Marjorie Taylor Greene Is The Republican Party
QAnon might have begun as a fringe conspiracy theory during the Trump era but, in a short space of time, it has infiltrated the Republican Party and quickly penetrated into the mainstream. Now, four years after it emerged online, QAnon has its own public figurehead in the form of the Republican congresswoman from Georgia’s 14th congressional district. Marjorie Taylor Greene has fully embraced the repeatedly-debunked ideas on which the QAnon movement has been built, supporting violence against Democratic politicians, encouraging conspiracy theories, and promoting anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic ideas.
Greene’s comments cannot be explained as mere misunderstandings or clumsy and insensitive messaging. There is a pattern of repeated behavior by her throughout the last few years, with frequent calls for violence, support for the execution of Democratic politicians, and the peddling of conspiracies that are beyond deranged. Her social media posts, which have been removed since they were reported by media organizations, aren’t “weird and kooky”, as one Fox News anchor attempted to portray them. They are dangerous and depraved, not to mention how they risk radicalizing and inciting others who might be foolish enough to believe in them and to act upon them.
Now, if we are to believe the platitudes from Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, the GOP is horrified by Greene’s remarks, as well as by the positions that QAnon has continued to endorse throughout the years. However, the truth is that this is all a façade. House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney claimed that: “Republicans are not the party of QAnon conspiracy theories, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, or Neo-Nazis.”. That is, of course, unless those people manage to get elected to Congress, in which case the GOP will welcome them with open arms. Greene is no outlier. She embodies everything the Republican Party has become over the past decade.
After all, if she was something that the Republican Party truly and deeply opposed, why did they give her committee assignments and then refuse to remove her? Why did they fail to censure Greene for her actions and comments? Why haven’t they signed onto Representative Jimmy Gomez’s resolution to expel her from Congress? It’s because the GOP doesn’t oppose her views. They know she fits within the party they have built.
The Republican Party has, for many years now, continued to pretend that it remains an honorable, principled political party that champions an agenda filled with conservative principles. In reality, the GOP has become a conspiracy-driven, authoritarian cabal of politicians, exploiting an increasingly divided America, further radicalizing their base of supporters to help them cling on to power, even as their behavior rips apart the very fabric of American society.
The truth is that the GOP is now reaping what it sowed. They embraced the Southern Strategy after the Civil Rights Era. They adopted New Gingrich’s demonizing strategies in the 1990s. They didn’t condemn the Tea Party and it took over the GOP. They failed to disavow and expel Donald Trump from their ranks and, of course, they accepted him as their leader. They refused to tackle the creeping influence of QAnon in their party and now they have a conspiracy theorist running the show in their House caucus. Greene’s ability to get elected in Georgia and wrap the Republican leadership around her finger is a consequence of their refusal to stand up to the fringe groups that have risen up on the right.
Republicans have failed to challenge extremists as they emerged because, essentially, many within the GOP agree with their outlandish notions. They didn’t stand up to the Tea Party because they supported its ideas, but were too afraid to publicly admit it. They were unable to fight back against Donald Trump because, despite all their fake outrage at his unfiltered approach, they saw him as one of their own who would help them win back the White House, the Senate, and the House. Now, they fail to condemn Marjorie Taylor Greene’s conspiracy theories because, after years of spreading falsehoods and misinformation themselves, they know that she is just like them.
We don’t need to look far into the past to see how Greene’s behavior is representative of the mainstream Republican Party. Go back to the years after President Barack Obama was elected and the GOP promoted the racist birther conspiracy theory, pushed by Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Roy Blunt, Representative Louie Gohmert, then-Representative Jean Schmidt, then-Representative Nathan Deal, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and of course, Donald Trump. The House GOP even spent millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to hold hearing after hearing in a futile attempt to try and convince the public that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton committed a crime over the US consulate attack in Benghazi.
The GOP rallied around lies and falsehoods pushed by Trump, spinning them to give them more credibility and attempting to con the public into believing that there was some element of truth in his ridiculous outpourings. After all, Trump was the Liar-in-Chief, making over 30,500 false or misleading claims throughout the course of his presidency, behavior that the GOP willingly and enthusiastically enabled. These lies were further perpetuated by a right-wing media ecosystem that cultivated an alternate reality.
Kellyanne Conway’s infamous ‘alternative facts’ explains what’s happened to the GOP. The GOP has deliberately created a space where individuals are able to manufacture their own vision of the world and feel comfortable within it, without the fear of being challenged or rejected for their views. Former President Trump himself outright praised QAnon.
Trump just said QAnon believers “love our country.
When Trump was told QAnon believes he’s fighting a satanic cabal of pedophiles, Trump gave credence to their conspiracy theory.
QAnon is a deranged domestic terror threat.
This is incredibly dangerous.pic.twitter.com/qpBVflhmqF
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) August 19, 2020
When you build a party that embraces views like that, is it any wonder that someone like Greene would be able to climb the ranks to elected office? Of course not. It was only a matter of time before someone publicly reflected what the GOP has stood for all along.
Greene might, currently, be among the few Republican members of Congress to publicly embrace QAnon, but it’s not just about the one ideology. It’s about the damage and destruction that is caused by the GOP refusing to stand up to conspiracy theorists. Elected politicians have a duty to set an example to their constituents, to their country, and to individuals around the world who might be looking at their actions. When the Republican Party essentially gives the green light to someone like Greene by refusing to hold her accountable for her behavior, they are condoning anyone and everyone who has held those views in the past and might take them further, as they fall deeper into radicalization.
The actions of Greene should spark a wider, more concerning debate in America, as it is a very visible example of how individuals can be drawn into a dangerous and destabilizing spiral of conspiracy, misinformation, and lies, further amplifying the dissemination of destructive propaganda. Social media has become a platform for people to become radicalized by problematic content and much more needs to be done to stop that. Ignoring the very real and direct threat posed by Greene’s ongoing presence in Congress is a sign of what’s to come, as it’s clear that this is not the end of the road for QAnon and similar groups. Indeed, it could just be the beginning of a frightening descent into even more divisiveness.
The Republican Party’s failure to step up shows how, as a group, it’s become corrupted by its desire to cling on to power by any means, including embracing radical and dangerous groups. It also shows how, as a political party, it cannot be trusted to combat the growing threats that are emerging online and in society. Domestic extremism has been allowed to grow in the United States because the GOP has let it happen. For America to confront, in a meaningful and effective way, the increasing risk to safety and stability, it needs politicians it can trust to tackle issues head-on when they emerge, instead of exploiting vulnerabilities in society for their own political gain.
With its behavior in recent weeks, the Republican Party is putting the final nails in the coffin of its credibility. They are showing the world what many have known for years: they are willing to embrace misguided conspiracies if it allows them to cling to political power. Don’t be fooled by their false opposition to the extremists. Greene is no aberration in their party. She embodies the party that the GOP has built. This is the GOP of 2021 and, without any attempt by its leadership to stamp out these people, the party is only going to descend further into this dangerous rabbit hole.