MAGA megafans are still determined to reinstall Donald Trump as president—but they’re divided over how to do so. As far-right efforts to “audit” the 2020 election fizzle, some of the movement’s biggest names have accused each other of being communists, FBI informants, and “homewreckers.”
On this week’s episode of Fever Dreams, hosts Will Sommer and Kelly Weill dive into the feuds roiling the Republican Party. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon-hyping congresswoman from Georgia, went on the attack against a former ally this weekend when she implied that conspiratorial attorney Lin Wood might be cooperating in investigations into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Wood, who previously acted as Greene’s attorney, has spent weeks accusing the lawmaker of being a “communist” because she has not instituted an “audit” of Georgia’s vote. Greene hit back, accusing Wood of swindling money fundraised in defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is accused of killing two people at a protest last summer.
“You have this fight between true believers like Lin Wood who think the election was stolen and that because the election was stolen, there’s really no point in campaigning or doing any activism on behalf of the midterms or 2024, no point in donating to Republican candidates, really nothing to support the party until the 2020 election is overturned,” Sommer says. “On the other hand, you have people who are certainly pretty kooky themselves, but are slightly more cynical, a little more opportunistic.”
Greene and Wood aren’t alone in their rift over audits. Wendy Rogers, an Arizona state legislator who took Wood’s side in the argument, is embroiled in her own audit fight. Rogers was one of the most vocal champions of Arizona’s doomed audit, and is now calling for audits in all 50 states. Those calls, along with Rogers’ fundraising efforts, have struck a bad note with some Arizonans who were disappointed by their state’s audit. Some, in the group “Patriot Party of Arizona” have accused Rogers of being a “grifter” who only supports audits for their fundraising potential. In a series of tweets this weekend, Rogers struck back at the group, tweeting that its members were “homewreckers,” “fornicators,” unfaithful spouses, gold-diggers, and “#DeepState” operatives.
Meanwhile, other right-wing figures have more pressing concerns: namely, how to launch their own airlines for pilots and passengers who refuse to be vaccinated. Those anti-vax voices are responding to airlines’ new requirements that pilots and flight crew be vaccinated. “I love this idea of conservatives hitting a minor social roadblock and then trying to launch a billion-dollar enterprise to avoid it,” says Weill. “It’s like all the Thiel fellows who want to live out in the sea to avoid taxes. At a certain point you’re like, ‘OK man, just go.’” Will a squadron of conservative Twitter personalities earn their pilot licenses, buy planes, and give a new meaning to “airborne” virus? Or will their efforts end as dismally as previous libertarian plots to avoid taxes by building boat-based societies in the middle of the ocean?
Elsewhere on the podcast, Sommer and Weill speak to journalist Jennings Brown, whose new podcast, Revelations, chronicles the dark history of the California doomsday group Fellowship of Friends. Brown, who stayed on the group’s bizarre compound during its supposed apocalypse, says he was fascinated by what led people to their beliefs—and what kept them in the group even after its prophecies failed.
“He’s been doing this for 50 years,” Brown says of the Fellowship’s leader. “These members, time and time again, have had to go through the mental gymnastics of processing these predictions and the buildup and then the disappointment and their new reasoning. It seems to have sowed this very strong devotion to their leader and begs the question: What does he do with that kind of devotion he’s built over half a century?”
Finally, Weill and Sommer dish on the dumbest new t-shirt slogan that’s about to take off with Trump fans. “Let’s go Brandon” is the right’s favorite new chant. It’s a play on MAGA fans’ “Fuck Joe Biden” chants, which are too profane for TV. When one of the chants was audible on a recent NASCAR broadcast, a TV host cut away from the crowd, suggesting that they were chanting “Let’s go Brandon” in support of a driver. Since then, Trump fans have shown up at rallies with “Let’s go Brandon” printed on T-shirts. Donald Trump Jr. has also tweeted the slogan.
“The Trump campaign has sent out fundraising texts with ‘Let’s go Brandon,’” Sommer says. “So I regret to inform our listeners, but this is really going to be with us for a while.”