Here’s a pro-tip. If you want people to take you seriously, don’t show up to a press conference dressed like you bought your clothes from the wardrobe section of the Ringling Brothers closeout sale. People will spend more time laughing at what you are wearing instead of listening to what you’re saying. That’s exactly what happened when N.C. House Freedom caucus members announced their intention to cast doubt on the election results and possibly arrest people.  

Representative Jeff McNeely, a Republican from Iredell County, stood at the podium in a flower print sport coat and polka dot bowtie, backed by neo-Confederate Rep. Larry Pittman and some guy in a neon blue coat and yellow bowtie that I kept expecting to flash. The minute McNeely opened his mouth, the stupid literally just spilled out onto the floor. He says he’s going to randomly sample voting machines in one county in the state. He pulls a name of a county from a hat and it just happens to be Durham, the center of all voting evil in right-wing conspiracy land.  

I couldn’t watch but a few minutes of the video. Iredell County should be embarrassed. Ten years ago, the whole GOP would be ashamed. Not today. These clowns are being taken seriously by far too many people. Recent polling shows 66% of the Republican Party thinks the election was fraudulent.

You would think it was a parody except that it’s disturbing. According the article on the WRAL website, they thought they could use the General Assembly Police to investigate their alleged voting irregularities. In other words, they believe that they have their own private police force. They have little understanding of their role as legislators or the limitations of government. They’ve shed any pretense of supporting limited government. They want to endow themselves with the power to overturn elections. I can’t wait to see conservative Twitter light up with outrage over their attempted overreach.

We need to remember that most of Germany’s elite thought the Nazis were jokes, too. The conservative who helped put Hitler in power assumed that much of his bluster was just that. They thought they could control him all the way up until he had them arrested. These clowns are the ideological brethren of the those right-wing thugs, believing all of the propaganda, lacking any critical thinking skills, intellectual curiosity, or respect for democracy.

McNeely and company are wannabe authoritarians who would steal elections and lock up their political enemies. Right now, they are backbenchers in the Republican caucus. Even Speaker Tim Moore can’t take them seriously, but Moore has his sights on Congress. Imagine if people like McNeely get real power after the gerrymandering that’s about to take place.  Yes, it could happen here.

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