Brian Hughes, co-founder and associate director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University, said he was not surprised to see how far-right Mr. Masters encouraged.
“If a candidate refers to the ideas that make up the replacement theory, he or she need not spell it in the ugliest of terms; the message is getting across,” said Mr Hughes. “Because of the wider political context taking place here – including mass murder – the dog whistles are much more effective. You are playing with fire when you play footsie with these ideas.”
mr. Masters isn’t the only Republican Senate candidate to address voters’ fears about immigration. Adam Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general who won the Republican primaries last month, touched on a similar theme by telling supporters at an event in rural Nevada last year that illegal immigration was part of a Democratic strategy.
“It’s scary, scary stuff – 200,000 people pour over the border every month,” said Mr. laxalt. “Is the media covering this wall to wall? Of course not. Because that’s what the left wants. The Left wants to radically transform this nation and they want to destroy the values that have made this country a great nation.”
The message is not central to Mr. Laxalt, and he’s focused on Hispanic outreach, kicking off a “Latinos With Laxalt” campaign in Las Vegas in March featuring a mariachi band and free tacos. “The Republican Party represents the Latino community,” he said at the event. “We have shared values and we need better messengers.”
Jesus Marquez, a Laxalt adviser, said Mr Laxalt’s comment last year focused on democratic immigration policies, not Latinos, and that the campaign continued its reach to Hispanic voters, particularly in Las Vegas. “Latinos want security,” said Mr. Marquez. “They care about securing our border.”