If you think the Republican Party is off the rails now, look at what could be coming next. It is good news that proud racist Iowa Rep. Steve King is nearing the end of his 18 years in Congress after losing his renomination bid in June. However, Donald Trump and the GOP have been inspiring more extremists to throw their hat in the ring, pulling the xenophobic party even further away from rationality and decency.
Madison Cawthorn, for example, who is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 11th District against Democrat Moe Davis, has a lot of explaining to do. This week, Cawthorn has been trying to defend a photo he posted on Instagram in 2017 of himself beaming and “having such a good time” with his brother at “Eagle’s Nest,” Adolf Hitler’s vacation home in Germany. In a caption that matched his upbeat demeanor, Cawthorn casually referred to Hitler as “the Führer” while noting that Hitler’s retreat was “on my bucket list for awhile, it did not disappoint.”
In a local TV interview this week, Cawthorn denounced “any kind of white nationalism, any kind of Nazism,” though he curiously began his statement with the qualifier, “As of right now.” Appearing on CNN on Thursday, Davis accused Cawthorn of sending other dog whistles. For example, he pointed out that Cawthorn’s year-old real estate investment company’s name, SPQR, is a symbol recently favored by white nationalists, and that Cawthorn conducts interviews in front of the Betsy Ross flag, often “used by white nationalists [to] symbolize the good ol’ days when white men ruled the country.”
Across the border in Georgia’s 14th District, Marjorie Taylor Greene declared victory against her primary opponent this week. As an unabashed bigot and QAnon conspiracy theorist, Greene is eager to “put into action her talk of rooting out an imagined deep-state cabal of pedophile Satanists who are trying to take down President Trump,” as the New York Times put it. Greene drew applause when she referred to Nancy Pelosi in her victory speech by declaring that “we’re going to kick that bitch out of Congress!”
Trump appears ecstatic about Greene, tweeting on Wednesday about how she is a “future Republican Star” and “a real WINNER!” Trump is now also embracing Cawthorn, after first backing Cawthorn’s primary opponent, meeting with him recently in the Oval Office and at a fundraiser at the nearby Trump International Hotel (without masks, of course).
The Republican Party was already bad news when Trump hijacked it in 2016. It is now a woefully lost cause, attracting candidates who would help amplify Trump’s bigotry even further. In roughly 80 days, America will have a chance to defeat Trump and flip the Senate blue—and send a decisive message that the Republican Party has no legitimate place in American politics.