Few people realize that Marjorie Taylor Greene, aside from being a steroid-addicted extra-marital sex maniac and a far right over-the-fringe sociopath is also a multimillionaire. Fewer still realize she bought her congressional seat in 2020 with a $953,650 contribution to her own campaign. Writing for the Washington Post this morning about Greene's creepy mail-slot verbal assault on AOC, Monica Hesse noted that "The tirade was unhinged and unprofessional-- and her supporters loved it. Greene has raised a gargantuan $3 million for her reelection campaign in the first quarter of 2021, exciting conservatives with her antic performances of right-wing grievance politics. The fact that she is a proud American woman seems key to how her supporters make sense of how upsetting this has been to those of us who think conspiracy-mongers who lecture through mail slots shouldn’t be rewarded with political clout. 'It seems to me,' one supporter concluded on Twitter, 'that some people on these social media platforms the left leaning liberals can’t stand a strong conservative woman like Taylor Greene.' In Greene, Trump conservatives have something precious: a 'nasty woman' of their very own, who can behave execrably to other women without being tagged as sexist. Someone without the male baggage of Trump ('grab ’em by the pussy') or Mitch McConnell ('nevertheless, she persisted') or James Inhofe (warning an EPA nominee that if she didn’t 'behave' he would 'talk to her daddy') or Matt Gaetz (under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking) or Brett Kavanaugh (obvious reasons)... She hates liberal women and makes it okay for you to hate them, too. She preaches retrograde beliefs and uses her status as a woman to abracadabra these beliefs into something parroting feminism. She allows the Ted Yohos of the world to outsource their fury at the likes of Ocasio-Cortez-- to nod at Greene deferentially, as if to say: I’m with her... She’s a woman! She’s proud to be an American woman!
"[W]hen," concluded Hesse, "you’re asserting your proud American femininity by yelling at another proud American woman about how much you think she sucks, that should be a warning sign of what your own pride is worth. A woman kneeling outside of another woman’s office, calling her a baby and demanding she come out and fight is not a strong woman-- she’s a desperate woman. She is not demonstrating that her party isn’t sexist. She’s only showing that everything that comes out of her mouth is junk mail."
And Greene may not even been the most insane of the new generation of Republican Party icons. Take Lin Wood-- despite the name, not an American woman. Wood was a Trump lawyer in Georgia who is currently running to lead the South Carolina Republican Party. Bat-shit-crazy barely begins to describe this GOP media darling. Keep in mind that basically all the white folks in South Carolina (ie- Republicans) have been swimming in the Trumpist Kool Aid since the country was founded. They started the Civil War.
The state is 63.8% white and Trump took 55.1% of the vote there last November (54.9% against American woman Hillary Clinton in 2016.) The last time South Carolina voted for a Democratic presidential nominee was almost 4 decades ago when they went for neighbor Jimmy Carter. In 1956 South Carolina picked JFK over Nixon but 4 years later they were on board with Goldwater over LBJ, 309,048 (59%) to 215,700 (41%). Last year Trump even managed to flip 2 blue counties that had voted for Hillary, Dillon and Clarendon. South Carolina white were all in for Trump-- 69-29%. How many are ready for a drooling imbecile like Wood? I'd say most of them are, but he lost today anyway. Wood only managed to get 28% of the vote against McKissick's 68%.
Smart money was betting on another Trumpist, albeit an establishment one: current party chair Drew McKissick. "Insiders," reported Politico staff writer Marc Caputo, "say McKissick’s internal support is too strong to overcome, that the vagaries of party rules favor him and that Wood started his campaign too late to win. But Wood-- who only moved to South Carolina from Georgia this year-- is drawing unusually large crowds as he campaigns on the baseless claim that the election was stolen from Trump, and that GOP officials need to keep fighting to prove it. It’s a belief that runs deep among the party base, a reality brought into sharp focus this week when House Republicans removed Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership post because she said Trump and his followers were lying about a stolen election."
Against that backdrop, Wood has sought to condemn McKissick for conceding that Biden is the president.
“Vote for McKissick if you have conceded the election,” Wood wrote Thursday to his 848,000 subscribers on the Telegram social media app, where he showed a video clip of McKissick acknowledging the reality of the Electoral College results.
“Unlike McKissick, President Trump has never conceded the election. Neither have I,” Wood wrote. “I plan to keep fighting to expose the TRUTH: Donald J. Trump won a landslide election and is our President. I pray the SCGOP delegates will choose wisely.”
The contest is roiling one of the best-organized Republican parties in the nation and one of the most important-- South Carolina hosts the first presidential primary in the South.
Wood has reached well beyond Trump’s disproved claims that the election was stolen from the former president. He is fostering wild conspiracy theories positing that Biden is actually dead-- replaced by body doubles-- and that Trump is still president and planning to reveal himself in a phoenix-like fashion to punish his enemies.
And like Trump, Wood is already accusing McKissick of election fraud-- without any evidence-- even before the first ballots are cast Saturday.
“This has just made the internal cancer worse,” said Joel Sawyer, former executive director of the South Carolina GOP.
“What’s going to happen Saturday is that McKissick is going to win, and Lin Wood is going to say it was fraud and scream and holler conspiracy theories,” Sawyer said. “The problem in South Carolina is many of the people at the county level, the delegate level, have been echoing the former president’s fact-free claims of election fraud, but those very people are now going to have to turn around and defend the legitimacy of this election. But they don’t have a lot of moral authority to dispute fact-free claims of election fraud.”
McKissick supporters have distributed flyers mentioning all of the Democrats Wood financially supported in the past, and disseminated videos on social media about the many controversies swirling around the attorney, ranging from being sued by former coworkers to promulgating QAnon to being investigated for potential voter fraud in Georgia.
McKissick’s devotion to Trump is hardly in doubt: He canceled the 2020 GOP primary in the state, depriving former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford-- who sought to challenge Trump-- of an opportunity to have his message heard. McKissick also presided over big successes for the party in the 2020 elections.
But Wood, who was involved in many of the failed lawsuits to overturn the November election results, contends McKissick was insufficiently supportive of Trump and the “Stop the Steal” movement after the election.
On Friday, Trump issued an endorsement of McKissick, the second time the former president has publicly backed the chair since Wood entered the race, and the third time in total. Yet Wood has consistently tried to cast doubt on whether McKissick was really endorsed by Trump.
Two days earlier, at a “Pints & Politics” forum hosted by the Post and Courier newspaper, McKissick performed a delicate balancing act when asked if Biden was the legitimate president.
“In terms of the Electoral College, yes. He won the Electoral College,” McKissick said, noting Biden was “certified” as the winner.
Those arguments, however, have fallen flat with the wing of the party that is QAnon-infused and deeply enthralled with Trump. The result is a race that stands out even by South Carolina’s sharp-elbowed standards.
Wood has gone so far as to make dark insinuations that McKissick isn’t doing enough to stop “the real pandemic” of pedophilia, and suggested he needs to resign over unspecified “nefarious activities” with GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. Wood has also called the coronavirus pandemic a “plandemic,” suggesting it was part of an organized plot.
“The GOP races, and especially the chair races, in South Carolina have always been circuses,” said Luke Byars, a former party executive director. “But this is a first for a lot of us who have been around for a lot of crazy talk in the party. I don’t think anyone has come to this level.”
Byars and other party insiders say that Wood is harnessing the roughly 25 percent of the party and delegates who seem to want a change after every election and often gravitate toward any challenger pledging to be more conservative than the establishment-- even though the South Carolina establishment is among the most conservative in the nation.
...As for Wood’s candidacy and the conspiracy theories he is spreading in pursuit of the chair position, Sanford said that it’s “a reminder of the fact that Trumpism, sadly, isn’t dead. We’re going to have these conversations for a long time.”
GOP strategist Wes Donehue said he thought “Wood’s candidacy is an immediate nothing-burger, but in the long term, everyone better pay attention. The base is pissed and questioning anyone and everyone who has been around for more than a couple years.”
One top ally of McKissick expressed a similar concern, saying “there’s always been passion in our party and very conservative members. But it’s like some people lost their minds, and we’re worried it’s contagious.”
And it isn't just "our party" is South Carolina. Another Politico staffer, James Arkin, looked at the shit show going on in Arizona right now, a state Biden managed to win-- also a state that elected 2 Democrats to the Senate in the last two elections. "Republicans in the state," reported Arkin, "are still divided over the results of the last election, months after President Joe Biden was sworn into office. An ongoing and extraordinary audit of the 2020 vote count in the state’s largest county-- rooted in conspiracy theories and the false belief that Biden’s election was not legitimate-- is deepening the schism six months after the election, with no clear end in sight. The GOP-controlled state Senate subpoenaed ballots from Maricopa County, where more than half of Arizona’s voters live, and hired a previously unknown private firm to conduct the audit. Republican supporters say the effort is necessary to ease concerns of voters about the 2020 vote count. But other Republicans are speaking out to warn that the amateurish conduct of the audit and the conspiracy theories it has amplified could cause lasting damage to the party. Next year they must defend an open governor’s seat and try to flip back one of the two Senate seats Democrats took in the last two elections. Instead of a wake-up call spurred by those two Trump-era losses and Biden’s narrow statewide victory, they worry the audit is the latest sign of the Republican Party marginalizing itself in a state where it once reigned supreme."
“First of all, you do need to get to a point where you say, 'Okay, we're done. We have sufficiently addressed concerns that might be out there in the community.' And I feel like we had gotten to that point,” Bill Gates, a Republican Maricopa County supervisor, said in an interview. He said the county’s previous audit and recounts of ballots already determined there were no issues in the election.
“I believe that this is only appealing to a certain segment of the Republican Party,” Gates said. “I think there are many Republicans who are horrified by what's going on. I think there are very few independents who aren't horrified by what's going on. But it's not too late.”
...Division is a familiar state for the Arizona GOP, and this one is emblematic of a broader fight within the party, between Republicans relitigating the 2020 election and others seeking to move on and focus on opposing Biden ahead of 2022.
“They are listening to a very vocal Republican base in Arizona that is confident something was amiss in the 2020 election, and they are responding to that vocal constituency,” said Stan Barnes, a Republican consultant and former state senator. He added: “I don't throw in with some of my Republican chattering class that says this is a belly flop for Republicans in 2022.”
...The audit is being run, in part, by a firm called Cyber Ninjas. The little-known firm is run by a man who has previously promoted baseless conspiracies about the 2020 election and appears to have little past experience in conducting elections or running audits.
...Gates, the Republican deeply critical of the audit, agreed that the party needs to refocus but said the GOP has time to do so without completely eroding its chances in 2022. He said Biden’s agenda provides fodder for Republicans, if it’s their focal point.
“There's a great opportunity, but the last thing that the party should be doing right now is relitigating the 2020 election and basically saying that if you don't believe in the Big Lie, then you're not welcome in this party,” Gates said.