It's Still News When an Anti-Muslim Hate-Monger Wins a Republican Primary

Jack Holmes
·4 mins read
Photo credit: Stephanie Keith - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephanie Keith - Getty Images

From Esquire

On Tuesday night, an anti-Muslim hate-monger banned from most major social-media platforms won a Republican primary in Florida. Granted, it's unlikely that Laura Loomer, who it seems like just yesterday was handcuffing herself to the door of Twitter's offices in an attempt to get unbanned—or at least arrested, thereby furthering the martyrdom—will win the November general election now that she's the Republican nominee. Lois Frankel, her opponent, is a four-term incumbent in a heavily Democratic district. Tuesday's Democratic primary saw two-and-a-half times the turnout that its Republican counterpart did.

But Loomer's lurching rise should be remarked upon, if only because rampant Islamophobia has been dangerously normalized in our politics. She got herself banned from Uber and Lyft in 2017 after "a daylong anti-Islamic social media attack that blamed all Muslims for ISIS terrorism," in the assessment of NBC News. "Someone needs to create a non Islamic form of Uber or Lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver," Loomer wrote to kick things off.

Not long ago, this all was considered extreme. But how often has the president made a distinction between Jihadist terrorists and the vast, overwhelming majority of Muslims, who live and practice their faith peacefully? How far removed from Trump's Muslim Ban was Loomer's call for Muslims to be banned from public office? From her declaration that Islam is "a cancer on humanity"? In 2018, she was banned from Twitter for an extended attack on Ilhan Omar. (On Instagram, from which she is also now banned, she said Omar "is pushing for another 9/11" and the establishment of a "caliphate," calling for "patriots to rise up" against this.) The president knows all about that, too—it was his supporters who engaged in the blood-curdling rhythmic chants, targeting Omar, of "send her back." Omar saw a wave of death threats, including one man who called her "a fucking terrorist."

As if to drive home just how welcome this kind of bigotry is within the modern Republican Party, however, the president himself offered Loomer his congratulations. Then, as if to illustrate the full amalgamated extent of the party's descent into madness, he shared similar congratulations from Marjorie Taylor Greene, the winner of a recent Republican congressional primary in Georgia who is a QAnon believer with her own history of bigotry. (For her part, Greene visited the United States Capitol last year looking for Omar and Rashida Tlaib, whom she declared were not legitimate members of Congress because they'd taken their oaths of office with their hands on Qurans rather than Bibles.) The congratulations also arrived from Trump allies like Roger Stone—who campaigned for Loomer—Alex Jones, and Jeanine Pirro. Loomer triumphed over five other Republican candidates, including a QAnon believer, a couple more typical choices, and, via the Washington Post, "a former burlesque dancer who now runs an exotic animal business." (Florida!)

The chair of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County is also on board with all of this, the WaPo reports, because this is what the party is now. The retreat into unreason and paranoid delusion is continuing apace. In a new CNN poll, just 38 percent of the president's supporters say they would try to get vaccinated against coronavirus. That will surely prove an undercount in practice when the time comes that a vaccine is actually available, but by how much? Increasingly, the party's base is made up of people who will believe anything. The president is calling for an explicitly political boycott of Goodyear, an Ohio-based company with 62,000 employees, during a time of mass unemployment. But he still sticks in that you can "get better tires for far less," because he knows none of it has to be sincere, or even make any sense. We are hurtling into the darkness now.

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