September 21, 2018


Why Did This GOP Candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania Tell a Bizarre Story About Raccoons? (DAN SPINELLI, SEPTEMBER 21, 2018, Mother Jones)

[E]xpressions of admiration took a bizarre turn last week during a campaign stop in Wilkes-Barre, a city in the northeastern part of the state. In an attempt to explain Trump's appeal to the voters who earned him the presidency, Wagner borrowed from an allegory originally published in Infowars, the far-right outlet run by conspiracy monger--and persona non grata on Facebook and Twitter--Alex Jones. 

Here's a relevant portion of what Wagner said, as transcribed by PennLive, a Central Pennsylvania news site:

"You've been on vacation for weeks. You come home and your basement is infested with raccoons. Hundreds of rabid, messy, mean raccoons have overtaken your basement.

"You want them gone immediately. You call the city. You call four different exterminators, but nobody can handle the job. But there's this one guy and he guarantees to get rid of them, so you hire him.

"I'm not referring to Donald Trump here, but I'm referring to the raccoon guy. You don't care if the guy smells, you don't care if the guy swears and you don't care if he drinks a lot and you don't care how many time he's been married. You don't care if he has a plumbers crack.

"You simply want the raccoons gone. You want the problem fixed, he's the guy, he's the best period. That's the raccoon guy. Here's why we want Trump. Yeah he's got faults and I'm not going to read exactly what's on here, but we really don't care. This county is mess because politicians suck.

There's a whole lot to unpack there. 

The original Infowars article, which was attributed to an anonymous "80 year old American," goes further in making a direct comparison to immigrants and refugees. "This country is weak, bankrupt, our enemies are making fun of us, we are being invaded by illegal aliens and bringing tens of thousands of Muslim refugees to America, while leaving Christians behind to be persecuted," the piece states.

Wagner's story seems to traffic in some of the derogatory rhetoric Republicans have used to describe undocumented immigrants in the past--"rats and roaches" being a prominent example, along with Trump's infamous description of Mexicans as "vermin" who carry crime and drugs. 

Posted by at September 21, 2018 2:25 PM