Jonathan Greenblatt
Jonathan Greenblatt Courtesy of the ADL

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) examined candidates from the far right and far left running in 2022 US primaries, finding more far right candidates won their elections.

The ADL said that its data showed nearly 25 percent of “right wing extremist candidates” had won their primaries, while there were also a significant number of far left candidates who held extreme anti-Israel and anti-Zionist views but they “fared less well at the ballot box.”

Many of the far left candidates “have promoted radical anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric,” according to a related ADL study.

The ADL Center on Extremism identified over 100 candidates they considered “right wing extremists” running for office across the US – “warning that these candidates had the potential to shift the Overton Window – what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ in political and social discourse.”

“While some of these right-wing extremist candidates have lost their races, the results from the primaries held over the last few weeks demonstrate that ties to extremist ideologies and groups have ceased to be a political poison pill,” the ADL said in a statement.

Their survey found that in 28 of the 114 highlighted primaries, the far right candidate won the nomination, with 10 of the 28 winning by over 10 percent.

According to the ADL, far right candidates espoused a range of extremist ideologies, including ties to anti-government militias, white supremacy, antisemitism, and 2020 election conspiracies centered around the Jan. 6 capitol attack.

"It is profoundly troubling on a number of levels that at least two dozen candidates, many holding right-wing extremist views, long considered on the fringes of normal political discourse, have won their respective primaries,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “Given these candidates’ proclivity for engaging in conspiracies that undermine democracy and their indulgence in ideologies that scapegoat and target perceived enemies, this is a dangerous development that risks further normalizing extremist activity and imperiling our political system.”

ADL Center on Extremism’s examination of far left extremist candidates running in primaries found that many promoted “radical anti-Israel and anti-Zionist rhetoric” and frequently used language that recalled antisemitic tropes.

But they found that most of these candidates received a smaller percentage of the vote and lost their primaries.

“Others who have only occasionally veered into inflammatory rhetoric, some of whom have expressed remorse, fared better,” ADL said.

“Perhaps as troubling, during the primaries a notable segment of radical anti-Zionist activists engaged in rhetoric related to pro-Israel organizations and ‘Zionists’ that has employed common antisemitic themes related to Jewish control and Jewish money.”

Examples given included a local Democratic party calling for the “exclusion of all Zionists from American office.”

“While the threat posed by right-wing extremism poses a unique and violent danger to the preservation of our democratic norms and to marginalized communities, it is deeply concerning to see a number of candidates on the far-left promote intolerant and radical views on Israel and Zionism, further sowing division in our ever-polarized environment,” Greenblatt said. “This sort of rhetoric, baselessly accusing of Israel of apartheid or practicing ethnic cleansing, demonizes and ostracizes many members of the Jewish community and cannot be tolerated.”