Rick Tyler, an independent candidate running for Tennessee's 3rd congressional district, said he lacked name recognition. Not anymore, not after he erected a billboard alongside a prominent highway vowing to "Make American White Again." The sign came down this week, after a wave of criticism called the sign a tasteless display of bigotry and racism.
"I'm a believer in truth, regardless of how controversial it may be," Tyler told WRCB-TV. "The truth hasn't changed; America has changed."
Tyler, a 58-year-old self-described "entrepreneur, pastor and political candidate," ran as an independent in the 2014 Senate race, getting less than half a percentage point of the vote against Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., reports Chillicothe News.
During Tyler's current campaign, he has been making a point of saying "the 'Leave It to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, Mayberry' America of old was vastly superior to what we are experiencing today." He said he wanted to engender the thought process found in the 1960s in America. "Some may call it the 'Norman Rockwell America,'" he added.
"It was an America where doors were left unlocked, violent crime was a mere fraction of today's rate of occurrence, there were no car jackings, home invasions, Islamic Mosques or radical Jihadist sleeper cells," Tyler wrote Wednesday night on Facebook. Tyler's Facebook page since has been eliminated.
Tyler also emphasized that the "superior" American era he was referencing reflected, "not coincidentally," a demographic that was "85-plus percent Caucasian." He said he erected the billboard because he believes the U.S. demographic in 1965 was an "integral part of why that America was so much better."
"I like to point to Japan, who is predominantly Japanese, and that's their strength," Tyler said in an live TV interview. "And America's strength was having a White super majority."
He alleges that the roughly 70 million "non-Whites" who have come into the United States, both legally and illegally, have pushed the demographics of Whites down to somewhere near 60 percent. "Nobody was asked, hey, do you want to change the demographics of America," he posed.
As a spin on Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan, Tyler placed the billboard near Highway 411 in Polk County. He said he was expecting the controversial billboard to go viral, and be "spread far and wide."
The billboard was taken down Tuesday night, some time after midnight, according to Tyler, by the sign vendor's spouse. He said his vinyl is missing, and that he filed a police report.
Tyler also said "social engineers deliberately orchestrated today's clash of cultures to our determinant and ultimately to our destruction."
Tyler's campaign website, featuring an illustration of the White House surrounded by a dozen Confederate flags, explains his motivation for the advertisement. "The 'Make America White Again' billboard advertisement will cut to the very core and marrow of what plagues us as a nation," according to his website. "As Anne Coulter so effectively elucidates in her book, 'Adios America,' the overhaul of America's immigration law in the 1960's has placed us on an inevitable course of demise and destruction. Yes . . . the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny . . . the white American super majority.
"Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole."
He said he believes an America restored to this "former greatness will benefit everyone, including people who aren't White."