Many Republican leaders seemed shock that a candidate like Donald Trump would rise to become the party’s nominee after a campaign of demonizing immigrants, innuendo about President Obama and scapegoating Muslims, despite the fact that many top GOP leaders have launched similar attacks for years.
Ari Berman points out that if “Trump wanted to vote 10 times in New York — a state that requires voters to sign their names at the polls rather than show a photo ID — he’d have to vote in 10 different places, know the names and addresses of nine different registered voters in nine precincts, be able to forge their exact signatures, and know that they hadn’t voted yet. Each fraudulent vote would carry a penalty of five years in jail and a $10,000 fine, plus additional state penalties.”
Nonetheless, Trump believes that if he loses in November, it will be because the election was stolen: “I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.”
Such baseless rhetoric has obviously resonated with Republicans:Aroundhalf of GOP voters believe that Obama stole both of his election victories, a result of years of conservative complaints about how Democrats win elections thanks to massive fraud.
One anti-voting-fraud group, True the Vote, developed a smart phone app in 2014 to help users expose instances of fraudulent voting and “pull the curtain back on the myth that there is no voter fraud.” But as Miranda noted, “users recorded only 18 incidents of election irregularities,” and the vast majority had nothing to do with voter impersonation. Many right-wing fears about widespread voter fraud have made their way from chain emails to WorldNetDaily to Fox News, even though there is little evidence behind them.
In fact, far more common than actual cases of voter fraud or instances of conservatives admitting that the voter fraud myth is all about creating an excuse to pass restrictive laws that will help them win elections. Just a few months ago, former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, now president of the influential Heritage Foundation, said that voter ID laws are “something we’re working on all over the country, because in the states where they do have voter ID laws you’ve seen, actually, elections begin to change towards more conservative candidates.” Shortly before that, Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman said that voter ID could make a difference in how his state votes in the upcoming election: “Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up and now we have voter ID and I think voter ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”
Donald Trump has never met a conspiracy theory that he doesn’t like. This one was handed to him on a silver platter by the party that is now trying to distance itself from his wildest claims.
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., said that a Donald Trump presidency would be “a very scary thing” when it comes to foreign policy, reacting to Trump’s latest comments to The New York Times that he wouldn’t necessarily honor NATO’s Article V if Russia invaded a NATO member.
“There’s no question in analyzing Donald Trump, the toughest thing to agonize over is what he’s going to do on foreign policy,” Grothman said while speaking today with radio host Charlie Sykes, adding that he was hopeful that vice presidential nominee Mike Pence “would have a lot of influence” in a future Trump administration so that Trump would not endanger global safety.
A dumbfounded Grothman, a Trump supporter, warned that Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. should not abide by its commitments to allies would create a less safe world and invite a Russian invasion of its European neighbors.
“I think you could almost say it’s a very good chance we’re going to see Russian tanks” in Europe, Grothman said.
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., said yesterday that while “race relations were very good” when President Obama took office, the president has made things worse by meeting with Al Sharpton and praising Black Lives Matter, claiming that Obama could help make things better by discouraging “black America” from having “anything to do” with either.
Wisconsin talk radio host Charlie Sykes asked Grothman to discuss the assassination of five police officers in Dallas and why the nation is “as divided and on edge as it has been in a long time.”
“I don’t think it’s surprising given the leadership we have in this country,” Grothman said. “You know, a lot of people felt, not me, but a lot of people felt that it was a good thing to elect Barack Obama, I think race relations were pretty good when he took office, but [those people were] saying, well, if there were any problems left, Barack Obama would solve these problems.”
“Instead,” he said, “we have a president who’s met with Al Sharpton over 100 times. And if he met with Al Sharpton 100 times, what does that tell you about how Barack Obama views race relations or how he should weigh in? And there’s your problem. Hillary Clinton has tried to get Al Sharpton’s endorsement; Barack Obama has praised Black Lives Matter.”
“See, the situation with race relations were very good eight years ago,” he continued, “but it seems as though both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — I mean, would you even be caught on stage with Al Sharpton?”
Sykes, seemingly missing the fact that Obama had forcefully condemned the violence against police officers, wondered when Obama would have a “Sister Souljah moment” and “call out the elements of that movement who are now condoning or even encouraging violence against police officers.”
“Well, right, he has the moral standing to take on Al Sharpton,” Grothman responded. “And the fact that Al Sharpton’s been in the White House over 100 times, and Black Lives Matter … to say, ‘Look, you are not a leader of black America, we discourage black America from having anything to do with you,’ he could fulfill some of the promise that some people had when he was elected two [sic] years ago.”
Grothman closed his convention remarks by discussing “what is becoming of America right now” because “a lot of us see America changing a lot.” He read an excerpt from Charles Murray’s book “Coming Apart” that discusses a 1962 poll in which 86 percent of women said that they would not have premarital sex with someone they were going to marry.
This led him to transgender rights issues.
“Remember there was a show ‘M*A*S*H’ a while ago in which some, you know, one of the comedy guys was wearing a dress?” he said. “Hillary Clinton says one of the goals is to get the transgenders into the military. That’s one of the goals.”
Grothman concluded that “we do have a moral decline in our country,” adding that he prayed that the U.S. would “regain the moral bearings that we should have so that God continues to bless our great country.”
At Cruz’s victory party, a Milwaukee television reporter asked Grothman why he thinks the GOP has a chance to win Wisconsin in the general election, since no Republican has won the state since 1984. Grothman replied by arguing that “Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up and now we have voter ID and I think voter ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”
Mike Turzai, who is now the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, confidently predicted at a GOP gathering in 2012 that a new restrictive voter ID law would secure Romney’s victory in the swing state.
“Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: done,” he said.
John Fund, a conservative commentator who has frequently warned of the scourge of voter fraud, once admitted that voter ID laws do little to stop absentee ballot fraud, which he called “the tool of choice amongst fraudsters,” since voter ID laws only impact in-person voting.
“I think it is a fair argument of some liberals that there are some people who emphasize the voter ID part more than the absentee ballot part because supposedly Republicans like absentee ballots more and they don’t want to restrict that,” he admitted, before adding: “But the bottom line is, on good government grounds, we have to have both voter ID laws and absentee ballot laws.” (Indeed, while all types of voter fraud are extremely rare, PBS notes that “election law experts say it happens more often through mail-in ballots than people impersonating eligible voters at the polls.”)
Fund once pointed to 19 possible cases of voter fraud out of 421,997 ballots cast in one Ohio county as proof that voter ID laws are necessary. Out of the already small number of cases that authorities were investigating, just two involved alleged in-person voter fraud and neither involved someone impersonating someone else, the supposed target of voter ID laws.
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly cheered on another way the GOP has tried to suppress the vote: by reducing voting hours.
Democrats promote early voting for the same reason they oppose voter ID: because they view early voting as helping their side. In the absurdly long 35-day period of early voting in Ohio in 2012, Democrats racked up perhaps a million-vote advantage over Republicans before Election Day was ever reached. Republicans have been slow to realize how early voting helps the Democrats.
Georgia state Sen. Fran Millar, like Schlafly, has condemned attempts to increase voter turnout. He was particularly critical of an effort in DeKalb County, the state’s third largest, to open an early voting center in a mall near a predominantly black megachurch and “dominated by African American shoppers.” Millar wrote in 2014:
Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election. Per Jim Galloway of the [Atlanta Journal-Constitution], this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist . Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea – what a surprise. I’m sure Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb.
Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will open when the mall opens? If this happens, so much for the accepted principle of separation of church and state.
He later added: “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”
Doug Preisse, the chairman of the Republican Party in Franklin County, Ohio, the home of Columbus, plainly admitted in the run-up to the 2012 election why he believed the state should curb early voting hours: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter turnout machine.”
The state party chairman later defended Preisse by explaining that his statement wasn’t meant to be on the record.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is currently running for president, signed legislation in 2014 that cut early voting and eliminated same-day registration in his state.”
In 2012, after stepping down as chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Jim Greer told the Palm Beach Post that GOP strategists are committed to restricting voting access in order to hurt Democrats and simply use the menace of voter fraud as “a marketing ploy.”
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.
“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told The Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only. … ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’ ” Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants.
“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”
One GOP official in North Carolina, Don Yelton, was quite candid about why he thought the state should enact voter restrictions.
“This law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt,” he said. “If it hurts a bunch of college kids that’s too lazy to get up off their bohunkus and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.”
Sen. Ted Cruz continues to shore up the endorsements of some of the most far-right activists and elected officials in the country. Last week, he added to that list Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, who, in endorsing Cruz’s presidential campaign, took the opportunity to make a weird dig at immigrant single moms.
Telling talk radio host Charlie Sykes that “Ted Cruz is the one,” Grothman said that the Texas Republican “has the track record in the Senate, you know that he’s going to put a stop to this huge amount of illegal immigration in this country.”
Specifically, Grothman praised Cruz’s stance on birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, derogatorily termed “anchor babies” by opponents of the constitutional guarantee of citizenship at birth, bizarrely claiming that single moms “jump over here” to have their children.
“He stands up to the idea — he’s not for anchor babies,” Grothman said. “Some people don’t like that phrase, but the idea of saying, you know, a single mom can jump over here, have a baby and they’re an American citizen, is ridiculous.”
The comments come about two minutes into this audio clip:
It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that Grothman linked “anchor babies” to single moms, since when he was in the Wisconsin state senate he sponsored a bill that would have required a state agency to promote materials labeling single parenthood “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”
Grothman has also explained the pay gap by saying, “You could argue that money is more important for men” and claimed that efforts to help women in the workplace amount to a “war on men.” Last year, Grothman justified defunding Planned Parenthood by explaining that “ as a guy” he has plenty of non-Planned Parenthood healthcare options in Wisconsin.
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., perhaps best encapsulated today’s House hearing grilling Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards when he told Richards that her organization’s services aren’t necessary because “as a guy” he has plenty of health care options in his home state.
Grothman, who presumably receives very good health insurance through his job as a member of Congress, told Richards that “when I look at cities around me that have a Planned Parenthood clinic … usually in those cities, as a guy, I could go to many clinics locally that have all the machines that one would need, all these clinics as far as I know take Medicaid dollars, so you could go to any of those clinics to get any medical service you could.”
“I guess what I’m getting at is if Planned Parenthood disappeared tomorrow in those towns, there would still be three or four or five clinics or hospitals providing all the … medical care you would want,” he said.
Grothman then claimed that Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income people, is “superior care” to private insurance because “without the deductibles and copays it’s usually better insurance than other people have.” Grothman has previously claimed that people who use the public safety net are fleecing taxpayers by living luxuriously.
Richards reminded Grothman that Planned Parenthood’s 22 health centers in Wisconsin serve 65,000 people a year. The claim that other health care providers could easily absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients if it was forced to stop providing care is simply false, especially since many of the supposed “replacement” clinics Planned Parenthood’s critics point to don’t have reproductive health care expertise.
Rep. Glenn Grothman, Republican of Wisconsin, joined Milwaukee-area radio host Vicki McKenna on Friday to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down state bans on same-sex marriage. Grothman told McKenna that the Supreme Court’s reasoning, which was based on the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, was an affront to the Americans who died in the Civil War because it was “a strong religious war to further a Christian lifestyle by getting rid of slavery.”
“Our president during the Civil War was, of course, Abraham Lincoln, who was known as the most biblical of presidents, somebody who quoted the Bible a lot,” he said. "In the Civil War, some 600,000 people died in a country that was much less populated than that today. And it was a much more religious country and I think a lot of people who died fighting in that war felt they died fighting for a religious cause, you know, ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ and all that.
“I think it would shock those people who died in that war to find out the constitutional amendment which was ratified kind of as a culmination of their great efforts and their great deaths would be 150 years later, a little less than 150 years later, used by these five robed, arrogant, robed people to take this constitutional amendment and say that that constitutional amendment that was drafted after the Civil War was in fact an amendment designed to say that same-sex marriage had to be legal.”
He added that the decision is “particularly offensive” given that the 14th Amendment was “drafted by a people who felt they had just engaged in a strong religious war to further a Christian lifestyle by getting rid of slavery.”
Last week, Rep. Glenn Grothman appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s show “In Focus” to outline his right-wing agenda as a freshman member of Congress. The Wisconsin Republican, who recently won attention after calling on constituents to essentially spy on their neighbors who use food stamps, strongly disagreed with a viewer who said that Wisconsin should consider legalizing and taxing marijuana as a way to increase state revenues.
“A lot has been written about the income gap in our country and how the poor people aren’t making enough money or saving enough money, so I want to ask your caller: Assuming one of the goals we have in this country is to help people make more money and be part of the American Dream, if we legalize marijuana across the board, what effect do you think that’s going to have on people?” Grothman asked. “Is that going to cause the underclass, or whatever, to improve more or is it going to create even a larger segment of Americans who is not achieving their full possibility and falling behind?”
Grothman added: “I think if you want to make sure that all Americans are participating in the American Dream, all Americans are having a good job where someday they are going to be able to afford to take care of kids, buy a house, I don’t think legalizing marijuana is a way to work towards that goal.”
Supporters of marriage equality made tremendous progress this year in striking down discriminatory bans on same-sex marriages while, on the local level, more municipalities have enacted legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Radical Right, however, sees these changes as a reason to find new strategies to fight what it believes is a tyrannical government bent on persecuting conservatives and inviting divine punishment. Facing losses in court and at the ballot box, many conservatives hope that their brand of anti-gay politics may find more success overseas.
Just in case you thought that the debate over gay rights was “over,” we decided to look back on some of the anti-gay Right’s worst moments of 2014.
10. Comparing LGBT Americans To Nazis And Terrorists
There’s nothing that Religious Right activists love more than to pretend they are being oppressed by the LGBT community.
While conservatives rail against civil disobedience to protest police brutality, they are hopeful that the anti-gay movement will launch its own civil disobedience campaigns. In 2014, Sen. Ted Cruz urged gay rights opponents to “disregard unjust edicts from the government” and Fox News pundit Todd Starnes predicted that conservatives would take part in acts of civil disobedience and marches reminiscent of the Civil Rights Movement. Pat Buchanan, Linda Harvey and Jeff Allen also joined calls for mass civil disobedience to protest LGBT equality, while Peter LaBarbera proposed protests to stop same-sex weddings.
6. Duggars Show ‘Love’ For Gays By Fighting Gay Rights
While the Duggar family usually campaigns for Republican candidates across the country come election time, in 2014 they worked in their home state of Arkansas to repeal an ordinance in the city of Fayetteville that added the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity to existing bans on discrimination in areas such as commerce, housing and employment.
But Josh Duggar, who claims that God sent him to Washington D.C. to work with Family Research Council in opposing LGBT rights, defended their work to strip LGBT people of their rights and legal protections because it is done out of love for the LGBT community.
5. Rick Perry Goes There
As Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign flamed out after a series of poor debate performances, he used gay-baiting TV ads in one last desperate attempt to win the GOP nomination. Now, as Perry prepares for the 2016 campaign, it seems that by wearing new eyeglasses he is all of a sudden the new wonky candidate. He showed off this new-found knowledge during an appearance in California where he reacted to the news that the Texas GOP had adopted a resolution endorsing “reparative therapy and treatment” to help people “escape from the homosexual lifestyle” by comparing gay people to alcoholics.
“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that,” Perry told the Commonwealth Club of California to audible groans from the crowd. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
After the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, marriage equality opponents looked to their allies in Washington D.C. to try to reverse the court’s decision. Sen. Ted Cruz was more than happy to help, and the Texas senator joined Mike Lee, Utah’s freshman senator, in introducing the State Marriage Defense Act. The bill’s stated purpose is to undercut federal recognition of married same-sex couples, and while it didn’t gain much traction in Congress, it did give Cruz an opportunity to grandstand about his dreams of curtailing gay rights. He told right-wing radio hosts that his “heart weeps” due to same-sex couples’ legal victories, calling rulings in favor of marriage equality “heartbreaking” and a sign “that our constitutional liberties are being eroded.”
After the Supreme Court recently refused to hear appeals in several cases involving same-sex marriage rights, Cruz decided to introduce a constitutional amendment to ensure that the 14th Amendment cannot be used in cases involving equal rights for gays and lesbians.
One American Family Association radio host blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the U.S. military’s “sissification,” and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council linked the lifting of the ban on gay service members to what he called the “absolute destruction of our military readiness and our military morale.” Gordon Klingenschmitt read a statement on his “Pray In Jesus Name” program from a press release alleging that gay service members will soon be “taking breaks on the combat field to change diapers all because their treacherous sin causes them to lose control of their bowels.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, captured the mood best when he alleged that the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will make the U.S. more “vulnerable to terrorism” because gay soldiers will take after the ancient Greeks in bringing their lovers to the frontlines so they can “give them massages before they go into battle.”
This year, Uganda’s president signed into law a new version of the country’s “Anti-Homosexuality Act” which imposed extreme penalties for the crime of being gay (though dropping its provision making homosexuality a death penalty offense in certain cases). American anti-gay activists mostly offered praise to the East African nation. At least one group thought that Uganda should have kept its death penalty plank.
Glenn Grothman, a Wisconsin lawmaker who last month won his race for an open seat in the U.S. House, also attacked opponents of Uganda’s anti-gay law, warning that people like Sec. John Kerry will bring about God’s judgment on America for his criticisms of Uganda.
Wisconsin Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who was recently elected to the U.S. House, appeared on “Washington Watch” yesterday to reiterate his pledge to weaken government efforts to help low-income families, which he has denounced as “a bribe not to work that hard or a bribe not to marry someone with a full-time job.”
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, the host of the program, agreed with the Grothman, claiming that liberals see “big government entitlement programs” as “sacred” institutions, while the soon-to-be congressman warned that “the government is doing all they can to destroy the nuclear family.”
“Right now we are in a crisis in this country as the old-fashioned American family seems to be on a decline and there’s no question that one of the reasons is that the federal government, and to a lesser degree some state governments, are encouraging this,” Grothman said, before linking government programs to out-of-wedlock births: “in order to take advantage of the programs you almost have to be in a single-parent situation.”
Grothman alleged that the government has now set up a “bribe not to get married,” which is ballooning the national debt and preventing America “from being the great country we are.”
He added that the government’s “over-generosity” is “creating a society in which you are encouraging people to raise children out of wedlock” and “encouraging not the lifestyle that listeners of this program would want.”
In an interview this weekend with Milwaukee’s WISN, Republican congressman-elect Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin said that one of his priorities in the U.S. House will be to cut aid to low-income families, which he called “a bribe not to work that hard or a bribe not to marry someone with a full-time job” and “a strong incentive not to raise children in wedlock.”
“A single parent with a couple of kids can easily get $35,000 a year in total benefits between the health care and the earned income credit and the food share and the low-income housing and what have you,” he said.
“When you look at that amount of money, which is in essence a bribe not to work that hard or a bribe not to marry someone with a full-time job, people immediately realize you have a problem.”
Grothman told host Mike Gousha that he has hopes to “make a big change” on the issue under a “better president” than Obama.
Before his run for Congress, Grothman gained national attention for introducing a bill in the state legislature to list single parenthood as “a contributing factor for child abuse and neglect.”
It turns out that by branding themselves as members of a party that has returned to its mainstream, center-right roots after successfully stamping out a Tea Party rebellion, even “establishment” Republican candidates are able to hold all sorts of extreme views without any consequences.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that a party that regularly endorses candidates who deny climate science and denounce evolution has moved the political center so far to the right that even candidates with radical views can still be treated as moderates. These days, Republicans win kudos simply for stating that they don’t want to ban birth control or destroy the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.
This dynamic has allowed any number of conspiracy theories to flourish in the GOP. Here are five conspiracy theories that newly elected members of the United States Congress will be bringing with them to Washington next year:
Senator-elect Joni Ernst, a Republican of Iowa, shares their fears. Last year, Ernst predicted that Agenda 21 agents may start “moving people off of their agricultural land and consolidating them into city centers and then telling them that you don’t have property rights anymore. These are all things that the UN is behind and it’s bad for the United States, bad for families here in the state of Iowa.”
She later warned that Agenda 21 will compel people to move into designated “urban centers” and “take away our individual liberties, our freedoms as United States citizens.”
2) Just Making Stuff Up About ISIS
Never mind the fact that there have been exactly zeroofficialreports of ISIS members coming to the U.S. via the southern border, “closing the border” has emerged as a leading Republican talking point when describing how they plan to fight the terrorist group.
Tom Cotton, the Arkansas congressman who won his race for U.S. Senate yesterday, said during his campaign that his opponent and President Obama are “refusing to secure our border” and as a result, ISIS is now at the gates: “Groups like the Islamic State collaborate with drug cartels in Mexico who have clearly shown they’re willing to expand outside the drug trade into human trafficking and potentially even terrorism. They could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas.”
While conservative politicians have denounced the science behind climate change as a big lie, some are very interested in the “science” behind “blood moons,” with more Religious Rightactivists arguing that lunar eclipses are actually signs of God’s impending judgment against America for policies such as abortion rights and LGBT equality.
“I certainly am aware of the fact that every time there have been blood moons like this, there have been major events that have followed,” he said.
Perhaps Congress should move to study blood moons rather than climate change!
4) Gay Recruitment in the Classroom
Are sex-ed classes just a secret plot to turn kids gay? Yes, according to Wisconsin state senator and soon-to-be U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, who once warned that some school classes are the result of an “agenda which is left unsaid is that some of those who throw it out as an option would like it if more kids became homosexuals.”
Grothman instead proposed that schools enact their own “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policies, lest growing support for gay rights in the U.S. lead to divine punishment.
Hice, as it happens, shares Grothman concerns about gay recruitment, once citing a satirical 1987 essay to claim that gay people want to “sodomize your sons” and “seduce them in your schools.”
5) Identity of the Antichrist Revealed!
At least one Republican candidate knows the true identity of the Antichrist, and it’s Hillary Clinton.
“It’s time to stop the lies. Let’s talk about the truth,” Zinke said. “Who trusts the U.S. government?” he asked rhetorically. “No one in this room. I’ve served in 25 nations. I’ve seen where people don’t trust their government. We’re there. In the military, the last option is to send in the SEALs.”
Zinke said he wants to restore truth, grace, honor and decency, which he called “our moral compass. It’s always been Judeo-Christian,” he said. With the present administration, “It’s whatever you can get away with. I will never bow to pressure. I will do what’s right,” he said.
“We need to focus on the real enemy,” he said, referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he called the “anti-Christ.”
After getting called out for the remark, Zinke later said that the “anti-Christ” comment was a joke.
So there you have it, in an election where pundits raved about establishment Republicans “crushing” Tea Party insurgents, it seems that the GOP establishment has simply appropriated the Tea Party’s tarnished brand of paranoid politics and unmistakable extremism.
The conventional wisdom is that so-called establishment Republican candidates by and large triumphed over Tea Party radicals this election cycle. But the truth is that those victories were the result of a party establishment that itself has moved far to the right. Even where Tea Party candidates have failed, the Tea Party movement has increasingly remade the “establishment” GOP in its own image.
It is now core doctrine in the GOP to deny the science behind climate change, endorse sweeping abortion bans and engage in anti-government rhetoric reminiscent of the John Birch Society.
As Tea Party icon Michele Bachmann put it last week, while she may be retiring from Congress, she leaves with the knowledge that “even the establishment moved toward embracing the Tea Party’s messaging.”
Here, we look at five Republican congressional candidates who could be heading to the Capitol next year. Some have been labeled “establishment,” some “Tea Party,” but all are emblematic of the party’s strong turn to the right.
1. Joni Ernst
One Iowa conservative pundit has described state Sen. Joni Ernst, now the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, as “the choice of the Republican establishment” who has “been backed by national Republican establishment figures like Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Marco Rubio.”
But in today’s Republican Party, even an “establishment” candidate like Ernst can be just as extreme as a Tea Party insurgent.
Ernst subscribes to the radical,neo-Confederate idea that states can “nullify” federal laws that they deem to be unconstitutional — and even went so far as to suggest that local law enforcement officers can arrest government officials for simply administering federal laws.
In response to a 2012 candidate survey for a group affiliated with former congressman Ron Paul, Ernst pledged to “support legislation to nullify ObamaCare and authorize state and local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement the unconstitutional health care scheme known as ObamaCare.” In a speech to a Religious Right group the next year, she criticized Congress for passing “laws that the states are considering nullifying.”
Not only does Ernst think states should simply be able to void laws they don’t like, but she also wants to abolish the federal minimum wage and eliminate federal agencies such as the Department of Education, the EPA and the IRS. She also came out in favor of a plan, known as the “Fair Tax,” that would scrap the income tax and replace it with a federal sales tax of 23 percent on nearly all goods.
Her anti-government paranoia even extends to taking on a non-binding United Nations sustainable development agreement, Agenda 21, which she warned will pave the way for the UN to remove Americans from rural lands and force them into cities. She has even disagreed with the official investigations finding that Iraq did not have WMDs at the time of the 2003 U.S. invasion.
But Ernst does support government intervention when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, sponsoring the Iowa personhood amendment, which would ban abortion in all cases along with common forms of birth control. “I think the provider should be punished, if there were a personhood amendment,” Ernst said, but has since insisted that she thinks the amendment would be purely symbolic.
In 2007, Tillis blasted government policies that “have redistributed trillions of dollars of wealth,” calling them “reparations” for slavery. The same year, he opposed a resolution apologizing for an 1898 massacre of African Americans in a North Carolina city, explaining that the amendment didn’t sufficiently honor white Republicans.
Tillis supported the repeal of North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act — which allowed death-row inmates to appeal their sentences based on evidence of racial bias — and backed heavily restrictive voting laws designed to weaken the black vote. In a 2012 interview, he lamented that Democrats were gaining ground in North Carolina thanks to growing Latino and African American populations while the “traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable.”
At an event in 2011, he suggested that the government cut public spending by finding “a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance” — specifically by setting disabled people against “these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government.”
He has now pivoted his campaign to focus on addressing the menacing specter of people infected with Ebola coming to Mexico to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S.
3. Jody Hice
Jody Hice entered politics as a Religious Right activist and a conservative talk radio show host, making him part of two worlds that are at the core of the conservative movement. Now, as the frontrunner in an open Georgia House seat, currently held by outgoing far-right Rep. Paul Broun, Hice is set to bring his right-wing agenda to Congress.
Hice made his first foray into politics by trying to convince local governments to erect monuments of the Ten Commandments in public places, which were deemed unconstitutional by, in Hice’s words, “judicial terrorists .” A Christian Nationalist, Hice thinks the founding fathers would support his congressional campaign and has posted on his Facebook page numerous fake quotes from our nation’s founders about the dangers of “Big Government” and the need to mix religion and government.
Hice outlines his political beliefs and fears in his book, “It’s Now or Never: A Call to Reclaim America,” in which he claims that abortion rights make the U.S. worse than Nazi Germany; endorses the fringe “nullification” theory; argues that Islam “does not deserve First Amendment protection”; and spells out his worries about gay people trying to “sodomize” children and persecute Christians, fearing that children will be “preyed upon” by gay “recruitment” efforts until they embrace “destructive,” “militant homosexuality.”
When armed militia groups gathered at the Bundy ranch in Nevada to back a rancher and race-theorist who refused to pay grazing fees for using federal property, Hice praised the groups that were threatening violence against law enforcement officers. He has argued that individuals have the right to have “any, any, any, any weapon that our government and law enforcement possesses,” including “bazookas and missiles,” in order to give citizens a fighting chance in a potential war against the government.
The GOP nominee blamed mass shootings such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech and in Aurora, Colorado, on abortion rights, the separation of church and state, and the teaching of evolution, and said that the Sandy Hook school shooting was the result of “kicking God out of the public square” with the end of school-organized prayer.
Hice also believes that we are now living in the End Times, worrying that “we have little time” left on earth and citing the appearance of blood moons as proof of imminent cataclysmic, “world-changing events.”
While Hice is worried about the destructive consequences of blood moons, he dismissed climate change as a “propaganda” tool of the “Radical Environmental Movement” to make people of believe in an “impending environmental disaster due to ‘Global Warming.’”
Grothman opposes abortion rights without exceptions in cases of rape, incest and a woman’s health, even working to make it a felony offense for a doctor to perform an abortion that could save a woman’s life. Grothman successfully passed laws requiring doctors to read scripts meant to discourage women from terminating their pregnancies, which he said was necessary because oftentimes “women are looking for someone to talk them out of it.” He also sponsored a 24-hour waiting period for abortions that only exempts survivors of “forcible rape” who file a police report.
The Republican lawmaker worries that “gals” are running — and ruining — America by leading a “war on men.” He has said the U.S. “is in the process of committing suicide today” as a result of single mothers collecting public benefits and pushed a bill to declare single parenthood “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect,” calling single parenthood a “choice” and the result of a culture that “encourages a single motherhood lifestyle.”
“I think a lot of women are adopting the single motherhood lifestyle because the government creates a situation in which it is almost preferred,” he said in a 2012 interview with Alan Colmes, adding that he believes women aren’t telling the truth about having unintended pregnancies: “I think people are trained to say that ‘this is a surprise to me,’ because there’s still enough of a stigma that they’re supposed to say this.”
In a similar vein, he defended Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to rescind a pay equity law because, according to Grothman, pay disparities are due to the fact that “money is more important for men.”
Grothman is a sponsor of the Wisconsin Personhood resolution [PDF], which would ban abortion in all cases and many forms of birth control, and his campaign has touted the support of personhood activists.
He once described Planned Parenthood as “probably the most racist organization” in the country, adding that he believes the group targets Asian Americans for abortion. In 2007, he voted against a bill that made sure hospitals provide information about emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors.
He opposes laws protecting employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, and once tried to strip a sex education bill of a nondiscrimination provision that he suspected was part of a plot to make kids gay. Grothman also demanded that his state refuse to follow a court order to recognize same-sex marriages, which he feared would “legitimiz[e] illegal and immoral marriages.”
Not content with just opposing gay rights in the U.S., Grothman also defended a Ugandan law that makes homosexuality a crime punishable by sentences including life in prison. He even suggested that “unbelievable” American criticism of Uganda’s law would prompt God to punish the United States.
Although Grothman fears that America might incur God’s wrath for standing up to state-sanctioned violence against gays and lesbians, he is less concerned about climate change, which he says “doesn’t exist.” Grothman told one interviewer: “This environmental stuff, this is the idea that is driven by this global warming thing. Global warming is not man-made and there is barely any global warming at all, there’s been no global warming for the last twelve or thirteen years. I see a shortage of Republicans stepping up to the plate and saying, ‘look, this global warming stuff is not going on.”
5. Zach Dasher
Taking advantage of his family’s new-found reality TV fame, “Duck Dynasty” cousin Zach Dasher is running for U.S. Congress in Louisiana in an election where the top two candidates advance to a runoff vote if no candidate takes over 50 percent of the vote.
Dasher cited the success of “Duck Dynasty” as one of the reasons he entered the race: “Five years ago, I didn’t see an opportunity or window of opportunity to get into this type of venture. But here recently, obviously with the family name and being able to get my message out there, I saw an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
Of his uncle Phil Robertson, who came under fire for making statements in a magazine interview defending Jim Crow and demonizing gays and lesbians, Dasher gushed: “The support of the family means a lot to me. We share a very similar background and philosophy, and our spiritual beliefs are the same as well. They’re going to be a big part of the campaign. I’m going to have Phil as my PR director, since he’s so good with the media.”
Robertson also appears in commercials promoting Dasher’s candidacy, and Dasher has said he agreed with Robertson’s remarks about the gay community. Dasher’s wife wrote in a blog post that just as people should break out of addictions to alcohol and heroin, gay people can “overcome” and “come out of” homosexuality and find “healing.”
One of Dasher’s opponents, Rep. Vince McAllister, is a freshman Republican congressman who said he would retire after he was caught on video kissing a staffer who was not his wife, then changed his mind. Dasher says he is running as an even more conservative candidate than the GOP incumbent, and has received backing from Tea Party and pro-corporate groups such as the Club for Growth and Citizens United.
“My platform begins with God. That’s really what this whole thing is about. In Washington, when we look at what’s going on, we see an erosion away from that platform,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “We see the ruling classes kick God out and in His place they place themselves. That scares me because we didn't send these folks to Washington, D.C. to determine our rights, we sent them there to defend our rights.”
Dasher fears that the federal government “believes that they’re God” and is intent on “gain[ing] control over every aspect of our lives” as part of a plan to create a “culture of dependency.” In a personal podcast, Dasher said the “swift drift away from God will usher in tyranny and death,” warning: “Tyranny will get its foothold — if it already doesn't have it — and in the end, there will be mass carnage and mass death. It's inevitable.”
Dasher blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on atheists, whom he also accused of “brainwashing a generation ” through rap music and ushering in “moral decay” and the erosion of liberty. He said that schools should “arm the teachers,” arguing that laws targeting gun violence actually leave people as “unarmed sitting ducks, waiting for someone to come in and shoot their schools up.” Dasher recently claimed that the Second Amendment was established to allow people to defend themselves against “a tyrannical government,” warning that government officials intend to repeal the amendment in order to eliminate all other freedoms.
Glenn Grothman, the Wisconsin state senator and U.S. House candidate who is bravely fighting against the “war on men,” this weekend earned the endorsement of a man he calls his “soul mate”: former senator Rick Santorum.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Santorum announced his Patriot Voices PAC’s endorsement of Grothman on a joint conference call late last week, where the two “praised each other for their devotion to conservative principles.”
State Sen. Glenn Grothman snagged a high-profile endorsement this week when he won the backing of previous GOP presidential hopeful and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, from Pennsylvania, and his Patriot Voices PAC.
During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Grothman and Santorum praised each other for their devotion to conservative principles. Grothman talked about how Santorum won him over when they first met during Santorum’s unsuccessful bid to become the 2012 presidential nominee.
“When I met him, I felt we were almost soul mates,” Grothman said. “It’s kind of an odd thing.”
Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman wants to stop his state from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples: “Our country is declining on an almost daily basis. The Office of Vital Records has no business participating in legitimizing illegal and immoral marriages.”
Televangelist Rick Joyner likens David Brat to the “greatest prophets” who arose “when ancient Israel fell into its deepest debauchery.”
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel pledges to “re-deliver” his group’s “petition to ‘Impeach Barack Obama, our lawless President’ to key members of Congress.”
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer demands that the U.S. stop helping Muslim-majority countries until their citizens convert to Christianity.
Os Hillman explains why he thinks the Obama presidency is part of God’s judgment on America.
It comes as no surprise, then, to learn that Grothman has some Todd-Akin-style anti-choice politics in his past. While serving as a state assemblyman in 1997, Grothman tried – and failed – to remove language from a “partial birth” abortion ban that would have granted an exception for abortions that would save the life of a pregnant woman. That is, Grothman wanted to make it a felony punishable by life in prison for a doctor to save a woman's life by performing a certain kind of abortion.
Grothman sponsored another, successful bill in 1996 that forced women seeking abortions to undergo a 24-hour waiting period, at the time among the longest in the country, and to require doctors to read an anti-choice script to women seeking abortions. When the state senate added a rape and incest exemption to the bill, Grothman arranged to limit the exemption to cases of what he called “forcible rape” and added language that forced the rape survivor to file a police report before being allowed to skip the waiting period.
David Callender of The Capital Times reported on April 25, 1997 that Wisconsin anti-choice groups were split over whether a bill making it a felony to perform a “partial birth” abortion should exempt procedures that would save a woman’s life. One anti-choice group claimed that the exception left “things wide open for the abortionists.” Grothman, then a state assemblyman, stepped in and said he would offer an amendment to remove the life-saving exception:
A bill to ban partial-birth abortions in Wisconsin is causing a major rift among many of the state's most active anti-abortion groups.
The bill would charge doctors with a Class A felony for performing the procedure, which could mean life in prison for offenders.
That's OK with both groups, but they are bitterly divided over an exemption in the bill that would allow doctors to perform the procedure in order to save the mother's life.
Groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference support the exemption. They contend the exception is needed for the bill to pass constitutional muster as well as to insure political support among lawmakers who generally support abortion rights.
On Thursday, the Assembly Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee approved the bill -- with the exemption -- by a 12-2 vote, with the opposition coming from Madison Democratic Reps. Tammy Baldwin and David Travis. The bill will likely come before the Assembly during the May floor period.
But a leading anti-abortion lawmaker, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said he will probably introduce an amendment that would delete the mother's life exception.
That deletion is being sought by Pro-Life Wisconsin, the Pro-Life Coalition, Collegians Activated to Liberate Life, and other conservative anti-abortion groups that identify themselves as ``100 percent pro-life.''
Without the change, "this bill leaves things wide open for the abortionists,'' said Dave Ostendorf, a spokesman for the Pro-Life Coalition.
True to his word, Grothman did offer an amendment that would remove the exemption that allowed a doctor to perform a “partial birth” abortion if it would save the life of the pregnant woman. Grothman’s amendment was eventually withdrawn without being put to a vote, but not before the extremism of his anti-choice positions was put on display.
In the other case, Grothman was the primary sponsor of a bill imposing a waiting period for women seeking an abortion and requiring abortion providers to read an anti-choice script to women seeking care, which at the time was one of the toughest in the nation. Grothman justified the bill by saying, “In many cases, women are looking for someone to talk them out of it,” and claiming that many women “have been badgered into [abortions] by their husbands and boyfriends,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
“The purpose of this bill is to be sensitive to women,'' he said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
John Nichols of The Capital Times summarized the bill in July, 1995:
The so-called "Woman's Right to Know'' bill would, if passed, require a physician to meet in person twice with a woman seeking an abortion before performing the procedure. During those meetings, the doctor would be required to offer the woman an ultrasound reading, a fetal heartbeat report and photographs showing the development of a fetus.
The doctor would also be required to describe the abortion procedure in graphic detail and detail possible risks -- even though there is no requirement that the doctor inform the woman of the risks of carrying a pregnancy to term. The doctor would even have to provide information about risks not proven to exist.
The doctor would also have to conclude not only that the woman has been fully informed, but also that her decision to have the abortion is completely voluntary -- even though a physician would have no way of knowing whether this is so. Doctors could be punished legally for failing to do so.
The state assembly passed Grothman’s bill without excemptions for rape and incest survivors. Grothman claimed that in cases of incest, “These women above all, need this extra protection.” He added, “We're victimizing women not to provide them with information at this time," according to the La Crosse Tribune.
After the state senate added a rape and incest exemption to the bill, Grothman introduced an amendment limiting the exemption to cases of what he called “forcible rape” – excluding statutory rape of minors – and allowing rape survivors to skip the 24-hour waiting period only if they could confirm to the doctor that they had first filed a police report. The amendment added the same reporting requirement for pregnancy in the case of incest involving a minor, but added a two-hour waiting period.
The assembly approved the bill with Grothman’s changes and Gov. Tommy Thompson signed it.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that an earlier Grothman amendment, which was initially passed, but then replaced once legislators realized what it contained, “would have required doctors to wait until a formal criminal complaint was filed before granting an abortion in cases of rape and incest” meaning that survivors would have to “wait weeks, instead of one day, to get an abortion.”
Wisconsin GOP state senator Glenn Grothman promised in an interview with Voice of Christian Youth America last week that he will be “an outspoken opponent” of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) if he wins his race for Congress.
Grothman warned that ENDA “gives preferences” and an unfair advantage to LGBT employees: “It’s not only you can’t discriminate, it’s a preference because all of the sudden employers have to worry, ‘if I don’t hire this guy, if I don’t promote this guy, I’m going to be sued for discrimination.’”
Grothman also suggested that affirmative action is depressing job growth because “you always got to worry about being sued for who you hire, who you didn’t fire, who you promoted, who you let go.”
He added that environmental regulations are hurting the economy and mocked efforts “to reign in global warming, which doesn’t exist anyway.”
“This environmental stuff, this is the idea that is driven by this global warming thing. Global warming is not man-made and there is barely any global warming at all, there’s been no global warming for the last twelve or thirteen years. I see a shortage of Republicans stepping up to the plate and saying, ‘look, this global warming stuff is not going on,’” he said.