With the fall of the Trump administration in January 2021, the casual observer may have believed the rot that had grown throughout the GOP had been terminated. The transition to a more orthodox, professional administration, passing progressive policies like the Equality Act, which extends employment protections to gay and transgender Americans, may tempt the commentator to suggest the era of populist nationalism in America has also been left behind.
These pioneering legislative measures however, have not eradicated the now seemingly interwoven polarisation within American society. Whilst Joe Biden was able to flip five states on his way to victory, Donald Trump still amassed 74,222,958 votes, or 46.8% of the total votes cast. This represents the most amount of votes a president has ever won, excluding Biden.
These statistics are not simply a symptom of increases in population, but representative of historic voter turnouts. Not since 1900 has an election bettered democratic participation than in 2020, with 66.7% of the eligible population voting. This is suggestive that rather than the death of Trumpism, it has merely been muffled, with a sizable supporter base lying dormant rather than destroyed. Indeed, the storming of the Capitol was symbolic of a party that has fostered a radical strain that shows no sign of dissipating. Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene is indicative of this angry, conspiratorial and dangerous element in the Republican party.
Marjorie Taylor Greene became the second female Republican to represent Georgia in the House after winning 74% of the vote in November. Examination of her controversies and positions seems a good litmus test for this radical Republican strain:
- In 2018, it was discovered that Greene had posted via Facebook “I am told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that we need another school shooting in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control”. She had also agreed on Facebook with a comment stipulating the Parkland school shooting was a ‘false flag’ operation.
- Further comments were unearthed in 2017 which showed Greene’s belief in the validity of the pizza-gate conspiracy theory, which theorized there was evidence that high ranking members of the Democratic party were using a pizza restaurant to sexually abuse children. Further comments alluded to her belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory, where she stated in a video “There’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan worshipping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”
- Greene suggested that the 2018 Camp fire in California was started by wealthy Jewish bankers using space lasers so as to profit financially.
- Considering the US has now seen half a million deaths inflicted by the pandemic, Greene has referred to mask wearing and lockdowns as ‘Democrat tyrannical control’.
- Greene advocated the execution of prominent Democratic politicians such as Nancy Pelosi for treason. Referring to Pelosi she states in a video “She’s a traitor to our country… it’s a crime punishable by death is what treason is. Nancy Pelosi is guilty of treason”. In January 2019 she liked a post exclaiming “a bullet to the head would be quicker” in reference to Pelosi.
Whilst this behaviour has seen her ejected from committee roles, more moderate Republicans have been slow to distance themselves collectively. Greene and her ilk represent the same problem to the GOP as Trump posed. Do they embrace the ill-founded yet popular conspiratorial momentum generated by megalomaniacs and charlatans, or banish these segments of the party and with it, lose significant numbers of voters?