“Her primary victory shows how she's not an outlier in the party but an integral part of it.
According to NBC News projections, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has won the Republican primary in Georgia's 14th Congressional District, handily fending off five challengers who sought to replace one of the most controversial freshman lawmakers in Congress. Greene is expected to cruise to re-election in her deeply red district in November.
Greene’s victory is a loss for Georgia, and the country. She is arguably the purest expression of Trumpism as an ideology in Congress, not to mention the strangest member of the congressional MAGA squad. In a group that includes scandal-plagued firebrands like Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Matt Gaetz of Florida, that’s saying something. She displays no real interest in or skill for governance, but she’s effective at promoting white nationalist and authoritarian ideas, and she has a gut instinct for how to use disinformation and media stunts to stay in the news. Worst of all, the Republican Party establishment seems to have accepted her extremism as the new normal within the GOP.
Greene has not only survived but thrived.
Greene hasn’t even completed one full term in Congress, and yet she has gotten more national media attention than many veteran lawmakers do in their entire careers. Her Trumpian tendency to use controversy — typically tied to bigotry and conspiratorial claims — is a big reason why.
Shortly after Greene arrived in Washington, Democrats stripped her of her committee assignments — the roles that allow lawmakers to develop policy specialties and shape bills at an early stage — after revelations that, among other things, she had liked a social media post calling for the assassination of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and that she had posted QAnon conspiracy theory material to her Facebook page before she entered office.
To receive such a severe sanction just days after arriving in Congress would have chastened many new lawmakers. But Greene seemed unfazed. Even as more revelations continued to emerge — including her past belief in a baffling and antisemitic conspiracy theory that the Rothschild banking firm might control space lasers that caused wildfires — Greene continued to court new controversy. Impervious to shame, she attended an extremist right-wing conferenceorganized by Nick Fuentes, a Mussolini-sympathizing pundit who advocates for America to return to its purported white Christian roots. She attempted to create an America First caucus in Congress, which sought to recruit people to join based on “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.” (That effort failed.) She falsely declared that Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York was “not an American.” She labeled Republican senators who voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court “pro-pedophile” — while defending her colleague Gaetz, who is still being investigated in connection with allegations including sex trafficking and having sex with a minor. Greene’s personal account on Twitter has been disabled for repeatedly spouting Covid-19 conspiracy theories.
Meanwhile, Greene has faced few consequences within her own party. A mere 11 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to remove her from committee assignments, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has since saidshe’ll get them back if Republicans reclaim the House in November — maybe even “better” ones than she was originally assigned. Greene’s attendance at the Fuentes-led conference was met with a bit of public criticism — McCarthy called her attendance (alongside Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona) “appalling and wrong” — but that quickly petered out.
Generally speaking, Greene has not only survived but thrived. She’s now one of the most recognizable Republicans in the country, and she has achieved that rare status of perceived authenticity on the MAGA right ("Like Donald Trump, she tells it like it is,” a right-wing activist in Georgia noted to a Business Insider reporter recently). GOP candidates in competitive races across the country have sought out her endorsement. And she has established herself as a fundraising juggernaut: She raised the eighth-highest amount among House candidates in 2021 and dwarfed the war chests of her primary challengers.
Republican Party leaders are capable of pushing out members whom they view as harmful to the party. Consider how they rallied together to help undermineRep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina after he implied that senior members of the party engaged in “sexual perversion.” While Greene’s calling her colleagues “pro-pedophile” this spring may seem similar to Cawthorn's transgressions, there are two differences: First, Greene didn’t take aim at GOP leadership but rather at the handful of more moderate Republican senators who remain within the caucus. Second, her accusations were not personal but ideological; it’s now a common right-wing trope to accuse enemies of supporting pedophilia.
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All of this is to say GOP leadership may understand that Greene is a loose cannon but not one who poses a serious danger to the party.
Greene has provided a playbook for future hard-core Trump-wing newcomers. Stirring up maximal controversy, spreading disinformation and trafficking in white nationalist ideas can be a winning MAGA formula, especially among Republican voters plugged into right-wing media. Sure, such politicians will only undermine the legislative process and help tilt the country closer to democratic collapse — but in red districts, they will have good shots at re-election.“