“In one of the tightest swing districts in the country, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents is running an unabashedly Trump-like campaign. Representative John Faso represents New York’s 19th district—a microcosm of the country, closely divided between densely populated, deep-blue towns and long expanses of rural red—and he isn’t talking about Trump’s tax cuts (House leaders let him vote against them) or focusing on any other issues of substance. He certainly isn’t talking about health care, after voting to strip coverage from almost 10 percent of his constituents. Instead, the centerpiece of his campaign has been claiming that MS-13 gangsters are coming to kill us all, and promising to address the contrived ‘issue’ of low-level drug dealers being arrested with SNAP benefit cards in their pockets.
Faso didn’t face a primary challenger, so this isn’t about throwing red meat to the base to secure the nomination. What we’ve seen so far is likely to be his pitch for reelection. And it’s striking to see a politician who won this relatively purple district in 2016 by portraying himself as a moderate Republican, critical of Trump’s campaign, now choose a strategy that seems more appropriate for a deep-red district in the Bible Belt. (Faso’s popular predecessor, Chris Gibson, was arguably one of the last moderate Republicans in the House.)
This time out, Faso has chosen to run on classic appeals to white racial anxiety. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a right-wing, restrictionist group that doesn’t shy from trumpeting the ostensible dangers of MS-13, no member of the gang has ever been arrested in the district. Journalist Hannah Dreier, who has been covering MS-13 for years, reported that while MS-13 is notably brutal, it is small compared to other gangs, hasn’t grown in membership in recent years, and almost never targets ‘true outsiders—people who are not friends with any gang members or targets for recruitment.’ While MS-13 is not the transnational powerhouse conservatives describe, Drier noted, ‘it is the US gang most strongly tied to Central America, which is where the majority of asylum-seeking teenagers come from.’"
(Via.) Trump’s Racist Rhetoric Is Embraced in a Midterm Contest | The Nation: