Remind me again why not everyone is calling on this white nationalist to resign?

Rep. David Stringer. Photo by Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services

Back in June, when Rep. David Stringer found himself in the spotlight after a video of him making a campaign speech in which he claimed that public schools are failing because there “aren’t enough white kids to go around” and that immigration was “an existential threat” to America grabbed the attention of the local and national media, I spoke at length with a trusted source about the Prescott Republican.

Having not ever interacted with Stringer, I was surprised at what he had said, and took that stance that he said the quiet part out loud – in a moment of glib honesty, he said something that many Americans might believe, but would never utter out loud, for fear of having to reconcile the racism behind that sentiment.

But my source, a Republican operative who is known to and by just about anyone who is active in GOP politics, was anything but surprised. He was at a fundraising event a month earlier, and Stringer told him flat out that he was a “white nationalist,” my source said.

Stringer hasn’t yet publicly said he is a white nationalist, but it’s clear from his writings that he is, as he has written at length espousing views that have their roots in unabashedly racist organizations like Stormfront.

The Phoenix New Times, which published the most recent round of vile Stringer comments on race in America, discovered an opinion piece that Stringer wrote in October 2017 for Prescott eNews in which he lamented how the U.S. had changed from “a nation predominantly peopled by those of European ancestry into a true multiracial society where White people are becoming a minority.”

The column cites a controversial report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which seeks to curtail all immigration, whether legal or illegal. FAIR was founded by eugenicist doctor John Tanton, and its policies aim to preserve white superiority in America.

But Stringer has written a half-dozen other columns for Prescott eNews, half of which delve into the lawmaker’s thoughts on immigration.

In August 2017, Stringer criticized the response from “dominant media voices” to President Trump’s declaration that there were “good people on both sides” of the Charlottesville riot, in which one side was made up of white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

“For the left, Whites are always at fault. Even when they are the victims… The fact that had the alt left not showed up to taunt and provoke the alt right, there would have been no violence is lost in the media spin of ‘violence on the right,’” he wrote, adding that “the seething cauldron of racial discord is overflowing” in America.

In a September 2017 column about a trip he took to Mexico as part of a legislative and business delegation, Stringer echoed Trump’s disdain for the NAFTA trade agreement, but said NAFTA alone isn’t the reason for the decline of America’s middle class.

The real culprit has been immigration.

“The changing demographics of our country–the immigration that was supposed to enrich us—has likely played a role in hollowing out and ghettoizing our cities, dumbing down our schools and public institutions, increasing welfare dependency and filling our prisons with angry, alienated and hopeless people,” he wrote.

U.S. foreign policy foolishly was focused on “a futile attempt to bring stability to the Middle East” instead of subsidizing Mexico and Central American countries to improve their economies and keep their (brown-skinned) citizens in those countries.

“Illegal immigration from Mexico and central America, driven by economic forces, has irrevocably changed the demographic destiny of the United States and Arizona,” Stringer wrote. “The streets of Phoenix are now filled with the angry voices of ethnic and cultural resentment. Is this not how nations fail – not from external conquest, but thru internal discord?”

In another September 2017 column, Stringer wrote about attending the Hillsdale College Constitution Day celebration in D.C. Hillsdale College, a small but influential private conservative Christian liberal arts school in Michigan, invited staunch immigration opponent U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., to be the keynote speaker to the the 300 or so attendees.

The topic was reforming the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which eliminated from immigration law a quota system based on national origin that favored Northern Europeans that Stringer wrote “gave rise to the unforeseen phenomena of anchor babies and chain migration that has rapidly changed the ethnic composition of the United States.”

Stringer offered a full-throated support of Cotton’s proposed changes, which would limit refugee admissions to 50,000 annually, terminate the diversity lottery, and severely reduce family-based immigration, something Stringer said would “undoubtedly” cut legal immigration and “diminish the current challenges to assimilation.”

Stringer praised Trump for being “the first national political figure in recent memory to advocate for a more selective and restrictionist immigration policy” and for being the first president he could recall who talks about “the negative consequences of large scale immigration,  i.e., the dispossession of native born Americans and the challenges immigrants present to our economy and national identity.”

Even though voters in Legislative District 1 just overwhelmingly re-elected him, prominent Republicans, including Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Lines, have said Stringer and his racist views have no place in Arizona government. So has Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli and Prescott Mayor Pro Tem Billie Orr.

Meanwhile, fellow District 1 Republican Rep. Noel Campbell hung up on my colleague who called to talk to him about Stringer yesterday. And Sen. Karen Fann, the other legislator from District 1, decided the best way to display her leadership skills as the incoming Senate president was to follow the lead of others, as she told the Arizona Mirror that she wants to wait and see what leaders in the House and the Arizona and Yavapai Republican parties do before she takes a stand. (Who will tell her that both parties in June called on Stringer to resign, and the AZGOP has renewed its call this week?)

Oftentimes in life, doing the right thing isn’t the same as doing the easy thing. When it comes to denouncing white nationalist racism, and demanding our government not be led even in part by people who hold those views, I fail to see how the right thing isn’t the easy thing.

Jim Small
Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is a really important debate. And, while I personally agree with all the sentiments expressed, I’m not sure that’s the right answer when it comes to our democracy, when you break it down into the layers.
    Stringer is awful. But he’s perfectly entitled to BE awful and SAY awful things That’s the 1st Amendment. What he’s not entitled to do is implement policies that align with his awful views, because they are unconstitutional themselves. The voters, under full disclosure, selected this awful man (and his congressional twin, Paul Gosar) as their representative in government. Who are these other folks to override their clear wishes? If we weaken our democracy because someone we don’t like was the voters’ choice, then we’ve weakened it for us all. That doesn’t feel like a win to me.
    Basically the man has painted himself into a corner where he is completely ineffective as a legislator, because he’s so damaged personally and any bill he sponsors will be tainted with his public statements. It would be smart for his own constituents to insist on his resignation, because they really have no effective representation in governing through him. But it seems to me the rest of us should stay the hell out of it.

  2. People like Stringer cannot be allowed to serve comfortably as “political leaders” when they are so blatantly racist. While the current president has made his own positions clear on race, this is no longer about them (we know where they stand). It’s about us. How do we respond to these despicable values? We need him out of office. Now.

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