Minnesota GOP-endorsed candidate for secretary of state Kim Crockett is being accused of propagating antisemitic conspiracy theories by using imagery of a longstanding trope to allege election fraud in a recent campaign video.
The video, aired before Crockett's speech at the Minnesota Republican Party State Convention, portrays George Soros, the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who supports progressive causes, as a puppet master influencing Minnesota's elections.
The puppet strings are shown to lead to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon and elections lawyer Marc Elias, both of whom are also Jewish.
In the video, Simon and Elias are depicted as the antagonistic Gady Twins from the 1980 horror film The Shining with text reading "Let's wreck elections forever and ever and ever" appearing below them.
In 2018, the Anti-Defamation League published an article detailing the rise of Soros-related conspiracy theories in the United States.
"Even if no antisemitic insinuation is intended, casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates national events for malign purposes has the effect of mainstreaming antisemitic tropes and giving support, however unwitting, to bona fide antisemites and extremists who disseminate these ideas knowingly and with malice," the ADL wrote.
The American Jewish Committee notes that criticizing Soros' politics isn't in itself antisemitic, but portraying him as a symbol "for Jewish control, wealth, and power" is.
In a 2017 report analyzing antisemitic speech on Twitter, the ADL found that Soros figured prominently in a significant number of antisemitic posts.
In Minnesota, antisemitic incidents rose 226% last year compared to 2020, the most recent data shows.
In a statement Monday, Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin demanded an apology from Crockett and said her video amounts to an accusation that a cabal of Jewish elites is manipulating elections.
"The anti-Semitic stereotypes Kim Crockett is using to fuel her campaign are centuries old, tremendously offensive, and have caused incredible harm to the Jewish community across the nation," Martin said. "Crockett owes Minnesota's Jewish community an explanation and an apology for trafficking in bigotry."
Crockett did not respond to request for comment.
“This is far from the first time Crockett has been caught peddling bigotry and pushing conspiracy theories, and the people of Minnesota deserve so much better from our Secretary of State," Martin said.
In 2019, Crockett was suspended from her job at the Center of the American Experiment after her racist comments about Somali refugees appeared in the New York Times.
Crockett was heavily criticized for her statements and publicly apologized. However, last month, she stood by her comments and said they were taken out of context.
"I would say everything today that I said in 2019," she said during a debate.