Marjorie Taylor Greene’s impressive Gerrymandered victory in November 2020

My first question is, obviously, how the hell did she know about our deadly space laser? Is nothing sacred?

I was curious to find out more about the wide margin of victory Trump’s “future Republican star” enjoyed in becoming a Representative from Georgia’s deep red, eight year-old 14th District. She won in a landslide, it turns out, crushing her opponent by 50 points.

I read a long, sad piece about her idealistic Democratic opponent, 35 year-old political novice Kevin Van Ausdal, which describes how he was literally broken by the onslaught from the fierce Taylor Greene and her militant, threatening supporters [1]. It made me curious about who she wound up running against in November 2020. Wikipedia fills in the details:

Greene finished in first place in the primary election and faced John Cowan in the runoff election.[21] Greene defeated Cowan to win the nomination on August 11. Greene was considered an overwhelming favorite to win the seat in the general election, as the 14th typically votes heavily Republican.[22] The 14th has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+27, making it the 10th most Republican district in the nation and the third most Republican district in the Eastern Time Zone. Among Georgia’s congressional districts, only the neighboring 9th district is more Republican. Since the 14th’s creation in 2012, no Democrat has won more than 30 percent of the vote.[23] Trump carried the 14th with 75 percent of the vote in 2016, his eighth-best performance in the nation.[24] On the day after Greene’s runoff victory, Trump tweeted his support for her, describing Greene as a “future Republican Star” who “is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!”[25]

Greene was expected to face Democratic IT specialist Kevin Van Ausdal, but he withdrew from the race on September 11, 2020. This left Greene unopposed for the general election, though the district is so heavily Republican that any Democratic challenger would have faced very long odds.[26][27][28]

On September 3, 2020, Greene shared a meme to her Facebook page depicting herself holding an AR-15 style rifle next to a collage of pictures of Democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio-CortezIlhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Greene claimed that it was time for “strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart”. The caption underneath the images read “Squad‘s worst nightmare.”[29] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the meme as a “dangerous threat of violence,” and Omar demanded that the meme be deleted after claiming it had already triggered death threats.[30] In response to questions from Forbes about whether the meme was a threat, a spokesperson for the Greene campaign called the suggestion “paranoid and ridiculous” and a “conspiracy theory”.[31] Facebook deleted the meme the following day for violating its policies on inciting violence, prompting Greene to claim that Democrats were “trying to cancel me out before I’ve even taken the oath of office”.[32]

source 

Kevin Van Ausdal, who withdrew as a candidate on September 11th (out of fear of violent extremists and horror at how ugly the campaign had become), got 25% of the vote two months later, from Georgians who simply wanted to vote against Taylor Greene.

So the future Republican star won by a whopping majority, about as large as Trump’s landslide margin in Georgia’s 14th District back in 2016.

On the other hand, she ran unopposed in a beautifully gerrymandered district that had always voted at least 70% Republican since its creation in 2012. America the beautiful, y’all.

[1]

My apologies for this link, which will probably lead to a paywall at uber-capitalist Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post. It was a fine article, but Jeff, who made $70,000,000,000 so far during the pandemic, does not leave a penny on the table, as he proved again by taking the tips of gig workers (“independent subcontractors”) hired to make deliveries for Amazon in their own vehicles, and using the confiscated tips to pay their “salaries”. Cost him $61,000,000 to settle that case, about a dime to Jeff — (plus, not to worry, not a penny came out of his pocket). Leave me a comment if you’re interested and I’ll send you a copy of the article, cut and pasted, subject to not getting a restraining order from the world’s greediest genius/predator...

Here’s a taste, from the link above:

But they all agreed that ignoring Greene was not an option, so they began drafting the statement and emailing versions to Kevin, who kept suggesting revisions that made it softer, thinking he had made it harsher.

“He needs to be ready,” Vinny told Ruth on one of their daily video calls.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take to get him to use the kind of language we need him to use,” Ruth told Vinny. “It’s a very big shift for him.”

“How’s it going?” she said to Kevin on Day 21 of the campaign, trying to sound upbeat as they began to rehearse the draft statement.

Kevin said he had been trying to stay relaxed. He had a cold.

“Okay, I know you’re not feeling well, but the good news is, sometimes when you need to push through a barrier, the best time to do that is when you’re sick, because your defenses are down,” Ruth said. “We’re not going to take you anywhere horrible.”

“We’re good,” Kevin said.

“Okay, I want you to breathe deeply,” Ruth began. “A lot of your tonality will have to go down. There will be times when you’re speaking about what Marjorie has done and you’ll be angry. You’ll need to be angry.”

More often in his life, Kevin could not afford to be angry. His voice tended to swing up, a tone he found helpful in defusing conflicts in his job at a financial services company, which had enabled his first real stability as an adult. He’d only recently bought the tan split-level where he lived with his wife and 1-year-old daughter. Now it had a “Save the American Dream” sign in the flower bed by the mailbox, one of the stories of his rise into the middle class he’d imagined telling voters about when he first started running.

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