Candace Owens was a witness to the House Judiciary Committee hearing on hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism. During her testimony, Owens called white supremacy an “election strategy” and reiterated that black conservatives faced discrimination.

Owens is the communications director for right-wing organization Turning Point USA. She has been a leading voice in the welcoming of black Americans to the Republican party, and was most active when Kanye West attempted to do the same. Tuesday the Republican party chose Owens to represent them during the hearing.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) appeared surprised by the selection of Owens for the hearing saying, "Of all the people Republicans could have selected, they picked Candace Owens," before playing a December recording; where Owens downplayed the actions of Adolf Hitler, for the sake of nationalism.

"If Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay fine. Problem is that he had dreams outside of Germany, he wanted to globalize. He wanted everyone to be German, everyone to be speaking German," Owens said in the recording.

Lieu questioned if her statement could be viewed as legitimizing Hitler, and a representative at the hearing said yes.   

Owens was also criticized for her denying the existence of the Southern Switch and Southern Strategy at the hearing.

In 2005, Mike Allen first wrote of the Southern Strategy for The Washington Post, prior to Ken Mehlman — then-Republican National Committee chairman, confirming its existence.

"Some Republicans gave up on winning the African-American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization. I am here today as the Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong," Mehlman said. 

Allen explained the strategy began in 1968 under Richard M. Nixon.

"[It] described Republican efforts to use race as a wedge issue — on matters such as desegregation and busing — to appeal to white southern voters," Allen wrote. 

The New York Times viewed Mehlman's statement as "empty" at the time — in 2005 — for downplaying the large effect the strategy had. 

"The Southern strategy meant much, much more than some members of the G.O.P. simply giving up on African-American votes. Put into play by Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon in the mid- to late 1960's, it fed like a starving beast on the resentment of whites who were scornful of blacks and furious about the demise of segregation and other civil rights advances. The idea was to snatch the white racist vote away from the Democratic Party, which had committed such unpardonable sins as enacting the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and enforcing desegregation statutes," The Times wrote. 

Owens comments brought back the discussion around the strategy from lawmakers to celebrities. 

"The Southern Strategy succeeded in many ways. One was on display today in front of the House Judiciary Committee in the form of a black woman spouting revisionist history about pain suffered by black people, suggesting the Strategy never existed. Keep your eyes open, beloveds," tweeted filmmaker  Ava DuVernay. 

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