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The rise of America’s QAnon Queen Marjorie Taylor Greene might be a conspiracist — but voters love her

Even her fans don't think she's cut out for the presidency. Credit: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Even her fans don't think she's cut out for the presidency. Credit: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images


January 3, 2022   5 mins

Nobody can get elected in Georgia without the “nut vote”, the late senator Sam Nunn used to say. He wasn’t talking about pecans and peanuts — though the state is America’s largest producer of both — but kooks and conspiracists. Georgia has always been full of them, and now it is represented by one: Marjorie Taylor Greene, the loudest and Trumpiest member of Congress.

Is she the future of the Republican party? Or has the media fallen into the Trumpy trap of bigging up the most brazen peddler of outrage? Yes, MTG is bonkers, but she is authentically woman-next-door bonkers. Barely 5ft tall in heels, she is a bundle of energy who has tapped into a social media ecosystem that runs on its own hot air.

The big attraction is that Donald Trump thinks the world of his friend “Marjorie”. When she visited his court at Mar-a-Lago in Florida in April, the former president called her “a very special person” who is “out there fighting hard”. While he flirts with standing for re-election in 2024 and dreams of being mysteriously reinstated in the White House, perhaps as early as this August, she has taken to the road to keep his America First agenda alive — and to fill her coffers as the would-be inheritor of his populist mantle.

The politics of “She said WH-A-A-T?” has certainly boosted her brand. Greene’s latest provocation was to compare compulsory mask wearing to Nazis forcing Jews to wear the yellow Star of David, for which she received a gentle, first-name ticking off from the thoroughly cowed Republican House leader, Kevin McCarthy. Not that she cares. She regards him as a creature of the “House of Hypocrites” and calls Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Nancy “Maskhole” and “bitch”.

Greene’s early support for QAnon — she calls its prophet, Q, a “patriot” — has led her to circulate a slew of conspiracy theories, often involving a “global cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles” and other claims, including that mass school shootings are “false flag” operations.

But is the rest of America drinking from the same fountain? A recent poll by the Public Religion and Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core found that 14% of Americans could be described as “QAnon believers” and that 55% were somewhat susceptible to their views.

Certainly, her eccentric views haven’t been an obstacle for her. Despite being shunned by corporations, Greene managed to raise $3.2m in small donations in the first quarter of the year, an astonishing sum for a political novice who only entered Congress in January — more than any other House Republican. And, as I discovered on a recent trip to “Greeneland”, the 14th congressional district she represents in northwest Georgia, support for her shows little sign of waning.

She is currently on a flag-waving and fundraising “America First” tour with Matt Gaetz, the Florida congressman who is being investigated by the FBI for paid sex with a 17-year-old.

I caught up with the pair in Dalton, Georgia, Greene’s home turf, on the third leg of their tour (next stop: Dallas, Texas). The rally, attended by 500 people in red and blue MAGA regalia, began with Gaetz whipping up the crowd in support of Trump. “The art of the deal is the art of the comeback and I think Donald Trump is coming back in 2024,” he said to chants of “USA! USA!”

Later, Gaetz told the New York Post that if Trump did not stand, he might give the presidency a whirl himself on the grounds that anybody could beat the enfeebled Joe Biden. Gaetz, I suspect, is an exception to that rule. But Greene, who turned 47 on the night of the rally, has something he lacks: a genuine connection with the Republican party base. “You see, I’m one of you,” she told them. “I walk into Congress and I say exactly what we say at the dinner table every night.”

She went on to assert that the election was stolen. “Who won the presidential race in Georgia?” Greene asked. “Trump! Trump! Trump!” the audience obliged.

Frankly, the views of her supporters are even less orthodox than hers. Janice Helton, 67, a lady sitting next to me, asked whether I knew that “George W Bush had a hand in the ‘bombing’ of 9/11” and that his father, Bush Sr, was involved in killing John F Kennedy. “It’s all about the money.” Joe Biden, Helton added, is probably dead. “They say he is not even alive. He’s a clone,” Helton said.

Yet Greene clearly has a wider appeal — and it would be wrong to write her off as just a crank. When she began campaigning for election in 2019, she sounded almost Thatcherite in her commitment to balancing the budget (not something Trump worried about). “If we look at our country as a household, we’re going to go under foreclosure because we’re overspending,” she said at the time. “I look at it that way as a business owner and then I look at it as a mom.”

For years, she helped to run a family-owned construction business and was wealthy enough to pour $1 million of her own money into her political campaign. People admired her for it. She put “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” at the top of her manifesto and carried 75% of the vote in her staunchly Republican area

In Dalton, Greene was cheered for highlighting the staff shortages crippling small businesses now the pandemic is receding. Republican politicians blame Biden’s $300-a-week unemployment cheques for this, and in fact Georgia is just one of many Republican “red” states to have recently declined the money.

“The stimulus checks are paying people to stay at home,” Greene said. “Nobody wants to go to work because you can sit home in your pyjamas all day scrolling through social media.”

Another of her popular promises was to “secure the border”. In the last three months, half a million undocumented immigrants have crossed into America, drawn by Biden’s relaxation of controls. “Do you think America ought to be a sanctuary country?” Greene asked. “No,” the audience roared.

Economically and culturally, she is also on their wavelength. Even Greene’s previous ownership of a CrossFit gym has made her relatable in a state where working out with weights is a blue-collar obsession. She is big on faith and family, too. A former gym owner, Jim Chambers, told the New Yorker that at one stage Greene had “multiple, blatant, extramarital affairs in front of all of us” — but all has been forgiven.

Tellingly, however, few people at the rally saw Greene as a future president. For although some appear to believe in conspiracy theories, at root they retain a basic belief in experience and competence.

After Trump, the name that excited the most applause was Ron De Santis, the Florida governor, for keeping his state functioning under Covid-19, despite its reliance on tourism and abundance of elderly residents. “We all have governor envy. We all want De Santis in our state,” said Jeremy Counts, 47, who was sitting to my left with his 15-year-old son.

He regarded Greene as a fighter, but not a leader. “We’re going to trip over ourselves to vote for De Santis as president. He’s the boss.” Mickey Reed nodded in agreement. “If he runs in place of Trump, I will get behind him wholeheartedly,” she said.

The American voter remains a rational creature. Will De Santis flourish? Undoubtedly he is the next-gen leader to beat. And MTG? It remains to be seen whether she can get her hands on more levers of power.

Either way, she has mastered the art of addressing two audiences: one that takes her seriously and literally as a fellow conspiracist, and another that takes her seriously, but not literally, as a conservative politician. And as Trump has proved, that is a heady combination.


Sarah Baxter is the former Deputy Editor of The Sunday Times. She is now based in the US.

SarahbaxterSTM

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
2 years ago

Her policies in terms of jobs and the border seem perfectly sensible, she has actually worked in a real business (unlike 99% of politicians), and she annoys the hell out of the liberal media, so that’s good enough for me.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The democrat party is full of the weird , the eccentric & the nasty-Maxine Waters , Nancy Pelosi etc-who have somehow all saved their pocketmoney really well & become multi-millionaires. They now seem to be admitting that Biden was involved in his son’s business affairs . Perhaps some people find this woman honest & there has been enough weird things happening to make you wonder if for example David Icke may be rational & reasonable. I think the republican party should look out for infiltrators & sabateurs though-the proud boys ? turned into something very strange.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

There will NEVER be an hit piece on Pelosi or Maxine, or any of the creepy Swamp animals of the Democrat party here, or on any MSM. That alone should be a story for Unherd, but I am sure never will as it is the policy here too. ‘Where’s Hunter’?
But anyway, WWG1WGA

kathleen carr
KC
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

They are a bit bolder on American Thinker

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

WW1WGA back to you,

(and another -6 points just went onto my CIA maintained social credit score….)

Aidan Collingwood
AC
Aidan Collingwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Quite so. I was thinking similarly. Her other odd ideas aside – which I don’t know much about but which don’t seem to be too worrying yet – she seems to have an eye on the bigger picture vis-a-vis borders, jobs and probably much else of concern. And, as you say, she’s a thorn in big media’s side, and by extension probably big tech and social media as well, which is never a bad thing these days.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

I happen to know Dalton Ga, it always was a Carpet Mill town which has undergone a large Mexican migration resulting in unemployment for unskilled white people, and so suffers from a big meth problem and all manner of social problems coupled with under employment.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Welcome back Fraser

Brendan O'Leary
BO
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Erm, this is an article “from the archive” and Fraser’s last comment was “six months ago”. Although they could’ve made it a bit more obvious that it was from that long ago.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Good comment, good article. Surprisingly, the article did not mention the fact that MTG and a few others, Lauren Boebert for one, continue to attack AOC, Ilan Omar, the brother-marrying African fraud, and the rest of the vile, filthy, disgusting communist, evil, anti-American “Squad.” These continued attacks–not strident enough in my view–endear them to many American voters and should have been mentioned. Plain talk is why many people liked Trump.
I am what you might call a reality based voter. I hate HRC as much as the next non-menstruating person, but I don’t believe that she was the 20th hijacker on 9/11. I’m willing to accommodate a little lunacy if the person is in favour of reasonable policies. That the person is a political outsider who doesn’t play by “normal” rules is a massive plus.

James Slade
JS
James Slade
2 years ago

There is little difference between Marjorie Taylor Greene and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the squad. Both promote extremists conspiracy theories and dance around the edge of racism. It’s just that AOC conspiracy theories are more fashionable with the rich and thus sell more ad space. Conde Nast put AOC on the cover of vanity fair for a reason.

John Lewis
JL
John Lewis
2 years ago
Reply to  James Slade

Amen to that.

When did we last see a correspondingly thorough analysis of AOC in any ostensibly impartial media outlet including unherd?

The fact that AOC, unlike Greene, already exerts considerable influence on US policy and will undoubtedly be a major figure for years to come makes the differential treatment even more striking.

Simon Coulthard
GD
Simon Coulthard
2 years ago
Reply to  James Slade

I don’t think this article even mentions AOC

James Slade
JS
James Slade
2 years ago

And the point goes over your head. It’s about the differential treatment of rightwing and leftwing nut jobs.

Simon Coulthard
GD
Simon Coulthard
2 years ago
Reply to  James Slade

So you’ll defend this crackpot republican because she’s on your side of the fence politically? She who believes that the democrats are Satan-worshipping cannibalistic paedos operating out of some pizza shop basement? There is no way you can compare that with the views of AOC which, despite flawed, stem from a desire to make the world a fairer place. The extent of tribalism evident on this site is mad

James Slade
James Slade
2 years ago

Do you mind quoting where I defend Greene. Oddly enough it is possible to think that a Democrat and a Republican can both be bigoted crackpots. You can’t complain about tribalism and then pretend that AOC and her squad aren’t antisemitic.

Hardee Hodges
HH
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago

Do you know if she believes this Q nonsense or has she just adopted a few of their memes about corruption? I can’t find evidence of her beliefs in the Q world other than she liked something sometime. Her public statements simply are more right leaning anger.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

“Q Nonsense” is just that, nonsense. Some weirdos got the oddly-named mainstream media’s attention and thus became a permanent fantasy fixture in their depiction of the political scene. If it existed, its seeming counterpart on the left, Antifa, is all too real. You can still see the burned-out centers of the cities they set alight.

James Joyce
JJ
James Joyce
2 years ago

Kindly see my post above….

David Slade
David Slade
2 years ago

I like her!

Seriously, if the establishment doesn’t want people supporting conspiracy theorists they should stop acting in ways that defy logical explanation.

Examples of rationality defying indulgences’ would be obsessively showing reverence to contentious political movements (taking the knee to BLM); and instigating the cruelest response to disease since the days of the ducking stool which – with a shocking lack of self awareness – is referred to as ‘the science’.

Frankly, you may as well fall in behind the conspiracy theorists.

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Ike makes more sense to me every day.

Every great horror visited on a society began as a small cadre in back rooms, and then fanning out and recruiting, and moving into political and other groups, moving up by stealth and stratigy to positions of power, and then springing their horror on the nation. They all began as conspiracies.

If you do not believe in the conspiracies which now are almost at the position of power to take total control – you are just a sheep and will be their prey. As will we all, if you let them succeed.
Can you not see the overpowering agenda the MSM has? Even this Unherd is folding into its ways, more and more, every day.

Jeff Mason
Jeff Mason
2 years ago

She sounds wacky but I’m one of those who pays attention to her actions more than her word. I hated it any time Trump opened his mouth but I liked his policies and economy. Deeds over words.

Alex Lekas
AL
Alex Lekas
2 years ago

this woman is being judged by people who defend the likes of AOC and the Hamas member of Congress, Tlaib. Is she a little out there? Yup. So what? Decades of allegedly sober, professional, and responsible politicians have not exactly covered themselves in glory.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

So far, aside from apparently liking someone crazy on Faceplant, Greene hasn’t talked much about QAnon ideas. I only know of those ideas as described by others and am unaware of their various forums, but Greene seemes tarred for ‘likes”. Those who pour through social media (actually a job, I hear) seem to uncover all sorts of rubbish.

AC Harper
AC Harper
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Most main stream politicians (left or right) have a hundred different ways of not answering a question and have no opinions until they have been strategized and focus-grouped to death. I particularly dislike the politicians who choose to answer the question that ‘most people really care about’ instead.
It’s refreshing to encounter a plain spoken politician, even if they can also be accused of nuttiness.

William Harvey
William Harvey
2 years ago

If trump doesn’t run .. and i hope he doesn’t, then Ron De Santis has a great chance of winning the 2024 election. He has similar policies as Trump but lacks the narcissism and seems better at playing the media that Trump. De Santis has more experience at running government and appears steady and competent as opposed to the chaotic ( though sometimes intuitive) Trump. America First without the massive Trump ego, could be a very seductive message to the American voters

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
2 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

Yes, De Santis seems to be excellent in every respect. He can also, thus far, point to the fact that his policies work spectacularly well. And how about Kristi Noem or Candace Owens as a running mate?
I would love to see Trump as President again, but I just think that he’s too divisive. He would mobilise a pure anti-Trump vote, as happened last year. De Santis (or Kristi Noem) would not incite the same level of irrational dislike. Candace Owens, of course, is also a problem in this respect, brilliant though she is.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I agree about De Santis -Florida seems to be the new Republican base & the party seems to attract a lot of hispanic voters

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

That is because Fla is ex-Cubans, and South/Central Americans, most had experience with communism. They are also quite different from Mexicans culturally and ethnically, and ‘Hispanic’ fails to be useful in this way. I have lived in Florida a great deal, and in Texas, and Arizona, and there is a very different attitude between the East and West ‘Hispanics’.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The deranged hatred and vituperation Trump inspires will be seamlessly reallocated to DeSantis should the Florida governor be the Republican nominee in 2024. There is core of irrational nasty Democrats in Florida (where I reside) who despise DeathSantis, as they call him, along with less charming names.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

Agreed. Trump is the biggest obstacle to a Republican win in 2024.

Joerg Beringer
JB
Joerg Beringer
2 years ago

She was wrong to compare mask wearing to that of a yellow star.
The proper analogies to it are the Hitler salute, wearing a cross/star of David around the neck and greeting Landvogt Gessler’s hat.
But those others did not endanger the greeter or wearer himself whilst doing so, that feature is unique to masks and to those who mandated, propagated, practiced and defended it.
Even the Nazis would not have even contemplated harming their own children thereby, that was left to our generations to be the first in that regard.
The yellow star analogy is apt with regard to the advocated and practiced discrimination of the ‘not Covid gene therapied and therefore perfectly healthy’, mistakenly usually referred to simply as the unvaxxed.
Every discrimination we are ashamed of today was normalized, legal and propagated and practiced enthusiastically at its time.
Only Ron DeSantis has currently figured that out and acts that way, namely ethical and legitimate by fighting it.
The rest of the Western world’s politicians and their collaborators in the media and business will eventually share the same fate as their discriminating predecessors and go down as discriminating despicable villains in the history books, and, if we are lucky, they will also get prosecuted and jailed beforehand, during our lifetime, although I won’t hold my breath on that one.

Michael J. McEachern
MM
Michael J. McEachern
2 years ago

The sad thing about Greene, Gaetz and others who have serious flaws that do not play well nationally despite their support for positions and candidates we also support. Conspiracy theories about 9-11, vaccinations, etc. that clearly depart from reality do not diminish evidence-based exposure of election tampering and voter fraud. Greene and company would be better served by attacking the institutions such as universities that spread demonstrably false ideologies such as “equity”, critical race theory and the “trans – everything” insanity. The party and/or candidates who seek to return the US to sanity from its present social chaos, must be believable and accessible to voters.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Aha! Could you link me to some ‘evidence-based exposure of election tampering and voter fraud‘ then? I have asked before but never got a convincing answer.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Guy DeMontville
GD
Guy DeMontville
2 years ago

Yet another hit piece on patriotic Americans by an ex-Sunday Times globalist « journalist » supporting the cabal running the USA and almost by extension, the World. Trump upset their nice little game with China, so that is why the MSM, mainly owned by the cabal, were used as a means to bring him down. As George Carlin once said « it’s a big club, and you ain’t in it ».

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
2 years ago

The American voter remains a rational creature. 

Can you justify that?

Matt B
MB
Matt B
2 years ago

Human’s are not, largely, rationale – perhaps to curb rigidity in heuristic adaptive responses to eons of uncertainty.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt B
Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
2 years ago

Is it UnHerd’s position that there is not a “global cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles”? It sure seems like it.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
2 years ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

That would be any sane person’s position.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Interesting that FBI only trouble themselves with misconduct involving Republicans.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

With respect, I disagree. FBI is using ALL of its resources investigating Hunter Biden, the laptop, and his Ukrainian/Chinese ties, and Biden Inc.
For conspiracy theory nutcases, let me state with confidence that Hunter is a business genius and he deserved every penny of the $50K/month he received from the Ukranians.
Actually, that may overstate things a bit; 10% of the $50K was reserved for The Big Guy!

Ray Zacek
RZ
Ray Zacek
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Hunter Biden is also an artistic genius and the value of his art is, if anything, understated.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Ray Zacek

Yes, I’m a buyer (don’t tell anyone). My real name is Wi To Lo. Or Dimitri Bidenova. As the Talking Heads once said “I’ve got three passports/couple of visas/don’t even know my real name….

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

The Global Elites, from the earliest civilizations, are not like us. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. At some level of power people become twisted, and I think it takes greater and greater acts of power and abuse to excite them as normal pleasures become meaningless. I believe at the top is is possible there is every kind of deviant acts – like the Roman Emperors. Epstein was one of them. Throughout Western history there have been whisperings of pedophilia at the top levels of power, and why would that not be true? They have everything else.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The word jaded comes to mind. Haven’t used that in awhile.

sarahalbaxter
sarahalbaxter
2 years ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

It’s definitely my position that there is not a “global cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles”

Kelly Mitchell
Kelly Mitchell
2 years ago

Good to read an author with an implied support of Masking as (non)-Tyranny (sic). Any alternative is, and must be, a Conspiracy, because only the leftwing mainstream view is truth (TM).

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

Well, I’d vote for her, if only to annoy the lefties. And she’s quite a hottie for an old broad.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

This article is interesting but collective judgement in America seems wanting! Sarah Baxter does not make the American voter sound at all like a ‘rational creature’ as she asserts!

Simon Coulthard
Simon Coulthard
2 years ago

She’s a conspiracy theory nut job who should be kept as far away from power as possible. Anyone who thinks otherwise is drunk on anti-left bias. Let’s have some perspective please

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

She is my hero. Successfully worked in business, patriotic, speaks her mind unlike the snakes who make 90% of professional politicians – which she is not, so does not owe favors to the ones who helped her up the ladder. I find her like the citizen politician, which is my ideal, rather than the Swamp creatures who fill DC.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

What the knee-jerk poll-tested comment by Simon set you off! She seems an honest politician therefore is unqualified for her position.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

As opposed to the Democratic mainstream of utterly woke, anti-American, anti-white, anti-Western communist nutcases, in favour of instituting a nanny state at every turn? Someone should tell them that communism was a failure…