Washington DC – Since the start of Monday's election campaign for US Senator Ted Cruz, US President Donald Trump received a warm welcome from the thousands of mostly red-clad Republicans who gathered at the Toyota Center of Houston.
The audience had applauded during the speech given by Cruz, who faces the Democratic challenger Beto O & # 39; Rourke in a race very much observed in the mid-term elections on November 6.
But when Trump took the podium and his speech took a further turn to the right, the crowd erupted in applause and chants of "United States!"
On Monday, after addressing unemployment and taxes, among other issues, Trump declared himself "nationalist", who is defending himself from "corrupt and power hungry globalists".
"We are putting the United States first … it has not happened in many decades," he said, adding: "We are taking care of ourselves for a change, friends."
He continued to accuse the Democrats of being "globalists" who want "the world to do well." [by] Frankly he does not care so much about our country. "
"You know, they have a word, it became old-fashioned, it's called nationalist," he continued. "And I really mean it, we're not supposed to use that word, you know what I am, I'm a nationalist, use that word."
Trump used the term, nationalist, again on Tuesday, defending the recently agreed trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
With the midterm elections less than two weeks away, Monday's rally was the latest in a pattern of Trump candidates and Republicans across the country that employs an increasingly aggressive campaign rhetoric.
In races from California to New Jersey, Republican candidates, campaign announcements and advertisements have accused Democratic opponents of defending "open borders" and supporting "terrorism."
Theory of conspiracy
In North America and Europe, far-right and ultra-nationalist groups have discredited their political opponents as "globalists," a term that researchers and experts describe as a whistle for dogs with antisemitic overtones.
While some right-wing politicians and commentators use globalism interchangeably with globalization, the term now more commonly refers to a far-right conspiracy theory that claims the world is controlled by a shadowy group of economic elites.
Monday was not the first time Trump used the phrase. In March, the president provoked a wave of criticism when he referred to his outgoing chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, as a "globalist."
"I may be a globalist, but I still like it," Trump said at Cohn's last cabinet meeting, continuing, "He's a serious globalist, there's no doubt."
"Never underestimate the power of anti-Semitism in this," Shane Burley, author of Fascism Today, told Al Jazeera. "I do not think Trump is making an open reference to the Jews, but the logic of anti-Semitism is to inform the rhetoric."
The right, a coalition of neo-Nazis and white nationalists, emerged during Trump's presidential campaign and after his victory in November 2016.
But right-wing groups were marginalized after deferring with many of the president's policies and facing a backlash from the public following the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.
Burley said the lasting influence of the movement can be seen in the Republican Party's open embrace of far-right issues, including globalism and the conspiracy theories that blame the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros for everything from immigration to the protests against Trump.
"If we think of parts of Trump's base, that rhetoric works very well with them," Burley said.
In recent weeks, Trump has stepped up accusations that Democrats are "radical" leftists who incite "mobs," claimed that protesters receive "payments" and repeatedly attacked a caravan of migrants bound for the United States.
Some Republican incumbents and candidates across the country have followed suit, and the Super PACS on the right has issued a large number of televised campaign ads that attempt to link their Democratic opponents with "terrorism."
Others have apparently targeted non-white candidates for their inheritance, such as the attack ad by Republican congressman Duncan Hunter who claims that his Palestinian-Mexican-American opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is a "threat to national security."
Although Campa-Najjar, 29, is a Christian, Hunter's announcement claimed that the progressive aspirant of the House was trying to "infiltrate" Congress and has the support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
And in New York, another attack ad aimed at the House's African-American Democratic candidate, Antonio Delgado, for his former career as a rapper. Paid by the Congressional Leadership Fund, the announcement accused Delgado of "tying his attacks with extremist attacks on American values."
On Monday, the civil rights group Muslim Advocates released a pre-election report documenting a sharp rise in anti-Muslim sentiment among political candidates in 2017 and 2018.
Heidi Beirich, head of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, explained that Trump has been "escalating in a very serious way" the tenor of the mid-term electoral rhetoric.
"You should be a fool not to know that Trump is trying to use the race as a way to encourage his supporters," he told Al Jazeera.
"There are large sections of this election marked by racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant efforts, and somehow, Trump's victory in 2016 unleashed this kind of extremism in our system."