At this point, the idea of the “Overton Window” is old hat. Things that were at the extremes of the party in one cycle, are mainstream by the next as the Republican Party drifts inexorably rightward. What was “voodoo economics” becomes the basis of Republican fiscal policy. Policies on immigration slide from hardline to wall. But what’s going on with Trump, and now Greene, is qualitatively and structurally different.
In the past, the Overton Window moved because a small army of lobbyists, strategists, and media figures made it move. They invented the words—like how the inheritance tax became a “death tax”—and framed the issue to make an unreasonable point seem less ludicrous. Then worth listening to. Then commonplace.
That’s not what’s happening with Marjorie Greene. No one is shaping her words to put them into terms that are more acceptable. No one is softening up her abject racism, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim rhetoric. There’s no one on K Street working to make sure that her videos supporting the QAnon conspiracy are pitched to appear mainstream. Marjorie Taylor Greene does not give a f#ck about mainstream. Neither do any of her “where we go one” followers.
That’s why Republican leaders in Congress were staunch in their opposition to Greene and their support for her primary opponent, John Cowan, in Georgia’s 14th Congressional district. But Greene beat Cowan on Tuesday night. Easily.
Greene’s victory leaves Republicans with a national candidate who is running on a platform filled with Son of Pizzagate delusions. That includes the whole international network of pedophile assassins connected through pizza-orders and attempted Deep State coups. That includes how Jews are the real Nazis, Black people are enslaved to the Democratic Party, and Confederate monuments are signs of “progress.”
Greene’s words were roundly condemned by Republican leaders Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, both of whom declared her “offensive.” But the racism and conspiracy theories weren’t offensive to Republican voters. Racism and conspiracy theories are what the Republican Party is about these days. In fact, they are all that it is about. After all, both McCarthy and Scalise have backed up every ludicrous claim by Trump. They’ve been right there, carrying the torch, leading the party toward a horde of people … waving torches.
When Donald Trump ran in 2016, Republicans in Congress dismissed him, but Trump showed he understood the Republican base better than the Republicans. Now Greene is simply demonstrating that again. There are no lines. There is no basement. Republicans want to believe the worst about government, humanity, and especially anyone who doesn’t look just like them. QAnon may be nothing more than product of a thousand demented ferrets scrabbling madly at sh#t-stained keyboards. It doesn’t matter. It provides a source of hate. And the modern Republican Party is all about hate.
Somehow the people who lit this fire still don’t grasp that it’s going to burn everything.