of dehumanizing.

[9:24] Immigrants and making it hard for them to come to this country for racist reasons, reasons, racist and nativist reasons. And I use nativist tongue in cheek because, you know, that’s what a lot of these people, a lot of people, white people, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants talk about that they’re native born. And, and some of the Native Americans are like, um, excuse me?

[9:52] But yeah so like i said these flyers are just it’s it just um gets me and it’s uh there’s a flyer that claimed that uh that they were condemning biden’s failed open border policies biden doesn’t have an open border policy he’s actually deported more people than i think trump Trump did during Trump’s reign. Another claim was working to combat the hiring of illegals. And part of the, part of, I’m not saying that’s a problem, but part of the thing that enables a lot of this, a lot of these people to come here illegally is the fact that some companies, in order to save money, hire illegal aliens to work. They hire undocumented people to work because they can pay them a pittance and they don’t have to be in the union they don’t have to have health care because they have them over a barrel because they’re undocumented they could get deported so it’s technically if you ask me slave labor.

[11:05] And so at least Merrin claims that he’s working to combat the hiring of illegals. That’s never going to happen. They try these crackdowns from time to time where the immigration service raids a company. Usually it’s a poultry factory, like a Tyson chicken farm or a meat packing plant in Iowa. They have a lot of undocumented people because they’re doing jobs that white native born Americans won’t do for the price, for the cost, you know, for the wages that they pay. And so they’ve done these token raids and all that does is that the company gets fined and the undocumented people get deported. It. So, I mean, it doesn’t do anything. So, basically, I’m concerned that the lack of basic compassion and using imagery of an evil horde invading your neighborhood and harming your family is simply racist and dehumanizing people who only want better lives in the United States.

[12:17] Recently, there was a federal court, a federal judge in Texas that struck down a Texas law that had tried to overstep the federal government in dealing with undocumented people crossing the the border. In his ruling, the judge stated that there is no invasion or war needing military action, as Texas believed. And the law that Texas wanted was that they were going to empower their National Guard and Texas Rangers to round up undocumented people and arrest them and then deport them, which is something that the local officials are not allowed to do. It has to be Border Patrol because dealing with the borders, that is a federal government job.

[13:03] And studies have shown that undocumented people are not any more likely to commit a crime than U.S. citizens. And if there are more stops by Border Patrol officers and large amounts of drugs seized, as a lot of these conservative Republicans keep harping on, that means that the Border Patrol is doing their job. Because that’s what they’re supposed to do. I would be concerned if they weren’t stopping anybody and if all the drugs were getting through all the time. And the other thing to consider, too, is most fentanyl is made in China and comes into this country through the official border crossings. But not every person crossing illegally is a cartel-controlled drug smuggler. During the Trump administration, they tried to say that people that were undocumented that were crossing illegally were bringing COVID or whatever diseases that people are afraid of. And that’s just, that was simply, you know, racist. Again, that racist rhetoric. If people crossing the border illegally caused more crime, there would be a rise in crime in cities that had busloads of undocumented people dropped off by Texas and Florida. Florida. If you remember the news stories, they had airplane charters and buses that took.

[14:29] Loads of undocumented people to blue cities, sanctuary cities, and here you go, and dropped them off. And these were hundreds. I know New York, they’ve taken quite their share. New York York City has taken quite their share. And the thing is, there has been no increase in crime because of it. There isn’t a crime wave. And just because somebody crosses a border illegally doesn’t mean that they’re going to come to your house and rape your daughters. Put it that way.

[15:08] And I get it. I fully expect campaign literature to lie. Because essentially that is a protected speech of the First Amendment. Campaign rhetoric is, they’re allowed to lie to you. So keep that in mind the next time you check out campaign literature. So I expect them to lie to me. But why isn’t there any reporting or concern about all this racist rhetoric that’s going around? Because it’s a concerning issue. And like I said, are we now electing racists? Or is it okay because it’s only brown people? Hypocrisy in Racist Rhetoric

[15:53] And what’s really hypocritical to me is a lot of this racist rhetoric is coming from from people who claim to be Christians. One of these flyers that supports Derek Merrin is paid for by the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is headed up by U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, who worked for the Christian Nationalist Group, ADF. And he is a power player in the Christian Nationalist movement. movement. And they’re sending out these racist flyers and doing TV commercials for Derek Merrin, talking about brown people raping your children. Well, they don’t use that exact thing, but that’s the inference. And they claim to be Christian. Have they read the Bible? You know, I saw the other day somebody again posted the Bible quotes from the Holy Bible about taking care of refugees.

[17:03] And the thing is, the ironic thing is, that Jesus, if he lived today, would be labeled a communist by conservatives. Donald Trump would be making fun of him. And all I know is that making America great is not putting up with racist rhetoric or electing people who use it. We need to do better for everyone. We really do. And I hope one of these days we’re able to move it move away from that and you know if the Republicans had something to run on that would help people see that’s the thing is that they lack all this compassion for people and and they want to hurt people constantly their rhetoric is is hurting people. They don’t want to help people. Well, they want to help white men. But everybody else, it’s like the old joke when Reagan was in office. He says, you know, we’ve got ours, screw you. That’s essentially a campaign. That should be the campaign bumper sticker for the current Republican Party.

[18:16] For more information about any of the the topics covered in this episode, check out our show notes at secularleft.us.

[18:25] Music.

[18:31] In the last segment, I talked about Derek Merrin running for the 9th Congressional District, and as I explained, he was a latecomer once the establishment Republicans got wind of of Majewski’s slur towards cognitive disabilities and Craig Riedel not being deferential to Trump. So they were scared that they were going to get their butts handed to them again by Marcy Kaptur. So they decided to recruit somebody to come in late in the game, and that was Derek Merrin. He’s from Monclova Township in Lucas County. His buddies, the Lucas County Republican Party, they were the ones that helped push Majewski out of the race.

[19:22] And the Toledo Blade supports Merrin, and they’ve been giving him a lot of cushy press coverage, including they’ve not fact-checked any campaign ads so far.

[19:38] The Toledo Blade has not fact-checked any campaign ads at all, until a Craig Riedel ad came out that insinuated that Derek Merrin was going to be charged in the first energy bribery scandal that took down Larry Householder. Career politician Derek Merrin, a top henchman to convicted felon Larry Householder, who was sentenced to prison for 20 years in the largest bribery scandal in Ohio history. Merrin took money from Householder, voted for Householder’s $1.3 billion bailout, even voted to keep Householder in power after his FBI arrest, and speculation swirls Merrin could be charged next. Derek Merrin, corruption and scandal are all he knows. I’m Craig Riedel, and I approve this message. And so the Block family jumped all over themselves to put out a news story that debunked that insinuation. And as far as I know, there’s no real evidence that Merrin had anything to do with the bribery, the actual bribery. He did help pass the state law that was at the nexus of this bribery scandal. This was the law that First Energy wanted passed to pass on the cost to the consumers to fund their coalfired power plants and stuff. And I think it might have been the nuclear plants, too.

[21:07] And so, you know, Google Larry Householder, you’ll learn all about that. I just haven’t really gotten into that because I really don’t care about Larry Householder or the bribery scandal. Because the only people that have gone to jail so far is Larry Householder and his crony that did the bribery. Everybody else involved, including the governor. There is evidence that the governor was involved, tangentially, and the lieutenant governor, John Husted, and Attorney General David Yost. And none of those guys are getting investigated. So it’s just total bullshit.

[21:49] So that’s why I haven’t talked about that, the bribery scandal, because it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors.

[21:58] Anyway, back to Derek Merrin. So, you know, I’m not a fan of State Representative Derek Merrin, simply because he’s a Christian nationalist, conservative. He’s attacked trans kids and undocumented people in public in his campaign literature, as I discussed in the previous segment. and he’s, again, running for the GOP nomination. He got in late, late in the cycle, but, and I haven’t seen any polling or anything. There hasn’t been any real polling, so I’m not sure how he’s doing, but according to the campaign finance stuff that was just turned in recently, he hasn’t really done very much fundraising-wise. None of the three have, but they’ve, at least Craig Riedel has loaned his campaign money.

[22:51] You know, I see that a lot with a lot of these Republicans. They have so much money that they’re paying for their campaigns themselves, and they’re not getting very much donations from the public, which is kind of odd because they claim that they speak for the majority of Ohioans. And you would think if they did, they would have more support, financial support, from average Ohioans. And they don’t. So I am pretty sure, since they forced out Majewski, I’m pretty sure that Merrin hopes that he can slide into the slot for November with way less than 50% of the vote.

[23:31] This podcast episode should come out shortly before the primary, and And I’ll probably add an update to the show notes, you know, how the election turned out. Because the primary is March the 19th.

[23:48] And again, I’ve gotten more than a dozen flyers from his campaign, from him, from his campaign, and people that are supporting him. And in them, he constantly attacks trans kids and undocumented people. And as I stated in my last segment, the racist rhetoric is awful. He’s the worst of it. And he is the son of a well-known Christian pastor in Lucas County who was anti-LGBT and had a large church. church, one of those large evangelical churches with a school. And Merrin went to that school and played basketball, and he likes to point that out. And so what’s he doing for his job currently? He’s a real estate investor. You know, I like these guys that don’t work for a living, and they get stuff handed to them, like Merrin and Craig Riedel and people like that.

[24:43] You know, they start on the a top step. And then they try to say that they’re just like the average guy, the average worker. No, they’re not. Anyway, that’s another story. So if you remember in the previous segment, I talked about the literally dozens of Derek Merrin flyers that I receive, I have received so far, both from his campaign and from groups that are supporting his campaign. Campaign well uh the other day i get a flyer and it’s an anti Derek Merrin flyer and i’m like oh well let me take a look at this and it actually claims that Derek Merrin is a liberal i’m like what it said that he voted against protecting ohio jobs from non-native english speakers.

[25:38] Whatever that meant and then he voted against a bill that banned biological men from women’s sports well he’s attacked trans kids quite a bit so how can that be true and then the third claim was that he opposed a budget that would cut taxes i’m like wow that’s pretty bold claims i mean those claims claims are on par with the, with the Riedel claim that Merrin had something to do with the First Energy bribery scandal. Now, I know Derek Merrin’s politics and he is no liberal. I’m telling you, he is no liberal.

[26:21] Um, but, but what I do give them, um, uh, credit for on this flyer, cause most flyers don’t do stuff like this, is that it included sources for their claims. Up on, up near the, the address was, uh, sources and it had, uh, cause it had, um, uh, footnotes on each claim, one, two, and three. And then up at the top it said sources one two and three and it had links like online links, so you know I know he’s not a liberal so I wanted to check the sources well you know how are they coming up with the fact that he’s a liberal and so I took a look at one of them one of them was that Merrin voted no on a bill that would ban trans women from women’s sports which I know for fact is wrong. He did not vote no. The source was House Bill 151 from the previous legislative session in 2022. Well, that makes sense. If he voted no for it, there’s a possibility, there’s a reason why he voted no for it, because it ended up getting reintroduced as House Bill 68 in this session and passed and was signed by the governor. Well, not signed by the governor. It was vetoed by the governor and then all the Republicans, including Merrin, overrode that veto.

[27:48] So Ohio has a legislature website that can look up bills even from prior sessions.
So House Bill 151 started out as a way for Governor DeWine to take power away from the State Board of Education.

[28:02] Where most of the members are elected from districts in Ohio, and the governor appoints, I think, seven or nine of them. But he wanted to do away with all of them. He wanted to take away their power. And he’d move it to his office where he could appoint a chair, and all the policy efforts, the curriculum and things like that, would come from his hand-picked person. The state board would be left only with teacher license issues and requirements. And he was doing this because Democrats had recently won a majority on the board. It’s supposed to be nonpartisan, but a majority of the people on the board are known Democrats. Democrats, the one that replaced the one for Northwest Ohio. She was a Democrat in the State House for a long time.

[28:53] And being this was a major change, many lawmakers were nervous about it. And in a consensus at the time, this is in 2022, late 2022, they didn’t want to invest all that power with the governor. The Republicans don’t trust DeWine for the way that he handled the, or at the start, the way he handled the pandemic at the start. They just never trusted him after that. When the bill was being considered in the Senate, President Matt Huffman added some, quote, sweeteners, unquote, to help people vote for it. And one of the gimmicks that he added was the ban on trans women and women’s sports.

[29:34] The Senate version arrived back at the House on December 7th, 2022, 2022, seven days before the end of the session. And if the session had ended and the bill hadn’t been passed, then it dies. Of course, you know, because that was the end of the 134th session and the next one would be in January. Anyway, and so the bill, when it did arrive in the House, House was 2,200 pages long. Many Republicans in the House didn’t think there was enough time to read the bill and suggest changes. Merrin was one of the people that didn’t think there was enough time to read the bill and suggest changes, but he had co-sponsored the original bill, House Bill 151.

[30:24] So, here’s a bit from the Columbus Dispatch that was published on December 18, 2022. And it quotes, The Senate sent its education plan to the House on December 7, seven days before lawmakers planned to adjourn for the year. And Representative Tom Brinkman, a Republican from Mount Lookout, said the incoming Speaker of the House, Derek Merrin, didn’t think there was enough time for the chamber to review an amendment. Merrin, a Republican from Monclova, didn’t respond to a request or comment made through a spokesperson, but Brinkman said the soon-to-be Speaker lobbied him and other members who supported him to vote no so the House could have more input when the bill returned next year. And so they didn’t want to approve the Senate version of the bill. They wanted to have more of their bits in it. [31:18] And so this was at the time that Merrin believed that he was going to be the speaker in the next session and he ended up not being the speaker so representative Merrin and 42 other house members voted no on the senate changes so the bill died since that was the end of the session, two other flaming christian nationalists Sarah Fowler Arthur the homeschooler who served on the the State Board of Education at one point. And Jennifer Gross, boy, she’s out there, also voted against House Bill 151 because Merrin told them to.

[31:57] And so, no, Merrin, Author, and Gross didn’t come to Jesus and start liking trans kids. This was a procedural vote, no vote, because they didn’t like the short time and were nervous about the major education changes. changes.

[32:12] Bigots can keep their chins up because the trans women ban came up again, as I said, in the next session as part of House Bill 68, and that bill banned gender-affirming care as well for kids, and it passed, was vetoed by the governor, and the veto was overridden. The Education Department overhaul was also passed as a separate bill and will take effect soon after after several legal challenges are done. So what we found out was Representative Derek Merrin is not a liberal. The campaign, remember, the campaign literature can lie to you. So they’re using a vote that he did two years ago to paint him as a liberal. And there was a negative ad about Frank LaRose, too, that aired recently. I don’t like Frank LaRose either, and he’s running for the U.S. Senate. He’s not gonna win, but he’s running for US Senate. They painted him as a liberal and.

[33:12] Because he did a video greeting congratulating Equality Ohio, which is the major LGBT group in Ohio, lobby group. He congratulated them on 15 years of existence. And it was in 2020, I believe, when he did this video. So they’re using a video back in 2020. and this is when LaRose claimed to be a moderate Republican and wanted everybody to have a good chance to vote and he wanted to make it easier to vote and all that stuff. That was before Trump infected him.

[33:56] It’s like a disease. So he ended up turning into a Trump neophyte and so they’re using that against him too. Just wanted to also let you know that as a side note that the other two claims I checked too, the other two claims against Merrin, those were a bust as well. First claim was that he had voted against protecting Ohio jobs from non-native English speakers. That was House Bill 205, and that was the result of a refinery explosion in Toledo some months before that, and they were going to tweak the requirements, the safety requirements, and things like that. And there was a little paragraph in that bill that if there are emergency issues, like there’s an emergency and they need to hire people immediately to fix something or construct something, then if they don’t speak English, that wasn’t a consideration. So that was just a little bit part, a little.

[35:00] A paragraph in the bill, but he voted against it. Merrin voted against it, and I remember reading about this in The Blade. He voted against it because he was against regulations on businesses, period. He didn’t want to see that bill at all. He didn’t think that refineries should be changed. And then the other claim that he voted against a budget that would cut taxes was House Bill 33, and Merrin voted against that again because he wanted more in the bill and at that point he had not been he’d not been picked as speaker had not been elected speaker so he was fighting with the current speaker to get amendments put in and the current speaker wasn’t recognizing his amendments, and so he got hit him and his buddies to to vote against that bill at that time and and it did fail The bill, House Bill 33, failed. But he eventually voted for the final bill. So again, it was a procedural vote. It wasn’t indicative of his politics. And so that’s what I’m saying is a lot of these campaign literatures, they take a thin piece of truth. You know, he voted against this bill. Yes, he voted against this bill. And then they twist it for their own narrative.

[36:26] And that’s perfectly okay. That’s protected speech, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Personally, I think that it should be against the law to lie in campaign literature, just like it’s against the law to lie in advertising. But, you know, I’m only one person. So again, to reiterate, Derek Merrin is no liberal.

[36:50] Thank you for listening to this episode. You can check out more information, including links to sources used, in our show notes on our website at SecularLeft.us. Secular Left is hosted, written, and produced by Doug Berger, and he is solely responsible for the content. Send us your comments, either using the contact form on the website or by sending us a note at comments. At secularleft.us, Our theme music is Dank and Nasty, composed using Amplify Studio.

[37:36] Music.

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