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Michigan GOP gubernatorial nominee invoked conspiracy claiming Democrats sought to 'topple' US in retaliation for losing Civil War

(CNN) The Republican gubernatorial nominee in Michigan invoked a conspiracy that the Covid-19 pandemic and protests in the summer of 2020 after the killing of George Floyd were part of a decades-long plan by the Democratic Party to "topple" the United States as retaliation for losing the US Civil War, adding that the party wanted to enslave people "again."

Tudor Dixon, a former TV news anchor, made the remarks on the far-right streaming news network Real America's Voice, which hosts former Trump adviser Steve Bannon's show, in late June 2020.

In a six-minute monologue at the beginning of the show, Dixon said that after the "attempted creation of the Black House Autonomous Zone outside of the White House," referring to a cordoned off area near the White House erected by activists, that Democrats were using this moment to "topple" the US.

"The country today is divided, and this was the plan. It's been in the works for years. The idea that you can topple the greatest country in the world. But to topple a country like the United States of America, you must be planning this for decades," said Dixon. "Why wouldn't that come from the party that lost the Civil War? The party that wanted to own people because they viewed them as less than human? Do you think that the Democrats are over losing to the north?"

During the Civil War, the Democratic Party itself was divided on the issue of slavery as some Democrats wanted to expand slavery in the West while others wanted to leave it up to referenda in the new territories. It was that divide that led to President Abraham Lincoln's victory in the 1860 election.

More than 100 years later, however, after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Democratic Party lost more and more southern White voters to Republicans, who adopted the mantra of state's rights and the "Southern strategy" to appeal to conservative White voters.

Dixon went on to claim that Democrats used the Covid-19 pandemic and the killing of Floyd to divide the country and feed White people "white guilt" so they can assume power and "gladly own" and enslave people of all colors "again."

"Democrat leaders, meanwhile, they sat back in their designer suits, eating their fillet with their nice béarnaise sauce while they watched the country rip itself apart because they were getting it all back, the slaves again," said Dixon. "This time they'd be people of all colors -- poor and broken -- looking to them and begging for help. And they will gladly own you," adding that next they will take "your guns, your speech and your God."

CNN asked the Dixon campaign about these comments. The campaign responded not by addressing the substance of the comments but rather by claiming "CNN is rushing to the aid of their favored candidate, Gretchen Whitmer." CNN followed up by asking if Dixon wrote the monologue about the Civil War, the campaign did not respond.

A CNN poll released Monday found that incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer leads Dixon by six points, 52% to 46%.

False claims on abortion and education

A CNN KFile review of other comments Dixon made found that she also peddled inaccurate claims about schools and education, including falsely suggesting that school nurses could perform abortions without parental consent if a ballot initiative was passed.

"It could be a school nurse that would be giving somebody an abortion without a parent's consent," said Dixon in a July 2022 interview with a local TV network. "It's a healthcare professional that can perform an abortion. That's a really open-ended term," she said in a different interview that month with the network. "So it could be anybody, it could be a school nurse." Dixon made similar claims on a Michigan Radio morning show this past July.

The ballot initiative, Proposal 3, would amend Michigan's state constitution to create a "right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy" if passed in this year's election. Nurses are not allowed to perform abortions in Michigan.

But under Michigan state law, schools are forbidden from discussing abortions in the context of reproductive health, and teachers and staff face disciplinary action from their districts for referring or assisting students in obtaining an abortion.

Dixon strongly opposes abortion rights, and has said she supports exceptions only if the life of the mother is at risk, but not for rape or incest.

Dixon's comments align with her education platform pushing parents' rights and admonishing educators for choosing school curriculum she disagrees with.

She suggested that teaching children about equity was akin to promoting socialism at an event with a local conservative organization this past January.

"Equity means the government is gonna provide everything for you," she said. "So you are teaching children everybody should be equal. That is the next step to socialism, because what they're saying is that government should be providing everything for you, and you should all be equally poor."

In her June 2020 monologue on Real America's Voice, Dixon also claimed that Democrats were not teaching the "true" history in public schools, which she later described as "government-run indoctrination centers," and said the party didn't want people to know that White Republicans "freed the slaves."

"They have rewritten history for years. It's not Republicans in our schools. It's not Republicans running the unions, and it's not Republicans writing the curriculum for our children. No, it's Democrats," she said, adding that the exclusion of Black Wall Street and the Tulsa race massacre in 1921 from school curriculums was because Democrats control curriculums. "They don't want you to know that history, the true history."