Marjorie Taylor Greene “came out of nowhere” to become one of the Republican Party’s most influential powerhouses, journalist and author Robert Draper, who writes for The New York Times Magazine, tells host Andy Levy in this week’s episode of The New Abnormal.
Draper describes how Greene, running a family construction business, began to involve herself in confrontational politics around 2017, “trying to be a right-wing social media influencer by showing up to the Capitol and harassing Democratic staff members” before being elected to Congress in 2020. She has now climbed her way to the top, becoming the focus of discussions on becoming former President Donald Trump’s running mate in 2024.
“Republicans kind of wanted to kick her to the curb immediately,” said Draper, author of the new book Weapons of Mass Delusion: When the Republican Party Lost Its Mind. “But instead she became a fundraising dynamo, came to have this huge social media influence, and ultimately came to be very influential within the party itself.
Levy agrees, saying: “I have always maintained two things about Greene. The first is that dismissing her as some sort of fringe crazy was a big mistake.” The other, he says, “is that I have this sense that she really does believe the things that she says, no matter how insane they seem, because it’s so hard to tell.”
Draper confirms: “You’re not wrong. She believes enough of it. She’s cognizant of the fact that the attention economy rewards hyperbole. In terms of how to run a winning campaign, she was right then, and she continues to be right now to the extent that in Georgia politics, everyone running for office is trying to be Marjorie Taylor Greene. They’re all competing to be more outrageous than the other and they’re stealing lines from her to the extent that it’s become bothersome to her because now she’s competing not only against herself and whatever outrageous thing she said the day before to gain attention, but she’s competing against her mimics too.”
Draper also confirmed rumors that Greene could be Trump’s running mate in 2024. The idea has been “discussed since February of this year, and it’s been discussed repeatedly. Now, to be fair, I mean, how many of these conversations has Trump had with other people?”
However, what Greene has above the others, Draper says, is that “she has been unflaggingly loyal to Trump throughout. What is Trump concerned about most of all in a VP after the Mike Pence experience? Loyalty. He knows that if he needs someone to fight for him to overturn a presidential election. He has every reason to expect that Greene would be by his side and would be his proximate warrior.”
Then, Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who specializes in American elections and is the author of a new book, From Pandemic to Insurrection: Voting in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, says Trump’s refusal to accept that he lost the 2020 election has dramatically altered American politics.
“[Hillary] Clinton, to her credit, did what every other presidential candidate had done in the history of this country, which was to accept the results of the election,” he said. “And it’s only because of Trump not willing to accept that he lost the election by a larger margin than Clinton, he won’t accept that.
“As long as he continues to see political and monetary advantage out of denying the outcome of the election, he’s going to continue to do this and followers are going to believe him because he’s the president. The facts are that Trump lost and Biden won, and we have to do better as a party and redouble our efforts to win elections. That’s what mature parties do, and unfortunately we don’t have a very mature political party in terms of the Republican Party anymore.”
Also on the podcast, guest co-host Maura Quint, Tax March co-founder and member of Americans for Tax Fairness, reveals what America could learn from outgoing British Prime Minister Liz Truss.
“That’s what I think is incredible. They kicked her out. That’s amazing to me. That’s something I think we could learn from just a little bit. Maybe every so often if someone fails just dramatically, maybe we don’t let them keep doing that job.”