The avowed white supremacist who is running as a Republican for U.S. Senate in California — and polling well — says he only started hating Jews about three years ago.
On May 2, the California GOP condemned Patrick Little, who has called for a Jew-free government and says he marched at the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Until 2015, however, Little was a Marine sergeant and a libertarian who supported the anti-tax Tea Party movement — and Israel, according to Newsweek.
After Little left the service, he said, he became radicalized by talking with other white men on the website WeSearchr and reading the book “Culture of Critique,” which argues that Jews use their above-average intelligence to undermine white civilization.
Little, 33, described himself in campaign filings as a “Civil Rights Advocate.” He landed in second place in a SurveyUSA statewide poll of candidates last week — which would allow him to advance to the general election under California’s all-party primary rules.
“Mr. Little has never been an active member of our party,” California Republican Party communications director Matt Fleming told Newsweek in a statement. “I do not know Mr. Little and I am not familiar with his positions. But in the strongest terms possible, we condemn anti-Semitism and any other form of religious bigotry, just as we do with racism, sexism or anything else that can be construed as a hateful point of view.”
Little is not the only white nationalist to declare his candidacy as a Republican in this election cycle. Paul Nehlen, who has been banned from Twitter for repeated incidents of racism and anti-Semitism and who has also recommended “Culture of Critique,” ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 Republican primary against House Speaker Paul Ryan and is running again this year. And Arthur Jones, a former leader of the American Nazi Party, won the GOP primary in a heavily Democratic district of Illinois when no other candidates ran. Both Nehlen and Jones have been condemned by their states’ Republican parties and by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
It’s likely that more white nationalists and white supremacists are running for office this cycle, Chip Berlet, the author of “Right Wing Populism in America,” told the Forward.
“There’s an uptick in anti-Semitism, and there’s an uptick in anti-immigration histrionics, with a president who panders wittingly or unwittingly to these constituencies. It’s a perfect storm for people like Little to run for office,” he said.
Little has a history of making anti-Semitic statements. On his account on Gab, a Twitter-like platform popular with the “alt-right,” Little has proposed “a government that makes counter-semitism central to all aims of the state.”
Little’s official platform on his website includes calls for bills outlawing AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League, firing the disproportionate number of Jewish judges in the American judicial system, and banning fundraising “for any foundation related to the perpetuating of propaganda related to a ‘holocaust’, formally making US’s stance on the holocaust to be that it is a Jewish war atrocity propaganda hoax that never happened.”
“I hope tonight to dream of a world where gentiles still ruled themselves…to feel free of Jewish supremacism, to have a government where my kin rule over me instead of Jews that want to kill off whites,” he wrote two days ago.
Little did not respond to a request to comment by publication time.
Berlet said that racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, Christian nationalism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia “are all interlinked” in today’s Republican party, which helps make the party much more appealing to extremists who take those feelings to the nth degree. An ADL report published on Wednesday pointed out that at least two Republican members of Congress have met with Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson in the past year, and at least three Republican Senate candidates have granted interviews to far-right outlets with histories of anti-Semitism.
Nehlen, perhaps the closest parallel to Little as a publicly anti-Semitic candidate, lost to Ryan 84%-16% in 2016, and will likely not do much better now that he has been banned from various social media channels and fundraising platforms.
Such candidates “hope to accomplish as much as they can get — they’d love get elected, they’d love to get voters and publicity,” Berlet said. “But what’s really going on here is movement building.” People like Little and Jones can use public candidate forums to connect with new followers strengthen bonds with older ones.
But candidates who are so explicitly extreme are likely to be met with a strong reaction both inside and outside the party.
“I expect there will be a Jewish community response,” Steven Windmueller, a professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion-Los Angeles, told the Forward. He predicted that they will likely mobilize in opposition to his candidacy should he continue to poll highly.
Even if Little does hold his vote share from the SurveyUSA total and advances past the primary, his likely opponent would be Feinstein — the longest-serving Jewish member of the Senate.
Little is one of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats who have declared their candidacy. The poll showing Little’s success, conducted by SurveyUSA, claimed that 18% of Californians supported his candidacy, which was previously so obscure that he does not even have any donation data filed with the Federal Election Commission. But the specific nature of that poll and another one conducted around that time gives weight to the likelihood that Little does not really have the support of nearly one in five Californians.
The other poll, by the University of California, Berkeley, did not list his name at all, confining him instead to one of the “other Republican candidates” who did not score higher than 2%.
The top Republican in the UCB poll, a healthcare company CFO named James P. Bradley, admitted to the Sacramento Bee that he was “shocked” to have polled that high.
The vice president of the bipartisan voter data firm Political Data, Paul Mitchell, pointed out that Bradley was the first Republican option listed in the poll with an “an Anglo-sounding name.”
“When people have no information about certain candidates, there is a little bit of negative racially polarized voting,” Mitchell told the Bee. “Meaning when you look at white voters, they might be more drawn to voting for a name that doesn’t sound as ethnic.”
The SurveyUSA poll only listed two of the 11 Republican options: Little and a perennial candidate named Rocky de la Fuente.
California has not elected a Republican statewide officer since 2006. And the large field likely favors people with higher name recognition and fundraising capability than him. The last California senate race, in 2016, saw a field of seven Democrats and 12 Republicans winnowed down after the primary to two well-known Dems: the state’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, and Rep. Loretta Sanchez.