Out of the ashes of the January 6th Capitol Riots, the modern Republican Party has fomented a new fanatical subsection. Fueled by controversy, hearsay, agitated propaganda, and fanatical loyalty to former President Trump, the loud Republican minority continuously spreads a shadow of frivolity and radicalism over the conservative party.
This lack of seriousness in preference for futile media-grabbing plots is perfectly reflected in Representative Kevin McCarthy’s journey to becoming the new Speaker of the House. This process was protagonized by the inability to persuade a few Republican holdouts labeled as “Never Kevins’ on social media. These holdouts led to 15 rounds of voting, becoming 5th longest Speaker of the house election in history. To contextualize, the top 4 were all in the XIX century. The most noticeable standout was Florida’s 1st Congressional District Representative, Matthew Gaetz.
Gaetz’s recent political career has been showered in controversy, and this was no different. He was the most vocal out of the holdouts. He even voted for Donald Trump in one of the rounds, demonstrating his preference for trivial political gestures over efforts to benefit his constituents. The frustration from the other Republican Representatives culminated in the tumultuous sight of Representative Michael Rogers being restrained from a physical altercation against Gaetz.
Nevertheless, this is not the primary source of stigma against Representative Gaetz. Throughout 2022 Gaetz was at the center of a sex-trafficking investigation. The department of justice investigated an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old who was paid to travel with him beyond state lines. Gaetz was never charged. However, according to a former White House aide’s January 6th committee testimonials, this did not stop him from allegedly seeking a presidential pardon from former president Trump.
Moreover, this new Republican trend has been spearheaded by Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene’s entire political career has been built on conspiracy theories, fear-mongering, and radicalism. Starting with her relentless promotion of fraud in the 2020 presidential election and cult-like obsession with Donald Trump, the extent of this elected official’s belief in conspiracy seems satirical. Some of her statements include that California wildfires were caused by “beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats”, that President Obama is secretly Muslim and is part of an attempt of an Islamic takeover of US politics, that Hillary and Bill Clinton were responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy Jr, and countless more.
Besides the baseless stories of evil deception, Greene has been an avid spokesperson of far-right rhetoric, focused on anti-LBTQ+ and white-Christian talking points. She has endorsed legislation to ban the gay pride flag, and the Black Lives Matter flag as they are “hate America flags”. Furthermore, Greene has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Equality Act, which intends on nationally outlawing anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. She claims this legislation significantly attacks religious freedoms and women’s rights. In addition, in honor of her trans daughter, Illinois Democrat Marie Newman flew a transgender flag outside her office. As Greene’s office is in front of Newman’s, her response was hanging up a sign reading, “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. Trust the Science!”. All this bigotry climaxes on her vociferous belief that there is a nefarious plan for the eventual extermination of heterosexuals.
In addition, Representative Greene is a significant catalyst for the country’s growing theocratic, authoritarian movement. Greene is a self-proclaimed Christian Nationalist, the notion that all of America’s laws, institutions, and history are based on Christianity and Christians and should thus be the fundamental core of American legislation. Her evident objection to secularization is pinned with her history of anti-democratic statements. Greene asserted that if she had orchestrated the January 6th Capital Riots, “we would have won”, and “it would’ve been armed,”. She responded that this was a sarcastic joke, even though endless claims of mass conspiracy and election fraud were an unmistakable stimulant for the sentiments that fueled the fire of January 6th.
The most recent act in this circus is the gift that keeps on giving. George Santos is the newest representative for New York’s 3rd congressional district. Santos ran for office with the supposed transcript of being a Jewish-Brazilian-American, Baruch College alumni, having a successful career in finance working for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and being the founder of an animal rescue organization. While all of this paints a picture of a qualified and serious person, this is far from reality. Numerous news outlets, including The Times, have discovered that he is not Jewish, did not graduate from Baruch, did not work in the finance industry, didn’t start an animal rescue organization, and the Brazilian authorities have charged him for check fraud. Santos has run on a sea of lies. He has thus been bombarded by the media, fellow politicians, and his constituents demanding his resignation.
Some of these claims have not been addressed by Representative Santos, while others have been met with excuses that can only be labeled as ridiculous and patronizing. For instance, when pressed on the issue of him falsely claiming to come from a family of Holocaust refugees, even referring to himself in a campaign position paper as a “proud American Jew”, his defense was “, I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was ‘Jew-ish'”.
The newest revelation in this saga comes from Santos’s life in Brazil. A Brazilian drag performer claims that Santos used to be a fellow drag performer known as “Kitara Ravache.” While Santos has continuously denied these allegations, the pictures provided of Kitara Ravache undeniably mirror the New York Congressman. While Santos is reluctant to step down and his person is truly in question, what we do know is this story is far from over.
This is only the tip of the iceberg and the future projects intensification of these trends. American politics is becoming a reality show bordering on satire. Conspiracy theories have become a significant player in political discourse, and fruitless acts of showmanship are second nature. This loud minority must be tackled by the political elite, especially fellow Republicans. The fate of the republic is in the hands of both sides of the coin. Serious work to better the American people and the world’s citizens should be the north star that drives daily. Hopefully, they realize their massive responsibility and stop this craze before it gets worse than it is.
Featured image: “Illustration” on future of GOP by Michael Osbun