Let’s be honest. Many Republicans in politics, the media, and corporate America were really hoping that Bernie Sanders would be the Democratic presidential nominee. That would have made it easy for them to say, “Well, Donald Trump is bad, but we can’t vote for the socialist.” And, then they could have moved along being good Republicans like always.
That didn’t happen. They lost another excuse to back Trump on Tuesday when Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate. They were all hoping he’d pick Karen Bass or someone else with some hefty Communist baggage. And then, after the Harris announcement, something far worse happened to the excuse-makers on Wednesday morning—President Trump endorsed a member of the most fringe movement in American politics:
Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2020
Greene, for those still blissfully ignorant of her name and record, won a run-off election for a House seat on Tuesday. She is part of the QAnon movement, which loosely believes that a secret group of evil elitists is both running child sex rings and running the world. Referring to her QAnon beliefs, Greene recently said that “there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”
Given that she is running in a safe Republican district, she’s expected to win her general election and be seated as a member of Congress next year. And she probably won’t be the only congressional QAnoner: Nearly a dozen Q-aligned candidates are running for Congress.
Without a doubt, there will be more media coverage of this unfortunate phenomenon—especially as President Trump cultivates and coddles these candidates, feeding their addiction to this sick conspiracy theory one tweet at a time. There is a reason we all see the Q signs, flags, and T-shirts at Trump rallies. He’s groomed these people.
If Trump had his way, we’d have a Q Congress. They’d lock Hillary Clinton up, all right.
But let’s talk more about what is considered a safe Republican seat. Because they don’t only exist in Congress. They also exist on conservative editorial boards, at conservative news channels, on some corporate boards, and in all the places that hire Republicans to give voice, influence, and power to traditional GOP positions. As long as they talk the GOP talk, they are safe.
In these safe Republican seats, they’ll support the party no matter what. No matter whom it nominates. No matter what they say or do.
Today, however, these individuals can’t just toe the traditional GOP line. They have to grapple not with Bernie Sanders or AOC but with QAnon and its influence on their own party. Sure, they’d love to fall back into their traditional roles, bashing Democrats’ big tax-and-spend plans, but that ignores the hydroxychroloquine-snorting, Q-friendly elephant in the room.
It’s no coincidence that as the Q movement gains influence, our nation is suffering through a terrible convergence of medical and political disinformation. Conspiracies have consequences. More than 165,000 Americans have died because our leaders thought coronavirus concerns were a “hoax” and a plot designed to hurt the president.
It’s painful to admit, but the most radical elements of online politics have gained a firm foothold in the GOP. President Trump explicitly fused his paranoid political philosophy with Q on Wednesday with his tweet.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is running in a safe Republican seat; there aren’t any Democrats to blame for her ludicrous statements and beliefs. There is no way for Republicans of sound mind to “both sides” their way into supporting her without endorsing Q, as the president did.
So, what are they going to do now? There’s no excusing Q.