In a campaign season in which major candidates have been accused of barely hiding their bigotry, one Tennessee congressional candidate has come out of hiding — blatantly declaring his prejudice for any passing motorist to see via his “Make America White Again” billboard.
The billboard is tied to Polk County, Tennessee restaurant owner Rick Tyler’s campaign for Tennessee’s 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The independent candidate, who cites Donald Trump and Ann Coulter as inspirations, explains his convictions in a long, rambling screed on his website: “Yes… the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny… the white American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole.”
Tyler reacted to the controversy stemming from the billboard in an interview with local NBC affiliate WRCB. He describes the sign as his way of urging the country to return to a, “1960s Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver time when there were no break-ins; no violent crime; no mass immigration.” Fortunately, Tyler’s political record has been rocky at best. 2014 election results show that Mr. Tyler received just 0.4% of the votes in a previous bid for the U.S. Senate.
But just when you thought things couldn’t get any more offensive, it was revealed that the Tyler campaign has erected several other fanatical campaign billboards, including one bearing the slogan, “Fight federal tyranny / Stop the Muslim invasion” and another featuring two people of different races holding hands with a circle and slash through them. Unsurprisingly, Tyler appears to be a staunch opponent of gay marriage, interracial marriage and Martin Luther King Jr. (his Facebook pages features a poorly photoshopped image MLK’s iconic “I Have a Dream…” superimposed above a Confederate flag-flying Capitol Building).
Polk County residents are pushing back against the campaign’s attempt to piggyback on the success of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. The Ocoee, TN Kiwanis Club is refusing to meet at Tyler’s Whitewater Grill restaurant and locals are pushing for a boycott of the business. Polk County voters on both sides of the political spectrum were quick to distance themselves from the campaign’s racist sentiments. One Trump supporter commented on local WTVC/NewsChannel 9’s Facebook page, “I’m for Trump but not for that!”