As the Republican Party lurches farther to the right and comes to the successful conclusion of its Southern Strategy, even the party’s most radical candidates can win elections. In an open Democratic seat in Arkansas, where Republicans made significant gains in the election, Republican candidate Loy Mauch defeated his Democratic opponent. According to the Arkansas Times, State Representative-elect Mauch is a staunch Neo-Confederate who is “a current member of The League of the South,” a white supremacist group, and an avowed opponent of Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. He describes the Confederate Battle Flag as “a symbol of Jesus Christ” and “Biblical government,” and an affiliate of the Sons of Confederate Veterans he led presented a speech entitled “Homage to John Wilkes Booth.” David Koon of the Arkansas Times writes:
For seven years, Mauch was the commander of James M. Keller Camp 648 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He stepped down as commander last year. In 2004, angered by the city of Hot Springs’ refusal to remove a statue of Abraham Lincoln displayed in the Hot Springs Civic and Convention Center, the Keller Camp hosted a conference in Hot Springs called “Seminar on Abraham Lincoln — Truth vs. Myth,” with a keynote address called “Homage to John Wilkes Booth.”
Mauch said that he believes Lincoln didn’t follow the Constitution. Of the statue of Lincoln in the convention center, Mauch said: “I didn’t think it had any place down in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He wasn’t friendly to Arkansas. He didn’t have anything to do with Arkansas. Nobody in Arkansas voted for him.”
A prolific writer of letters to the editor (Garland County Democratic Party chair George Hozendorf said one of the only things he knew about Mauch was that he recalled a letter to the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record in which Mauch advocated for enlarging the controversial Confederate flag and Confederate soldier statue at the fork of Central and Ouachita Avenues), Mauch took pen in hand in 2008 during the controversy stirred up by Huntsville businessman James Vandiver’s decision to respond to the election of Barack Obama by flying a Confederate battle flag in front of his motel.
“The government has lost its moral authority over God-fearing Americans,” Mauch wrote to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “I wish more patriots like James Vandiver would take their stand for what the Confederate Battle Flag truly symbolizes.”
When asked what the Confederate flag symbolizes, Mauch said: “It’s a symbol of constitutional government. It’s a symbol of Jesus Christ above all else. It’s a symbol of Biblical government.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s profiles of the League of The South, which calls for Whites to “establish a Christian theocratic state and politically dominate blacks and other minorities,” and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has ties to extremist groups such as the League and the Council of Conservative Citizens, reveal their radical underpinnings. The SPLC has documented the Southern Republican politicians who have ties to such racist groups, and Mauch appears to be the latest example of a politician who views the Southern Confederacy with nostalgia and praises its history with religious fervor and nationalistic devotion.