Historian explains why far-right extremists are the future of the GOP

Historian explains why far-right extremists are the future of the GOP
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia speaking at the 2021 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, Gage Skidmore

A historian of democracy is explaining why he believes far-right Republicans like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) may be paving the way for a new era of the political party that will not wane anytime soon.

In an op-ed published by The Guardian, Thomas Zimmer, who currently serves as a visiting Georgetown University professor, shared an assessment of the Republican Party's evolution in recent years as he highlighted a common theme that is becoming more prevalent in the party's leaders and representatives: extremism.

"In any (small-d) democratic party, Greene’s extremism should be disqualifying," Zimmer wrote. "In today’s Republican party, she’s not being expelled, she’s being elevated. Greene is undoubtedly one of the right-wing stars in the country, and that’s not just a media phenomenon. Republican candidates crave her endorsement."

He went on to use Greene as an example while offering a brief historical timeline of her outrageous political antics. "There is a calculating quality to Greene’s polemics," Zimmer wrote. "Last fall, for instance, she recorded a campaign video in which she used a military-grade sniper rifle to blow up a car that had the word 'socialism' written on it, promising to do the same to the 'Democrats’ socialist agenda.'"

However, he also highlighted what he believes to be the reason behind her antics. "It was over-exaggerated campaign nonsense," Zimmer noted. "But Greene knew the unsubtle insinuation of using violence against a political opponent would demand attention."

While many have advocated for Greene's removal from the House of Representatives, Zimmer has noted that it does not appear she will be vacating her seat anytime soon.

According to Zimmer, far-right voters actually support Greene. Subsequently, Republican lawmakers are refusing to fully denounce Greene's radicalized rhetoric for the same reasons they refused to to push back against former President Donald Trump in the midst of his wrongdoing,

"Overall, Greene’s position within the Republican party seems secure. That’s partly because the Republican leadership is surely aware that most of the energy and activism in conservatism is in the far-right wing that stands behind Greene. In fact, Greene is the poster child of a rising group of rightwing radicals: in Congress, she likes to present herself and like-minded allies such as representatives Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz as the future of the Republican party, and they aren’t shy about their intention to purge whatever vestiges of “moderate” conservatism might still exist within the Republican party."

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