All thanks to Elon Musk, who has revived the perfect word to describe what the Republican Party has in mind for us if they take over either or both houses of Congress in January: Hellscape. That's what they're planning to turn this country into — a nation that is already struggling with issues of race, economic inequality, gender, immigration and, yes, crime. They've got plans for the hellscape they dream of: More guns on the street will solve the crime problem; going colorblind will wipe out issues of race; keeping the minimum wage right where it is will take care of economic inequality, which is exactly where they want it; passing laws against gender-affirming medical care will handle those scary trans kids; and accusing Democrats of "opening the border" should keep all those brown people on the other side of the wall they (sort of) built but have already forgotten is there, probably because it's a total failure.
This article first appeared in Salon.
The poster child for the Republican legislative future is Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. With Donald Trump already squawking about putting her on his ticket when he announces he's going to run for president — maybe as soon as next month — the Republican Party is planning on giving MTG some seat-time by electing her to the House Republican leadership in some as yet unnamed capacity.
It doesn't really make a difference what job they give her, because they don't want the first-term congresswoman's legislative experience. They want her mouth.
In less than two years in the House, MTG has already provided us with a virtual encyclopedia of radical hate and lunacy. Let's take a look at her recent language about abortion to kick things off. The Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade was a "miracle" and a "blessing," Greene said. Last year, when arguing against exceptions to abortion bans for rape and incest, she called a fellow Republican lawmaker, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, "trash" for supporting the exceptions. "She is not conservative, she is pro-abort," Greene said of Mace on Twitter.
Earlier this week in an appearance on a radio show, when a woman called in and said, "My body is my body and I don't want the government telling me what I can do with my body," Greene reacted to the woman, who sounded as if she could be elderly, by saying, "Ma'am, are you having children any time soon?" When the woman brought up the case of a 10-year-old girl who was raped in Ohio and had to go out of state to get an abortion, Greene again mocked the woman for not sounding as if she were of child-bearing age. "Again, ma'am, I know you say it's your body, your choice, but I don't think you're having any children any time soon and I think we need to focus on the future of America and that's our children and the unborn, they're our future also. So let's focus on protecting their lives instead of being focused on the lie that abortion is women's health care, because that's not health care."
Greene of course voted against a recent bill in the House that would codify Roe v. Wade into law, and it doesn't sound like her sympathies lie with the nation's elderly, either, who may see their Social Security and Medicare benefits slashed if Kevin McCarthy takes over as the next speaker of the House.
But it isn't just Greene's votes against every bill put forward by Democrats, or her radical stance on denying women the right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest. It's the way she goes about the business of being a member of Congress that shows what we can expect if she, as expected, becomes part of the Republican House leadership.
The day after a mob of Trump-backing thugs assaulted the Capitol and injured more than 140 cops in the process, MTG was on a right-wing YouTube show hosted by Katie Hopkins, a far-right British commentator with a long history of racist and antisemitic views. It was Greene's fourth day as a member of Congress, and she was already laying claim to a spot on the far right of the Republican Party that no one had yet occupied — although most of the party faithful have joined her there since then. "It's almost like you're one of them," Hopkins said to Greene, referring to the mob that attacked the Capitol the previous day. The New York Times Magazine quoted her reply this way: "I am one of those people," Greene said emphatically. "That's exactly who I am."
In that same magazine feature, published just over a week ago, writer Robert Draper listed Greene's radical fringe beliefs. Greene refers to "undocumented immigrants as rapists, transgender individuals as predators, Black Lives Matter protesters as terrorists, abortion providers as murderers and her political opponents as godless pedophilia-coddling Communists… [S]he has continued to insist that Trump won the 2020 election. She maintains that America should have a Christian government and that open prayer should return to classrooms. She has called for the impeachment of not just Biden but also Attorney General Merrick Garland and the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas." Greene openly calls herself a "Christian nationalist," is unabashed about her adherence to QAnon beliefs and regularly refers to various Democrats as child abusers, Communists and godless heathens.
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And where has all this right-wing venom-spewing gotten her? Well, the talk about Greene as Trump's possible running mate has only just begun, but already it's gospel on the right. She has made appearances with suspected sex-trafficker Matt Gaetz, campaigning for J.D. Vance in Ohio; with Arizona MAGA darlings Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs; on behalf of Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate and fellow Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano; and, of course, alongside MAGA King Donald Trump at several of his recent rallies around the country.
The woman has yet to serve out a full term in the Congress, and she has become the face of the party's future.
What does the future according to Marjorie Taylor Greene look like? She recently released a TV ad for her own congressional race in Georgia (which is no contest) showing her standing in a field and comparing Democrats to wild hogs out to destroy America. Wearing a pair of aviator shades and a black muscle T-shirt, she climbed into a waiting helicopter and shot a feral hog from the air with an AR-15 military-style assault rifle. After the chopper landed, she stood over the hog with a raised fist and a wide grin. "Let's help American farmers out," she shouted. "Sign up below, and let's go hog hunting!" On the screen was a chyron reading, "Enter to Win Now! MTGHOGHUNT.COM."
She had just compared Democrats to wild hogs, and she was fund-raising with a sweepstakes that promised a chance to "go hog hunting."
It's Halloween, and Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn't need to shop for a costume. She can just go as herself.