Yesterday, Joe Biden announced that Kamala Harris would be his running mate.
Harris is a walking, talking embodiment of the America that so terrifies white nationalists: an Indian mother, a Jamaican father, a Jewish husband. She’s also a whip-smart lawyer and a seasoned public servant. Harris is one of a new generation of highly accomplished, very diverse Democrats–and by “diverse” I don’t simply mean that their ranks include many men and women of color; they are also ideologically, religiously and geographically diverse.
Then there are the Republicans.
Yesterday also saw primary elections in a number of states. In one of those, in Georgia, a white loony-toons conspiracy theorist handily won the GOP nod for Congress. (In all fairness, it was a female loony-toons conspiracy theorist, so maybe that’s progress.)
Conspiracy theorists won a major victory on Tuesday as a Republican supporter of the convoluted pro-Trump movement QAnon triumphed in her House primary runoff election in Georgia, all but ensuring that she will represent a deep-red district in Congress.
The ascension of Marjorie Taylor Greene, who embraces a conspiracy theory that the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorism threat, came as six states held primary and runoff elections on Tuesday.
Greene has also made a series of videos in which she complains of an “Islamic invasion,” claims Black and Hispanic men are held back by “gangs and dealing drugs,” and pushes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. After her win was announced, Trump gave her his “full-thoated support.”
The Brookings Institution , as well as the FBI, has confirmed that (despite Trump’s rants about “antifa” and Black Lives Matter) members of white supremacist organizations and adherents of widespread conspiracy theories like QAnon (largely embraced by white nationalists) are responsible for most of the terrorist attacks in the U.S.
In the last four years, violence linked to white supremacy has eclipsed jihadi violence as the predominant form of terrorism in the United States. Beyond high-profile terrorist attacks in the United States like the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue and 2019 El Paso Walmart shootings, white supremacists have also tried to seize on the protests following George Floyd’s death to foment chaos.
In the Georgia GOP primary, Ms. Greene defeated a neurosurgeon described as “no less conservative or pro-Trump.” She held a lead of nearly 15 percentage points early Wednesday.
The New York Times story, linked above, reported that Greene’s victory “is likely to unsettle mainstream Republicans.” But there really aren’t many–if any– “mainstream” Republicans left, a reality that seemed to escape the authors of the report (and continues to escape most of the Times political reporters).
The reality–especially painful for those of us who spent years working for a very different Republican Party–is that Donald Trump is not an anomaly, and today’s GOP is no longer a political party connected to a set of governing principles and policies. Today, to be a member of what is now the GOP cult is to adopt a tribal identity –an identity characterized by white grievance and a furious rejection of scientific, demographic and moral reality.
Not to mention sanity.
QAnon is a wild, unfounded belief that Donald Trump, of all people, is waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping pedophiles in government, business and the media–a war that will lead to a day of reckoning on which prominent people like Hillary Clinton will be arrested and executed. A troubling percentage of today’s GOP base believes it.
I keep thinking back to that great–and prescient– speech from the 1995 movie An American President, when Michael Douglas, playing the President, thunders
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it.
Today’s Republican Party has become a cult composed of lightly-tethered-to-reality know-nothings who have uncritically and enthusiastically embraced the party’s only consistent, remaining message: “You should fear ‘those people’ –the ones who don’t look or worship like real (i.e.white Christian) Americans. They are to blame for all of your problems and disappointments.”
And so it goes….