Thursday, August 13, 2020


Marjorie Greene, an openly racist QAnon supporter from Georgia, is likely to become a member of Congress. Politico believes that this poses a problem for the Republican Party:
Marjorie Taylor Greene vowed to be the left’s “worst nightmare” after she won the GOP nomination for a conservative district in Georgia on Tuesday night.

But House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is the one who is most likely to be haunted by Greene.

The rise of Greene — an unapologetic QAnon conspiracy theorist who has made disparaging remarks about Jews, Blacks, and Muslims — is threatening to hurt the entire party as Republicans seek to stanch their bleeding in suburbia and expand their base of support amid a national reckoning over racial inequality. Greene won a GOP primary runoff in a deep red northwest Georgia seat, all but guaranteeing her a spot in Congress next year.

Now Republicans up and down the ballot will have to answer for Greene’s controversial remarks.
But will they really?

Democrats, liberals, and leftists who are very politically engaged are generally aware of Greene. But she isn't a household name, and the past behavior of both the mainstream media and the Democratic Party suggests that she won't become one. By November, when she's expected to win her seat, or by next year, when she's in Congress, she'll probably be about as famous as Steve King or Louie Gohmert -- she'll be someone well known to those who care about politics, but most of your neighbors won't who she is.

By contrast, everyone knows Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who shouldn't be terribly controversial but is regarded as a dangerous wild woman by the right. Greene will never be as famous as she is. She'll probably never be as famous as Ilhan Omar -- who has said a number of controversial things but clearly isn't a proud hatemonger like Greene.

That's because most rank-and-file Democrats get their news from media outlets that seek to inform, while most rank-and-file Republicans get their news from media outlets that seek to inflame. When Fox News, talk radio, and the online right learned about Omar and AOC, they saw an opportunity to stir up rage. AOC and Omar get stauration coverage in the right-wing media. Greene is getting a brief flurry of attention, but except in Georgia she'll largely be ignored from now to November, despite her record of appalling statements:
The candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, suggested that Muslims do not belong in government; thinks black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party”; called George Soros, a Jewish Democratic megadonor, a Nazi; and said she would feel “proud” to see a Confederate monument if she were black because it symbolizes progress made since the Civil War....

In recordings obtained by POLITICO, Greene described Islamic nations under Sharia law as places where men have sex with "little boys, little girls, multiple women" and "marry their sisters" and "their cousins." She suggested the 2018 midterms — which ushered in the most diverse class of House freshmen — was part of “an Islamic invasion of our government” and that “anyone that is a Muslim that believes in Sharia law does not belong in our government.”

In other videos, she directly compared Black Lives Matter activists to the neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members who marched at a white nationalist rally three years ago in Charlottesville, Va., denouncing them all as “idiots.” And Greene forcefully rejected the notion there are racial disparities in the U.S. or that skin color affects the “quality” of one's life: “Guess what? Slavery is over,” she said. “Black people have equal rights.”

... Greene said in one video that unemployment — which affects people of color at disproportionately higher rates — is simply the product of “bad choices” and being “lazy.” ...

Greene later implied that black women have it easier because of affirmative action, complaining they are more likely to get into a college than a white male if they have the same GPA.

“The most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males,” Greene said as she wrapped up one of the videos.

... she has already faced public criticism for taking a photo with a white supremacist, floating a conspiracy theory that the Las Vegas shooting massacre was a plot to abolish the Second Amendment and calling one of the student activists from Parkland high school “little Hitler” ...
And that's before we get to her support for QAnon.
“Q is a patriot,” Greene said in a video posted on YouTube this summer. “We know that for sure.”

Greene said that while the identity of the pseudonymous figure remained unknown to her, signs that the cryptic online hints were making their way to the president gave her hope.

“There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it,” she said.
Democrats could try to make her a household name. They could make her the other evil face of the GOP, after Trump. By November, she could be showing up in the ads of every Democratic congressional candidate, the way AOC and Nancy Pelosi show up in Republicans' ads.

But that's not how Democrats operate. It won't be how they'll operate even if Trump is gone next year and Greene is the most unabashedly racist Republican in Washington.

So Kevin McCarthy is probably making a shrewd decision.
... to the consternation of many House Republicans, McCarthy (R-Calif.) did little to thwart Greene’s bid. He stayed neutral in the primary runoff, despite initially calling Greene’s comments “appalling” and saying he has no tolerance for them....

McCarthy removed [Iowa congressman Steve] King from his committees in January 2019 after the Iowa Republican defended using the term “white supremacist” in an interview with The New York Times. King was defeated in a Republican primary in June, to the relief of many Republicans.

McCarthy’s office, however, said Wednesday that Greene will be welcomed into the GOP conference and given seats on congressional committees, provided she wins in November. A McCarthy spokesman added that they “look forward” to Greene “and all of our Republican candidates across the country” being victorious on Election Day.
Hey, why not? The message sent by the right-wing media, and by every Republican politician, is "All Democrats are as crazy and radical as those extremist nutjobs AOC and Ilhan Omar." The message of the mainstream media, and of most Democratic politicians, is "Republicans are decent people, and it's truly unfortunate that extremists such as Donald Trump and Marjorie Greene are the exceptions to that rule."

It does appear to be slowly dawning on the mainstream press and some prominent Democrats that the GOP is infested with bigotry and conspiratorialism. But the belief that the party is redeemable persists. Trump's defeat, we're told, will bring significant change to the party.

It won't .Marjorie Greene's success makes that clear. But most of America still isn't ready to hear that.

The GOP, which has no ideas other than making the rich richer, always needs a way to sell voters on the Republican Party. QAnon and open bigotry seem to be working now. So you can't blame Kevin McCarthy for encouraging Marjorie Greene. There's no real downside for him and his caucus.

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