When Amanda Moore lost her job, she decided to go undercover in MAGA land, attending QAnon events and CPAC, hanging with neo-Nazis and “blood-and-soil fascists,” and palling around with Proud Boys at Harry's Bar in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. But what her new compatriots didn’t know was that she was often recording them, and the result is a chilling portrait “of what the right looks like from the inside.”
Moore joined Fever Dreams co-hosts Asawin Suebsaeng and Will Sommer to talk about the one-year anniversary of the Capitol attack and what she saw during her stint masquerading as a fellow traveler. Or perhaps not exactly masquerading, because wearing a mask at Stop the Steal rallies became quite dangerous for Moore. Eventually she had to ditch the face covering for her own protection as “the acceptance and escalation of violence between November  and December” became more aggressive and raw—culminating in the storming of the Capitol, which “people [still] talk about it as though it was something that the right did, that the right should be proud of.”
Moore’s main takeaway after her time undercover was that “there’s a rise of right-wing populism among the under-30 crowd that's incredibly alarming to me… I really worry about it.
“I really just can never stress enough, like the rise of like the younger populist fascists. And like I said, everybody, under 35, I met who was at the Capitol says, ‘We did it. That was us.’ And they accept it and they’re like, ‘It would’ve been cooler if we had gotten further.’ And, like, ‘The Founding Fathers would be proud of us.’”
Moore also discussed the increasingly popular far-right playbook for harassing hyperlocal and moderate GOP officials and their children—people who are ostensibly part of the same party—to pressure them out of positions overseeing elections or on school boards, in order to install more radical acolytes. “Pressley Stutts took over the very local Greenville, South Carolina, GOP—I mean, he bullied this woman… who was in charge into quitting. And now—I mean, he was at an event I was at, and there was a COVID outbreak, and now he’s dead. But I mean, before he died, he was able to accomplish this.”
“I don’t know what a superspreader is in technicality,” Moore added, “But if it means everybody there got COVID, I went to at least a dozen superspreader events and people died at almost all of them.
“And these are people who, like, were preaching to the very last breath—like, don’t get the vaccine.”
Elsewhere on the podcast, Sommer and Suebsaeng discuss the results of a Texas election audit that “Republican officials were trying to bury”—namely because “they found basically nothing wrong with the results”—and dissect an increasingly bitter feud between an alleged failed treasure hunter named Jovan Pulitzer and a rival of his called “the Professor.” The two fellows have been scrapping over the failed Arizona audit, and they started doxxing each other, and making “penis-heavy” prank calls. If you’re wondering why any of this silliness matters, well, Pulitzer’s theories were in the coup PowerPoints that reached then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. As Suebsaeng notes, “his ideas made it to the West Wing.”
Sommer also recounts his firsthand experience of being at the Capitol during the riot a year ago. He highlights “the sense of chaos, the sense that really anything could happen… this sense that, once they breached the building, it was this idea that politicians were going to start getting killed, that kind of stuff. It was this sense of anarchy. For me personally it felt very surreal. I had been following someone like the Q Shaman for months, I was very aware of him and his antics out in Arizona. And it was like, Oh, there's the Q Shaman—he runs the Senate now, I guess.”
And finally, the hosts discuss the newest catchphrase to devour the far right (“Let’s Go Brandon is now passé, get ready for “Mass Formation Psychosis”) and the chaos roiling the manosphere—a faction of the far right that’s fixated on “really performative faux masculinity,” like posting about steak and cigars and guns—after a “second-tier” manosphere writer went on a shooting spree in Denver and killed several people, after writing a book about his intentions to murder them.