I come from white Appalachia. Here’s the hard truth about Marjorie Taylor Greene and why you can’t stop her

Nobody in DC can realistically rid us of Greene. If you want to strategize, take a look at what people think on the ground

Skylar Baker-Jordan
Monday 01 February 2021 21:31 GMT
Marjorie Taylor Greene confronts Parkland gun control activist David Hogg

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Growing up in Appalachia, I learned the best way to extinguish a fire is to starve it of oxygen. Marjorie Taylor Greene is certainly a fire — and no, not one caused by a Jewish space laser. The QAnon-believing, mass shooting-denying, schoolboy-harassing Congresswoman from Georgia is fanning the flames of conspiracy theories and far-right movements which threaten the very heart of our democracy. Not wanting to give her any more attention than she deserves, this will — God willing — be the only thing I ever write about Marjorie Taylor Greene.

It is important that I write it, though. I see so many of my fellow Democrats making the mistake of singling her out, doubling down on their calls for her expulsion from Congress and demanding the Republican Party break with her. To be clear, I support both these actions. Taylor Greene has no place serving on a PTA, let alone in the House of Representatives.

But let’s get real: she isn’t going anywhere. Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the House Republicans, has all the backbone of a crawdad: tough on the outside, but soft as sin when you break the shell. His recent trip to pay homage to Donald Trump should be enough to eliminate any serious expectation that he’ll reprimand the woman Trump called a “future Republican star.”

You will never find enough Congressional Republicans to reach the two-thirds threshold needed to send her packing. The only way to get rid of Marjorie Taylor Greene is the same way she got into the Capitol in the first place: via the ballot box. To do that, we need to be fighting Taylor Greene not in DC, but in Dalton.

Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, which Taylor Greene represents, borders my own district here in Tennessee and isn’t much different. Sparsely populated relative to metro-Atlanta, the white Appalachians who primarily make up the district are conservative, evangelical, and feel like both parties have ignored them for too long. But while all of this might make the district easier for someone like Taylor Greene to win, it doesn’t make it a foregone conclusion.

Trump’s anointed candidate, Taylor Greene faced a comparatively poorly funded primary challenge which state GOP operatives blame McCarthy for stymying. Her Democratic opponent in the general was forced to drop out following a divorce which necessitated his move out of state, meaning she ran unopposed in the general election. Her victory is as much an accident of circumstance as it is a five-alarm fire of insanity.

That isn’t to imply she has no support. The people of the 14th district made that clear in a recent Politico report. “People are mad because they feel Congress and the media are trying to silence their voice,” said Gordon County GOP Chair Kathleen Thorman, while Murray County GOP Chair Tony Abernathy complained that her constituents “are tired of national media coming into Georgia trying to tell us how to think in her district.”

There is some truth to that. The people of Northwest Georgia — like people throughout Appalachia — are deeply distrustful of outsiders. Who can blame us, when outsiders have exploited our labor, blown up our mountains, polluted our waters and left us all the worse for it? Democrats have long ignored the region and Republicans have long taken it for granted. So, the people of the Georgia 14th — faced with no real alternative — elected the South’s answer to the Mad Queen Cersei Lannister. And she brought her wildfire to Washington.  

But Taylor Greene’s re-election is far from certain. She isn’t even from Northwest Georgia. She moved there specifically to run for the seat vacated by retiring GOP Congressman Tom Graves. Finding a local candidate with roots in the region to challenge her, either in the primary or in the general, could lead to her downfall. The Georgia Republican Party is in full-on civil war following its historic losses in the presidential and Senate races, but the Democratic Party — backed by an excellent ground game built and orchestrated by Stacey Abrams — is in a better position than it has been in decades.

Focusing our efforts on expelling Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t only going to backfire. She raised $1.6 million off the efforts just last week, and the people of her district aren’t taking kindly to being told their choice isn’t good enough. If we want to extinguish this fire before it consumes us, we need to turn on the hose right now. But we need to fight this fire at its source, which means dousing the flames down in Georgia — not in DC. 

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