While on the Democratic side we have seen a steady increase in the numbers and popularity of candidates with progressive views, it is the opposite on the Republican side, with candidates with extreme right wing views doing well. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Georgia where a follower of the conspiracy cult QAnon who has in addition made racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic comments, has won the Republican nomination for a congressional seat. Given that district’s strong Republican leanings, she will very likely win the November election and be in Congress starting next year. (Watch out, Louie Gohmert! You are in danger of losing your title for being the stupidest member of Congress.)
In June, POLITICO uncovered videos in which Greene disparaged Black people, Muslims and Jews, prompting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and others in the GOP to denounce the candidate for Congress in northwest Georgia.
In clips posted to her Facebook page, Greene said Black people were “slaves to the Democratic party” who should feel “proud” to see Confederate monuments because they represent progress made since the Civil War.
The Republican candidate for Georgia’s 14th District also labeled the 2018 election of the first two Muslim congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), “an Islamic invasion” of the U.S. government and suggested that Democratic megadonor George Soros, who is Jewish, turned Jews over to the Nazis.
Along with her racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments, Greene has voiced support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. The baseless theory, which has grown in popularity among Trump’s base, claims there is a deep state cabal of Satanist pedophiles in the American government which Trump is working to defeat with the help of an anonymous figure within the government.
Republican elected officials are increasingly promoting QAnon. In June, Oregon Republican primary voters selected a QAnon supporter as their candidate to run against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
What has been noticeable is that Republican party leaders, after initially voicing some concern over Greene in the early days, did not campaign against her, no doubt because QAnonism, like Trumpism, has a cult following that attacks anyone who goes against them.
To the consternation of some House Republicans, neither McCarthy nor the National Republican Congressional Committee took sides in the runoff. Among leadership, only House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) actively worked on Cowan’s behalf.
In June, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Greene’s comments “appalling” and said McCarthy had “no tolerance for them.” But by August, McCarthy declared himself publicly neutral and said he had a good relationship with both Greene and Cowan. His public indifference shocked some members of his conference.
One Republican congressman who dared to criticize both QAnon and Greene was himself attacked by Trump campaign spokesperson.
A campaign spokesperson for President Trump took aim at a GOP congressman on Wednesday after the lawmaker dismissed the QAnon conspiracy theory in a Twitter post.
His tweet came in response to a tweet earlier in the day from [Illinois Rep.Adam] Kinzinger, who called the QAnon conspiracy a product of “Russian propaganda or a basement dweller” following the victory of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter, in the GOP primary runoff for Georgia’s 14th District on Tuesday night.
Trump meanwhile has fulsomely praised Greene.
“Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent,” Trump tweeted. “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!”
So there we are, seeing the inevitable slide of the Republican party as it goes from racist dog whistles to blatant racism to Trumpian disconnection from reality to supporting people with outright bonkers beliefs. You can only watch in horror and wonder how much further it can go. Can theories that aliens have invaded the country disguised as humans be far behind? Call the Men in Black!