Ready For Prime Time
Plus: How the crazies became the GOP mainstream.
We always knew they were there: eyes always a bit too bright, pupils a tad too dilated, and they had done their own research.
They were the ones sitting in the front row, wearing lots of buttons, who waited in the parking lot after events, clutching pamphlets and folders stuffed with mimeographed (and heavily annotated) documentation of outrages and conspiracies that YOU ABSOLUTELY HAD TO READ RIGHT NOW.
Birchers, Birthers, Paulites, paranoiacs of various stripes, who spoke in tongues, and read yellowing tracts explaining how Muslims were trying to destroy Christendom, and that the Bilderbergers and Illuminati were secretly running the government.
They weren’t necessarily bad people, just the usual eccentrics and nuts that you’d try to avoid, or, failing that, to politely keep the conversation as brief as possible before taking the stuff which you promised to read, but binned at the first opportunity. Because crazy.
It seemed easy to ignore them. Until they took over everything.
Okay, that is a slight (very slight) exaggeration, but the story of the last few years is how the bug-eyed crazy fringe became the mainstream in the GOP. And now, we are all living in their world.
A man who organized buses to Washington on Jan. 6, tweeted during the Capitol riot that Vice President Mike Pence was a “traitor,” tried to impeach Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan over his actions to stem COVID-19, and spoke at a QAnon conference this spring, just won the Republican nomination for Maryland governor.
And he’s not even the most extreme candidate Maryland Republicans nominated for statewide office on Tuesday.
Maryland state Delegate Dan Cox won the GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday night, buoyed by an endorsement from former President Donald Trump and big spending by Democrats. And his coattails helped his friend and ally Michael Peroutka—a Christian nationalist and former board member of the neo-Confederate, secessionist League of the South whose extreme views are almost too numerous to enumerate—win the GOP’s nomination for attorney general.
In Texas, the state GOP formally embraced the idea of secession.
The federal government, the platform claims, “has impaired our right of local self-government.” Given that Texas supposedly “retains the right to secede from the United States,” the “Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum” on secession.
In Idaho, the Republican Party backed an abortion ban that rejects an exception for the life of the mother.
The state party’s executive committee on Tuesday evening censured House Speaker Rusty Bowers for the apparently unpardonable sin of holding onto his integrity when Donald Trump came calling.
It was left to the head sewer rat, state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward, to announce the (supposed) downfall of this lifelong Republican who had the nerve, the absolute gall, to stand up for democracy and the will of the people.
“The @AZGOP Executive Committee formally censured Rusty Bowers tonight— he is no longer a Republican in good standing & we call on Republicans to replace him at the ballot box in the August primary,” Ward tweeted.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican nominee for U.S. senate from Georgia:
And, of course, the GOP has made its peace with the Big Lie about the 2020 election that was predicated on things like Italian satellites, Venezuelan voting machines, and smart thermostats controlled by the Chinese government.
The crazy starts right at the top.
In Wisconsin, the former president of the United States and Maximum Leader of the GOP called a top state legislator to urge him to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
Former President Donald Trump publicly pressured Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to declare thousands of votes in his state to be illegal in a Tuesday post on his start-up social media platform, Truth Social.
Trump asked, “So what’s Speaker Robin Vos doing on the Great Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling declaring hundreds of thousands of Drop Box votes to be illegal? This is not a time for him to hide, but a time to act!”
This very pointed message was posted after Trump and Vos shared a phone call in which, according to the Wisconsin Assembly Speaker, Trump asked Vos to overturn the 2020 election results in Wisconsin following the Supreme Court ruling.
Which brings us to tonight….