Sunday, February 19, 2023


As expected, the race for Michigan GOP chair came down to two election deniers, and the crazier one won:
Republicans here, reeling from a midterm election rout that many blamed on the influence of former president Donald Trump, responded Saturday by spurning the former president’s choice for state party chair — and choosing someone even more extreme.

Kristina Karamo, who refused to concede her 14-point loss for secretary of state in 2022, beat former attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, who had Trump’s endorsement, in three rounds of contentious voting.
DePerno lost the attorney general race in 2022 by nearly 9 points. But that's when he made the mistake that probably doomed him in the party chair contest:
... some delegates said they grew to doubt DePerno because, unlike Karamo, he conceded his loss in November.

“Matt ran out on us; he didn’t fight for us,” said Mark DeYoung, a delegate from Harrison, Mich., and chairman of the Clare County GOP.
You're now a RINO if you lose an election and concede.

Karamo warmed up for the party chair election with an edgelord-y speech:
In a Thursday speech to a right-wing “patriot” group in nearby Charlotte, Karamo argued that Christianity belonged at the core of American politics, called evolution “one of the biggest frauds ever perpetuated on society,” and asserted the existence of demons.

“When we start talking about the spiritual reality of the demonic forces, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, this is crazy, we can’t go there,’” Karamo said. “No. It’s like, did you read the Bible? Didn’t Jesus perform exorcisms? ... Scriptures are clear. And so if we’re not operating as though the spirit realities of the world exist, we’re going to fail every time.”
That's fairly typical for Karamo, as CNN noted last summer:
“Abortion is really nothing new. The child sacrifice is a very satanic practice, and that’s precisely what abortion is. And we need to see it as such,” Karamo, a community college professor, said in an October 2020 episode of her podcast “It’s Solid Food” ...

Karamo went on to say in a later episode of her podcast ... that demonic possession is real and can be transmitted through “intimate relationships.”

“If a person has demonic possession — I know it’s gonna sound really crazy to me saying that for some people, thinking like what?!” Karamo said in September 2020. “But having intimate relationships with people who are demonically possessed or oppressed — I strongly believe that a person opens themselves up to possession. Demonic possession is real.”
She calls public schools "government indoctrination camps," refers to evolution as "one of the biggest frauds that have been perpetrated on us," and thinks premarital heterosexual cohabitation leads to the sexual abuse of children:
“When we normalize people fornicating and we normalize people living together with their boyfriends and girlfriends and all that stuff, we open a door for us to get to the point where we have people want to normalize pedophilia,” she said in November.
She's also said that the January 6 insurrection was "completely Antifa posing as Trump supporters." Also, she spoke at a QAnon conference in 2021, although she insists she doesn't believe in QAnon.

But her fame on the right is the result of her focus on election conspiracy theories:
Karamo rose to prominence in Michigan after the 2020 election when she alleged to have witnessed fraud as a poll challenger during the state’s count of absentee ballots. The month after the election, Karamo testified before a state Senate committee, signed onto the unsuccessful Supreme Court challenge to Biden’s win and appeared on Fox News conservative opinion shows to promote her allegations and falsely claim widespread fraud occurred in the state.
This has made her a hero at denialist sites like Gateway Pundit, where she's called the "Savage Angel," a nickname that's catching on elsewhere on the right.

The fact that Karamo is Black doesn't seem to be a problem for Republicans, who embrace people of color when they share the party's most extreme beliefs. (See also: Clarence Thomas, Kanye West, Diamond & Silk.)

Karamo's running mate, Malinda Pego, who's white, was elected co-chair of the state party. She's made the news a few times. Here's a story from last year:
A Muskegon County commissioner tried and failed to pass a resolution honoring a slave owner in the name of Black History Month.

Malinda Pego represents the northern-most portion of Muskegon County, including the area of Holton Township.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Pego proposed a resolution to honor William Ellison for Black History Month.

The resolution failed. Only Pego voted in its favor.

Ellison was a Black slave owner.

Pego states in her resolution Ellison should be honored because of his financial accomplishments as a Black man.
There was also the time she proposed that conservative districts secede from Muskegon County. And the time she defended a fellow commissioner who called a third member of the commission a "little queer" on Facebook. And the time she urged the county to disband its hazmat team, saying, "We are not in the market to save people's lives." (The hazmat team had cost the county $16,000 the previous year, which is less than ten cents per resident.)

I hope this is political suicide for Michigan Republicans, but I bet it won't be. Recent polling shows that President Biden would beat Donald Trump by 4 in the state -- an uncomfortably close margin. The race for the Senate seat that's being vacated by Debbie Stabenow is rated "lean Democratic" by the Cook Political Report.

For some reason, the Democratic Party can never make conspiracy crackpots the face of the party. I'm not sure why. There's so much to work with here.

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