A couple of weeks ago, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene headlined a gala held by the Wake County GOP. As the N&O says, Greene is an extremist “known for claims of widespread election fraud during the 2020 presidential race and for comments she has made embracing QAnon, an online conspiracy movement that has propagated a litany of unfounded theories, such as alleging Democratic elites ran a child sex abuse ring.” The AP this week called her a rising star, saying “If Republicans win the House majority in the November election, Greene is poised to become an influential player shaping the GOP agenda, an agitator with clout.”
Not all Republicans are happy about the party’s embrace of Greene. Wake County’s only GOP state representative, Erin Pare´, refused to attend. Brent Woodcox, an attorney for the Republican state senate caucus, tweeted, “I wonder why @WakeGOP never wins anything anymore. A convention of willingly duped morons and easy marks for grifters and con men. The institutional Republican Party is worthless and actively makes it harder for conservatives to achieve meaningful political victories.” I give him high marks for courage. His boss, Phil Berger, was a bit more tactful, saying “There are people in both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that win elections in their district that don’t sell so well in other parts of the country.” Berger and Woodcox said out loud what a lot of Republicans are actually thinking.
But Green is far from the exception in the modern GOP. The party has normalized extremism in the wake of Donald Trump. Down in Georgia, Heisman Trophy winner Hershel Walker is neck-in-neck with incumbent Raphael Warnock in the race for the U.S. Senate seat. Walker has paid for at least one abortion and is accused of wanting more. He’s threatened to hurt or kill his family and girlfriends. He engaged in numerous extra-marital affairs and has children out-of-wedlock with several different women. According to one of his baby-mamas, he has largely abandoned one son except for paying child support. Not that long ago, the GOP was the party of family values.
North Carolina’s version of Greene and Walker is Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson. Robinson is every bit as extreme as Greene. He called LGBTQ+ people “filth.” He claimed the movie “Black Panther” was “created by an agnostic Jew and put to film by satanic Marxist. How can this trash, that was only created to pull the shekels out of your Schvartze pockets, invoke any pride?” At CPAC, Robinson essentially said that the GOP is fighting a holy war, saying, “Save this nation. Read your Bible. Believe in God.” And warned that “socialist nitwits” are trying to take over the country. And like Walker, Robinson paid for an abortion.
However, while otherwise mainstream Republicans will diss Greene, they will embrace Robinson. Like Greene, his politics are the politics of division, using inflammatory rhetoric and embracing antisemitic conspiracy theories. He debases the people he considers enemies of a Christian nation and uses violent analogies to discuss politics. Like Walker, he’s an unvetted Black Republican who embraces social conservativism though he’s forgiven for his own indiscretions. Overall, he’s a pretty good representation of today’s GOP–paranoid, inexperienced, incendiary, and unforgiving except when it comes to himself.