In the last few weeks, the major social media companies have taken much-belated steps to rein in one of the most pernicious conspiracy theories in recent memory. Namely, “QAnon,” the bonkers notion that an anonymous adviser to Donald Trump is putting bugs in the ears of his most loyal supporters urging them to be ready for Trump to open the trap door under a nest of pedophiles. Supposedly, nearly everyone who is anyone in the Democratic Party and the entertainment world is part of this ring of “sick and evil” people.
Even though this theory has been debunked several times over, thousands of people have been harassed, trolled and threatened as a result of this nonsense. Now one of the loudest promoters of this theory may be on her way to Congress. On Tuesday, businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene won a runoff for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 14th congressional district. That district is in the state’s northwest corner, stretching from the Tennessee border to the outer northern suburbs of Atlanta.
Greene has gained infamy for her open and unashamed support of QAnon. Take this video unearthed by QAnon watcher Travis View, for instance.
She has also used a number of pro-QAnon hashtags on Facebook and Twitter.
And now it looks like, barring something completely unforeseen, she’ll get a platform to burn the nation’s ears with this dreck. The 14th is insanely Republican; with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+27, it is the third-most Republican district in the Eastern Time Zone. Simply put, it would likely take Joe Biden defeating Trump in a 49-state landslide to keep Greene out of Washington.
The thought of an open and unashamed conspiracy peddler being in Congress should send a chill down the spine of any fair-minded American. But at least one congressman seems to think that notion is just peachy. Namely, Matt Gaetz of Florida.
Greene is running essentially as Trump in a skirt; she claims she’s running to help Trump “save America and stop socialism!” That’s all but required for a female Republican candidate in a district Trump won by a punishing 75-22 margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016, Trump’s eighth-best performance in the country. In typical Trumpian fashion, Greene wailed that the big, bad libruls were ganging up on her just because of that. Gaetz believed he’d found a kindred soul.
Gaetz bills himself as one of Trump’s true believers in Congress. For some time, he has been the epitome of the most unhinged wing of the GOP, which is why he’s been nicknamed “Florida Man.” This is a guy who led an effort to storm a secure hearing room in the House basement in the name of standing up for Trump–a move that sounds like something out of the Third World.
On paper, it only looks like he found a kindred spirit in Greene. But it’s hard to believe that Gaetz hasn’t been paying attention to just who Greene really is. Back in June, Politico uncovered a tranche of videos in which Greene unashamedly spewed racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic bilge. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise condemned those remarks.
One has to wonder if this is what Gaetz considers “music to my ears.” But then again, it’s not likely that Gaetz will be held to account for his ill-timed tweet. After all, his district, like Greene’s, would elect a comatose Republican.
Indeed, Gaetz and Greene embody what is wrong with Congress. There is something fundamentally wrong when the great majority of congressional districts are drawn in a way that the district’s minority party cannot possibly win. When a district’s congress(wo)man is effectively decided in the primary, it’s possible for a total schmuck or reprobate to get a nomination and essentially coast to victory. And when you don’t have to fear being held to account at the ballot box, you can be just as unhinged and irresponsible as you please.
The fact that Greene has effectively punched her ticket to Congress despite believing a heinous conspiracy theory should send a chill down anyone’s spine. Likewise, it’s alarming that Gaetz thinks having Greene in Congress is music to his ears despite almost certainly knowing what Greene represents. Both together? This story should serve as a reminder that when Republicans are anywhere near the levers of power, people like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are empowered.
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