Here’s our annual countdown of some of the most popular issues in 2014 at IREHR.org.
10. European Elections
Many of our readers were interested in the results of the 2014 European Elections and the gains made by the far right this year. As we noted in the article “After the 2014 Euro-Elections” published in June, “Elections to the European Parliament have opened the door to anti-immigrant far right nationalists, anti-Semites and racists in the United Kingdom, France and other countries across the continent. While the keys to parliamentary power have not been handed to these insurgent parties, the recent elections are likely to move anti-immigrant programs into the middle of Europe’s national policy making bodies. And it will slow any moves towards greater centralization in the European Union.” For the most part, far-rightists in this country were jubilant over the election results.
9. Con Job: Tea Party Mobilizing to Rewrite Constitution
Many of you delved into our long-form look at the various Tea Party forces pushing the outlandish notion of a Constitutional Convention. Such a Convention could eliminate things like the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship protections and the 17th Amendment’s direct election of Senators. Some Tea Party factions have given up on that notion, and are instead claiming to be organizing a military coup.
8. Tea Party Nativism
You were very interested in finding out which national Tea Party groups led the way in fighting against President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, what their plans were, and what should be done to stop them. See also: “Tea Party Patriots Plan Nativist October Surprise,” and “Dissecting the Nativist Victory in Oregon.”
7. 2014 Elections
Many of you were interested in our coverage of the 2014 elections. Our investigation revealed that Tea Party endorsed candidates continued to outperform at the ballot box this year. National Tea Party groups, most notably FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots, endorsed 80 candidates for federal office in yesterday’s general election. Tea Party endorsed candidates ended up winning 58 of those races—a 73% winning percentage. You were also very interested in our dissection of the nativist victory in Oregon, and some of the bright spots for human rights in the 2014 election results.
6. Tea Party in North Carolina
When we released our special report, The Tea Party in North Carolina: Threat to a New Birth of Freedom, at the North Carolina NAACP convention in October, we knew that there was a strong reaction to the report. We had no idea that the reaction would be this strong.
5. The Rise and Fall of Richard Spencer
It was quite a year for the young Montana white nationalist, from trying to make a mark at CPAC, to getting deported from Hungary after his big international racist confab was broken up, to keeping his private ski club membership after complaints.
Local residents are pushing to pass an anti-hate resolution at the beginning of 2015, so we’ll keep an eye on Mr. Spencer next year.
4. The Bundy Standoff
What started as a conflict between a belligerent, racist rancher and the Bureau of Land Management turned into a massive confrontation where militia members and Tea Partiers aimed their guns at law enforcement officials. In a year punctuated by protests over police killings unarmed black men, this protest was particularly galling, noted many of you on Facebook and twitter. The reverberations from this standoff and the Bundy victory are likely to be felt for years to come.
See: “White, Far Right, and Armed: Tea Party and Militias Mobilize to Defend Nevada County Supremacist” and “Tea Party Stands By Bundy After Racist Remarks”
3. The Unbearable Whiteness of CPAC
Once again in 2014, the presence of racism and white nationalists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was big news. IREHR first alerted that the nativist English-only outfit, ProEnglish, led by a white nationalist, Robert Vandervoort, was allowed as an official exhibitor for the fourth year in a row. Our behind-the-scenes look showed just how bad it got at CPAC 2014. Of course, We’ll be watching closely at CPAC 2015.
2. Far-Right Rampages
Within the space of just a few weeks this spring, Hitlerites, Tea Party followers, and so-called “sovereign citizens” engaged in shootouts across the country, killing several people including law enforcement officers.
In April, long-time white nationalist Frazier Glenn Miller went on a shooting spree in Kansas City killing two people outside a Jewish Community Center and another outside a Jewish retirement community. See here for a timeline of Miller’s involvement in the white nationalist movement and here for how the community responded to the shootings.
In June, a self-proclaimed “sovereign citizen” barreled his SUV towards the steps of the Forsyth County Courthouse in Cummings, Georgia. Homemade Spike strips, smoke grenades, and pepper spray grenades flew out of the window of the SUV, then a man jumped out of the vehicle wearing a gas mask, camouflage pants, and a bulletproof vest and holding an assault rifle. The man also carried grenades, homemade explosive devices, zip-tie style restraining devices, and several magazines of ammunition. A law enforcement officer was shot in the leg before taking down the perpetrator.
Less than a week later, a pair of Tea Party followers walked up to two police officers having lunch at a Las Vegas strip mall pizza buffet, shouted "This is a revolution!” and shot to death both officers. The two died hours later in a shootout with law enforcement at Walmart.
Just a week after the Vegas murders, a racist, anti-Semitic, self-described “sovereign citizen” camping in the northern California woods shot a California Highway Patrol officer and a Bureau of Land Management ranger during a confrontation.
1. The Status of the Tea Party Movement in 2014
Apparently, you didn’t buy the hype that the Tea Party was dead. You made our special report on the 2014 status of the Tea Party movement the most popular of the year. In it, we tracked the membership of the principal organizations in the movement, we looked at geographic regions where this membership is concentrated, and we followed the money that kept this movement in the public eye. See: Part One: The Tea Party in 2013 available here and Part Two: By the Numbers – Tea Party Members, Supporters, and Sympathizers here. The Tea Party Membership Map is available here.
Thanks for all your support in 2014. We’re looking forward to 2015!