If you hate Muslims, love guns, and are giddy at the prospect of a holy war pitting Christians versus Muslims, then there’s only one logical thing to do: Run for governor of Arkansas.
Actually, there are other things you could do with that pedigree, such as appear regularly on Fox News or write for Breitbart. And Jan Morgan has done all that and more. And now this Republican activist wants to “Make Arkansas Great Again!”
Morgan, who is the spokesperson for the grassroots organization Citizens for Trump, came to infamy in 2014 when she proclaimed that Muslims would not be permitted into her gun range, declaring it a “Muslim-free zone.” Morgan’s view is that every Muslim is such an inherent threat that we can’t be allowed to learn how to shoot guns because of course we will use them to commit acts of violence. To Morgan, the Second Amendment she claims to love more than Trump loves Diet Cokes apparently has a Muslim exception.
Although it appears Morgan’s Muslim-radar may be a bit jammed because she also banned two Hindu men from her gun range even after one told her, “I’m not Muslim, I’m just brown.” Well, Morgan was not taking any chances. You know how crafty we Muslims can be. So out these two Indian men went.
So what happens when you openly declare you are going to discriminate against Muslims? You get invited on to Fox News, of course. And so began her regular appearances on the network, which led to her boasting on her personal website: “You can catch Jan weekly on Fox News/Fox Business Network.”
But Morgan is not your run-of-the-mill anti-Muslim Republican. She is a trendsetter in the world of bigotry. She bragged that after proclaiming her gun range a “Muslim-free zone,” she inspired others to do the same, boasting that “gun ranges and gun stores in 6 states have followed my lead and are doing the same thing.”
In fact, when Trump announced in December 2015 his call for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States, there was Morgan on Fox, patting herself on the back for coming up with a Muslim ban way before Trump made it a thing: “I think it's pretty funny that Donald Trump stood up in front of the world today and said he's basically going to do what I'm already doing at my gun range.”
And Morgan’s personal website is also littered with posts designed to stoke hate against Muslims, from articles titled “American Muslims call for Islamic Revolution in America” to a video featuring Ben Carson declaring, “Islam is not consistent with the Constitution.”
But Morgan was not done with us Muslims. She has continued to this day to use her pulpit to gin up fears of how we plan to take over America. She recently slammed current Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson for not getting on board with Republican-championed legislation that would have banned sharia law from the state’s courts. As Hutchinson explained when refusing to support the bill that had broad Republican support in the state legislature, “I've been in courts, I’ve litigated all over the country and here in Arkansas, and I just have not identified that as a problem.”
And despite the fact that even Trump himself has acknowledged that 95 percent of the victims of ISIS are Muslims, Morgan prefers to views ISIS as a group that is just about killing Christians. So in June, she tweeted a photo of herself holding a gun with the words: “At some point, ISIS will encounter the wrong Christians.” ISIS recruiters must be so happy that she, like them, is viewing this is a religious holy war.
While Morgan did recently pen a column for Breitbart.com, there’s no indication that Steve Bannon is on board with her campaign – although after this week’s Trump-Bannon war it’s not clear how much that would help her. But Morgan does love Breitbart’s “James Bond villain in waiting” Sebastian Gorka. She tweeted a photo with Gorka in September at an event the two were speaking at with the caption, “Would walk a mile barefoot on a road paved with broken glass to meet my hero.” When your “hero” is the man that The Forward has documented his decades-long ties to Nazi allied groups and noted that “Gorka wrote regularly for a well-known anti-Semitic paper while active in Hungary,” it says so much about who you are.
But it’s not fair to only label Morgan as a person who has demonized Muslims. She also recently slammed Governor Hutchinson for opposing a bill that would’ve prevented transgender children from using the bathroom of their choice.
And in a recent heated debate over whether Arkansas state money should go to private colleges, she singled out three black colleges that received funding but had zero qualms with the money going to a “lily-white Bible college,” as a local Arkansas political reporter put it.
Does Morgan have a chance to win? It seems unlikely she can beat the incumbent in a GOP primary. But her run will increase her visibility, and that typically translates into more Fox News appearances and invitationss to speak at organizations. (Her website notes she already speaks regularly at conservative organizations from Republican groups to the Value Voters Summit.)
And that means Morgan will be given even more of an opportunity to mainstream the type of bigotry and extreme views that once was only on the radical fringes. And the result is far right “mini Trumps” like Virginia’s Corey Stewart, a man who really loves Confederate statues, comes within about a percentage point of defeating the mainstream Republican gubernatorial candidate last year. And now Stewart is running for the U.S. Senate. So it’s likely that in the future Republican voters will nominate more people like Morgan and Stewart and fewer like Hutchinson. And that is not only bad for the GOP, it’s bad for America.