With Pompeo Out of the Running, White Nationalists Dream of a Kansas Senator Kris Kobach

(Screenshot / YouTube via Kris Kobach)

With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo out of the picture, Kris Kobach, the Republican former secretary of state of Kansas and an anti-immigration hardliner, has a better chance at winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate this year, and that has some white nationalists excited.

Pompeo has reportedly decided not to run for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts’ soon-to-be-vacant seat. According to Politico, some GOP officials worry that Pompeo’s decision to remain Secretary of State will provide Kobach with a better chance at securing the Republican nomination for the seat, and that Kobach might then lose the election to a Democratic opponent in the general election as he did in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race. Opponents of Kobach have attacked him for his connections to racists and white nationalists, who applaud Kobach’s support of anti-immigrant policies. The white nationalist website VDARE called Pompeo’s announcement “one domestic upside from the tensions with Iran.”

On a podcast uploaded Sunday, co-host of the racist podcast “Fash the Nation” James Allsup and a host appearing under the moniker “Ethnarch” interpreted Pompeo’s decision not to run as a glimmer of hope for Kobach’s candidacy, but they worried that the GOP would abandon Kobach if he secured the Republican nomination in his primary. “Fash the Nation” is hosted on the alt-right podcast network The Right Stuff, which is helmed by white nationalist Mike “Enoch” Peinovich.

“It benefits us, and it benefits the American people, because if he actually does end up being nominated and ends up being elected to the Senate—somebody who actually does have the interest of the people, the actual people, of the United States at heart in terms of dealing with immigration—and if [Republicans] tank, then it just demonstrates in an undeniable way that our narratives on this are correct and that these people will do anything—anything—to avoid even the possibility of making things better for us legacy white Americans,” Ethnarch said.

“Yeah, the GOP—all about winning these seats—would rather throw the election, would rather allow a Democrat to take the Senate seat then assist someone like Kobach, someone with Kobach’s politics in taking that, in winning that seat. It’s a very winnable election, of course. Kansas is one of these states, it’s very typically deep red. It’s a seat that Republicans have held for many years, and we already see the NRSC—National Republican Senatorial Committee—positioning themselves, putting themselves in a place where they’re indicating they’re not going to be involved with Kobach, even if he does become the nominee. They would rather throw this race than assist him in the victory,” Allsup said.

“And the important thing about this election, too, is that being a 2020 Senate election, he would not be up for election again until 2026. And no matter what happened to Trump, or what happens to Trump in 2020, if Kobach is to win this seat, he’s going to be in office longer than Trump is. With everything we know has happened in the Trump administration and their position on immigration, the total cave that we’ve witnessed and covered in real-time, having somebody like Kobach in the upper house, in a position of power, as an anti-immigration, as an immigration restrictionist leader, that would be immensely powerful going forward,” Allsup said. “And Kobach is someone who we believe to be—this is just based on what we’ve seen in the media and what we’ve read—we get the impression that he is someone who is ideologically motivated and he is someone who is not going to be swayed at the flip of a coin like Trump is on immigration.”

“Having someone like him as a senator, that would be extremely powerful,” Allsup said.

Kobach has long supported Trump. He joined Trump’s presidential transition team as an immigration adviser in 2016, and Trump’s team even considered him for Homeland Security Secretary. In leaked Trump transition vetting docs reported by Axios last year, Republican National Committee researchers flagged Kobach for vulnerabilities regarding “white supremacy” while he was being considered for the post. RWW’s Miranda Blue noted when Kobach joined the transition team:

Kobach, like Trump, has been known to be drawn to conspiracy theories, especially ones that bolster fears of the growing influence of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. On his weekly radio show in 2014, Kobach entertained the question of a listener who wondered if a Hispanic majority in the U.S. would start conducting “ethnic cleansing,” saying that while he thought it was unlikely, “things are strange and they are happening” under President Obama. On another occasion, he told a caller it would not be a “huge jump” to think that the president might ban all criminal prosecutions of African Americans. Just this year, Kobach told a caller to his show that Obama might well oppose Kobach’s disastrous proof-of-citizenship voting restriction in Kansas because he’s not a citizen himself.

After Kobach won Kansas’ gubernatorial primary in 2018, RWW’s Peter Montgomery noted:

Kobach has been equally zealous in promoting his anti-immigration views, not surprising for someone who worked for Immigration Reform Law Institute, a legal affiliate of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, one of the anti-immigration groups founded by promoter of white nationalist ideology John Tanton that was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2015, Kobach spoke at a writers workshop event held by the Social Contract Press, which frequently publishes the work of white nationalists.

For these reasons, Kobach offers hope to some white nationalists that their anti-immigrant policy agenda could be championed in Congress.