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Who Has the Power?

Ain’t nobody gonna tell Marjorie Taylor Greene nothin’.
May 26, 2021
Who Has the Power?
(Photos: GettyImages)

Does anyone really think a few statements from MAGA squishes like Kevin McCarthy and Dan Crenshaw condemning Marjorie Taylor Greene are going to stop her from trolling America with her deranged ideas? Lol.

This week it was her anti-Semitism. In the past, it’s been her 9/11 trutherism, conspiracy theories about school shootings, or QAnon. She once filmed herself shouting through the mail slot of AOC’s office in a way that makes you think the Georgia congresswoman is more suited to a restraining order than a congressional pin.

None of this derangement is new. It will keep happening. And it doesn’t have much to do with her.

Republican leaders have already made the calculation that they need to hold together former president Donald Trump’s “Storm the Capitol” brigade in order to have any chance of winning future elections. And if you want to understand why the party elites give MTG so much leash, try this thought experiment:

Imagine GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—supposedly two of the most powerful elected Republicans in America—speaking at a Trump rally. How do you think that would go?

Probably a lot like this.

Trump Supporters and Nick Fuentes chant "DESTROY THE GOP" at Trump DC Rally

You see their problem.

Kevin and Mitch need MTG. This is why they are fine, probably even delighted, that she’s been going on tour across America with suspected . . . something . . . Matt Gaetz holding Trump rallies without Trump. Someone has to keep that Trump energy up!

And better her than them. Let her tackle the fraudits and anti-vaxx nuttery—which are her sweet spots and also the hottest things in MAGA media. She gets, 100 percent, that the Trump base is not interested in debates over policy. Infrastructure Week doesn’t get the blood flowing like the Cyber Ninja squad.

You see, Kevin and Mitch talk about “messaging” all the time. But MTG actually understands the messaging better than they ever could. She knows what their voters want.

This time, she’s saying that people who are asked to get vaccinated or wear masks are basically like victims of the Holocaust. When she harassed Parkland survivor David Hogg, it was because his gun control advocacy could potentially infringe upon her Second Amendment rights—a travesty for a law-abiding, American citizen like herself. She believes January 6 rioters are being “abused.” Point out her crazy and she starts shrieking on every media platform available about being banned, censored, and canceled.

The Republican Party right now is obsessed with competitive victimhood. It’s the thematic messaging that captures the Trumpian hearts and minds and MTG is practically a grandmaster at it. Just like Trump. And as for facing real consequences from the Good Republicans? Well, as long as MTG stays on Trump’s good side, she’ll be protected.

The obvious comparison here is Liz Cheney. When Cheney forthrightly answered basic questions about whether she believes Trump should be the leader of the Republican Party after inciting an insurrection—“no”—she was deemed “off message” and ousted from her leadership post.

The calculation is easy and it doesn’t have anything to do with truth or falsity. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her insane grievance politics represent a very large bloc of Republican voters.

And what’s more, as the Trump-skeptical caucus dwindles, the more the party depends on people like the Georgia congresswoman to juice the base turn out in order to win elections.

Remember, it wasn’t so long ago that the Trumpists base in Georgia was being told that the party elites weren’t fighting hard enough for the Dear Leader. And look what happened: Senators Ossoff and Warnock.

McCarthy and McConnell in their infinite McLeadership hive-mind wisdom have come to believe that, under the current status quo, they cannot sacrifice even a single Greene voter. Not unless enough members and donors revolt and they are forced to engage in some ugly political triage, anyway.

Make no mistake: At this moment, the power in the GOP is with Trump and anyone who can keep his voters pulling the lever for Republicans in 2022. That’s why MTG is untouchable.

MTG isn’t chastened by verbal slaps on the wrists. She’s emboldened. On Wednesday, she retweeted multiple complaints about the condemnations and openly appealed to GOP leadership to show their support for her by co-sponsoring her legislation that she said would uncover “the truth that the #Jihadsquad openly supports Hamas terrorists.”

Greene knows where she stands. As long as she has Trump’s support and keeps his voters in the GOP tent, she’s calling the shots. Not McCarthy.

Amanda Carpenter

Amanda Carpenter is an author, a former communications director to Sen. Ted Cruz, and a former speechwriter to Sen. Jim DeMint. She was formerly a Bulwark political columnist.