Congressional candidates have a new electoral purity test: who hates China the most.
Witness the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary race where TV medical personality MEHMET OZ (“Dr. Oz”) and hedge funder DAVID MCCORMICK are making each other’s Chinese-related business investments and past public statements a key platform plank. A similar China slugfest is unfolding in the GOP Senate primary in Missouri.
Those contests are likely bellwethers for how U.S. politicians weaponize growing U.S. public antipathy toward China as a campaign focus in the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race. The strong anti-China rhetoric from some candidates, Asian American lawmakers warn, could fuel growing anti-Asian hate crimes.
“For candidates looking for something on the foreign policy front that may resonate [with voters], China's the obvious choice both because of the disproportionate percentage of Republicans who believe that China's a significant threat and because of the increase overall in a sort of [public] China consciousness,” said RICHARD FONTAINE, chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security. “It's just a sign of the times of how Americans are thinking about these things and [dislike of China] is one of the few things that people generally agree on.”
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