The Rise of the Right in Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Georgia | #schoolshooting

Rome, Ga.— In her first election, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a gun-toting Georgian who owned a couple gyms, grabbed 75 percent of the state’s 14th Congressional District votes. That was in 2020. A few months earlier, she’d clobbered her Republican primary opponents—including a former prosecutor, a school superintendent, an Air Force veteran, and a brain surgeon. How did she do it?

“They all pitched the same lines,” says Wendy Davis, a Democrat and Rome city commissioner. “‘We love Trump. We love guns. We hate abortion. And we hate socialism.’ When candidates say the same things, voters pick the one who’s most authentic and passionate. By far, that was Greene.”

Her primary opponents only criticized her “carpetbagger” status: She moved from Georgia’s 6th Congressional District (an Atlanta suburb) to the 14th district—correctly calculating, says Davis, that “it was easier pickings.” Kevin Van Ausdal, her lackluster Democratic opponent, dropped out of the race for “family” reasons (his wife served him with divorce papers in the middle of what would have been a long-shot campaign). But since his name remained on the ballot, he still got 25 percent of the vote.

Greene’s notorious tweets calling for the execution of Nanci Pelosi, the “Squad,” and other Democrats “destroying our country”—all of them dubbed communists and socialists—continue to play perfectly to her base. Supporters flock to her fundraisers where she raffles off 50-caliber sniper rifles, and cheer when she welcomes to her rallies militiamen and Ku Klux Klan members like Chester Doles, who also leads the National Alliance (a white supremacist group). They give thumbs-ups to her posts comparing Covid-19 mask mandates to Nazi terror during the Holocaust.

The district, which has 12 counties in northwest Georgia, is overwhelmingly white—at 75 percent of its 737,000 residents—and has voted Republican for generations. Hispanics, who work in the area’s 150 carpet factories, account for 12 percent of the population; because some households have undocumented members, they tend to avoid elections. Blacks residents, at 9 percent, have little clout.

Per capita income is $26,000, less than Georgia’s $32,600. And almost 13 percent of the district—most of them whites—live below the poverty line. Although Rome (the district’s largest city) is home to four colleges, 34 percent of district residents have only high school degrees, 11 percent have bachelors’ degrees, and 18 percent have neither.

From the vantage point of Washington, D.C., where masks are the indoor norm—for example, in subways, stores, schools, offices, and hotels—the maskless scene of Georgia’s 14th district seems unreal. “Masks are dumb,” a federal building security guard in Rome told me. “Science shows they don’t work. I wear one because I have to, for my job.”

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