Flying to Washington state tomorrow

Should I worry?

It’s no secret that Washington state has a white nationalist problem. Among the rugged mountains and towering pines are neo-Nazi groups and one of the largest chapters of a violent white supremacist organization. But there’s one group that has been increasingly and alarmingly connected to these extremists: Washington state’s GOP.

The latest example is a pro-Nazi blogger Greyson Arnold’s affiliation with the state party. According to Federal Election Commission records reviewed by The Daily Beast, the Washington State GOP paid Arnold $821.87 on July 15 for “payroll.”

Arnold runs the far-right Telegram account “Pure Politics,” which traffics in Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, praise of controversial lawmakers, and anti-COVID-containment sentiments. It also has more than 12,000 followers who frequently comment with racist and antisemitic language.

But Arnold himself has said plenty of distressing things. As CNN reported last year, Arnold has advocated shooting refugees, killing undocumented immigrants, and has posted praise for Nazi Germany. He actually once said Adolf Hitler was “a complicated historical figure which many people misunderstand.”

Nah, I’m not going to worry any more than usual, because the Republican party is pro-fascist everywhere. It should not be at all surprising anymore that Republicans are finding common cause with Nazis.

Also, I grew up there. I knew people who were exceedingly deplorable; I had good friends of Japanese descent who could tell stories about how their families were mistreated in WWII; I’ve been reading David Neiwert for years (his blog has gone quiet, unfortunately, but he’s now a staff writer for Daily Kos). It’s a great state with some ugly veins of authoritarianism running through it. Also, being dependent on a single major employer, Boeing, for so long, now supplanted by places like Amazon and Microsoft, really enabled a lot of pro-business Republican types.


  1. billseymour says

    Is Spokane in one of the far-right areas?

    Amtrak’s Empire Builder spends a pretty long time in that station for crew change, servicing, and splitting into two trains (the front half goes to Seattle, the rear to Portland…eastbound, the two combine into a single train).

    That all happens in the wee hours of the morning, so there’s no reason to go into town; and there are always Amtrak personnel on the platform for one reason or another; so I guess there’s no reason to worry in any event; and I’ve never had any problem.

  2. says

    Spokane is way out there on the right, which is too bad, given how lovely the Palouse is.
    The thing is that even in the hotbeds of fascism, the bad people are a minority.

  3. JoeBuddha says

    If you follow the “keep left” signs, you should be fine. On the Pacific side, we have our crazies, but we’re mostly sane.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    Even before the neo-Nazis started making concerted efforts to populate the Pacific Northwest in the 70s, the region already had a nasty reputation for racism. Hell, Oregon was started as an constitutionally white settlement that banned Blacks from living there.

  5. raven says

    Don’t forget Matt Shea, the elected state representative from Spokane Valley.

    Matt Shea is a domestic terrorist who frequently advocates for mass murder of people the christofascists don’t like including nonxian males, nonxians, migrant aliens, etc.. He wants to overthrow the US government and replace it with a fundie xian Iran style dictatorship.
    He has participated in numerous incidents of domestic terrorism and has a long history of violence himself.

    He was also the elected state representative from the Spokane area.

    Political violence

    An investigation commissioned by Washington House of Representatives reported, on December 1, 2019, that Shea had planned and participated in domestic terrorism on at least three occasions. This included his participation, organizing, planning, and promotion of the 2014 Bundy standoff in Nevada, the 2015 armed standoff in Priest River, Idaho, and the 2016 armed seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon.[8] Shea led a delegation of right-wing legislators from Oregon, Washington and Idaho that met with law enforcement on January 9, 2016, in Burns, Oregon and were appraised of confidential intended law enforcement strategies for dealing with the refuge occupiers. Shea then disclosed those details to Bundy, according to the report.[45]

    On December 19, 2019, Shea was accused of domestic terrorism in a report released by the Washington State House of Representatives.[46]


    In October 2018, Shea acknowledged that he had distributed a four-page manifesto which called for the killing of non-Christian males if a war were to occur and they do not agree to follow fundamentalist biblical law.[3][4] Shea was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for investigation as a result.[5]

  6. seachange says

    Rick’s father’s funeral coincided with Hoop Days there. Both events were in June 2022. There were lots of rainbow flags on the front of the businesses downtown Spokane. This is not how he remembers the town he grew up: his memory matches PZs.

  7. moarscienceplz says

    “Currently, he’s trafficking children–war orphans from the Ukraine”
    I am not intending to pick on Akira MacKenzie here, but please, everyone stop the bad habit of saying “The Ukraine”. I am not fluent in Russian or Ukrainian, but as I understand it, the word ‘ukraine’ translates as ‘borderland’, so the old style of always saying “the Ukraine” demotes the sovereign country of Ukraine into just an accessory of Russia. People of good intent should always emphasize that Ukraine is its own country, with its own people, language, and culture.

  8. Dennis K says

    I’m curious how things will go down in the PNW and California with the upcoming, disastrous Moore vs. Harper decision from SCOTUS and an election sure to be wrought with GOP fraud (see last week’s episode of “This American Life” for a peek at the shit about to go down). The republic is most likely finished. We’re witnessing history, folks.

  9. moarscienceplz says

    @#9 Dennis K
    I don’t know why you are worried about California redistricting. We have an independent commission to draw the lines, and its work has been just about the most uncontroversial thing in our state politics.

  10. Dennis K says

    @10 — I’m not talking about the crime of localized gerrymandering, I’m talking a complete systemic failure. Republicans are poised to replace the current with authoritarianism, especially with a favorable decision on Moore vs. Harper, which they are almost certain to get. The path is then set to divide the country into a federation of state legislatures that can dictate when, where, and if voting will even matter. In my experience, most people have no idea how ominous this SCOTUS decision really is.

    My question is more “long term” (although it won’t be so long) — How will they deal with us rogues out here on the west coast? Trump has already set precedent by sending thugs to attack Portland and further emboldening his FAS Nazi followers (who have already forgotten he left them to the wind on Jan 6). Where does it end?

  11. ldamon says

    I grew up in Spokane in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. On a business trip in the 2010’s I arranged a layover in Spokane, just to check up on my hometown. When I arrived I saw that they were setting up a sound stage and bleachers in Riverfront Park. I planned to go back that evening, expecting a pleasant summer concert. When I got back to the park, I found that the “concert” was an all night prayer vigil for the rescue of the country. Clearly they weren’t doing well with the Obama presidency. It felt frozen in time. I cut my layover short and left without looking back.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    I am told Montana once was a place with labor unions and relatively progressive politics. Before it got Reaganized.
    (It is possible I am confusing states with each other, do not take it personally but the northernmost states are like a blur. Rectangles inhabited by a dozen people each)

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Idamon @ 13
    What happened after you left is, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch created something called “Fox News”.

  14. jrkrideau says

    @11 Akira MacKenzie

    Don’t be too sorry. I have spent 40 years saying “The ukraine” it takes time to change the wording. I am getting there but I do tend to say Ukrainia. F** Ukraine.