As part of the GOP effort to distract from President Biden’s dramatic trip to Ukraine, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene rolled out a proposal for a “National Divorce.” Very interested in being Trump’s 2024 running mate, Greene is a combination of Republican mover and shaker, conservative provocateur, and fan-girl of the twice-impeached, disgraced, ex-president. If she wants Trump to nominate her, Greene needs to thread the thin needle of being provocative enough to remain popular with the right-wing base and important enough for Trump to see her as a positive for the ticket without being so important that Trump views her as a rival.
Given that Greene rolled out her “National Divorce” proposal at the same time Kevin McCarthy announced that he was giving Tucker Carlson access to the House tapes on Jan. 6, it’s obvious that Green was engaged in distraction from Biden. And it was successful. While the news cycle moved on from Biden’s trip to Ukraine, attention is still giving attention to Greene and “national divorce” two weeks later. Greene’s first tweet on the topic came on the morning Biden announced that he was in Kyiv, Ukraine and it was mostly about her disgust at having to live in a country where gay people have rights and are increasingly viewed more as normal Americans than homophobic MAGA’s like Greene herself.
In Greene’s idea, “red states,” and I assume she’s talking about Florida and Texas but also West Virginia and Arkansas, should divorce the blue states like California and New York because they’re so “disgusted” by “woke issues” like critical race theory, antisemitism, and trans rights that they are “done” with the United States in its current form. Greene is just as put off by “America Last” foreign policy by which she apparently means U.S. support for Ukraine against her much more favored country Russia. For many on the left (and probably the right), Green’s advocacy for “national divorce” sounds like a call to secession and civil war. After all, she was so disgusted with the United States that she wanted to disaffiliate.
It was also nonsense. The primary division in the U.S. is between urban and rural areas not red and blue states. The state with the most GOP votes in the 2020 election was California rather than Texas and Houston, Austin, Birmingham, New Orleans, Tampa, and Miami are all bright blue bastions within red Republican states. Mississippi is not only a red state but it’s the Mississippi-like parts of blue Democratic states that vote Republican.
But Marge Greene has never feared to traffic in nonsense and kept going with her provocations.
well, okay, if Democrat voters choose to flee these blue states where they cannot tolerate the living conditions, they don’t want their children taught these horrible things, and they really change their mind on the types of policies that they support, well once they move to a red state, guess what, maybe you don’t get to vote for five years.
But this time, Greene was speaking more out of defensiveness than disgust. The original question from Charlie Kirk was about “how the GOP could stop liberals from “trying to invade our states or our counties.” Kirk’s idea was that the Republicans “own” red states like Florida and Idaho and red counties like Orange County in California and that “liberals” are threatening GOP/conservative property rights by moving into those places. Greene agrees that “defending” GOP dominance of red states is a priority and believes that Republicans need to act Republican states to act “so that their red states don’t get changed. Which is what’s happening, unfortunately, when Democrat voters leave their Democrat states and they take their Democrat votes with them.” Given that Greene’s state of Georgia voted for Biden and elected two Democratic senators in 2020, Greene has grounds to worry about about continued Republican dominance in traditional GOP states and her provocations about preventing recent arrivals from voting represent her concern more than they involve an effort to enact more vote restrictions.
A similar defensiveness underlay Greene’s final provocation last week where she changed tack on her national divorce theme and re-formulated it in terms of safe spaces for MAGA.
Greene speaks as a cultural and political loser who envisions red states as a space for white conservatives that is separate from the United States but still in American territory. Greene doesn’t want to live under Democratic policies but seems to worry that Democratic dominance of the federal government either is or could become permanent. She doesn’t want to be subject to “woke ideologies” on race, gender, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. Opposition to racism, the oppression of women, and bigotry toward the LGBT population and immigrants is at least the official ideology of American culture and Taylor wants to live in an American space where the traditional bigotries are safe from the moral pressure coming from minorities and their lib/left allies. Greene not only despairs of convincing Democrats of the virtues of MAGA conservativism, she also has severe doubts about the ability of conservatives to socialize their children into their values. When Greene says “we’re tired of our children being brainwashed into these same ideas,” she’s admitting that MAGA parents haven’t been nearly as convincing to their children as the internet, Disney movies, and the teachers and books they encounter in school. If red states don’t withdraw from American government and society and create an asylum of their own, Greene apparently believes that conservatism would continue to decline.
For Marjorie Taylor Greene, red state “safe spaces” are the only way to protect a MAGA/white conservative culture she perceives as under siege and failing. I imagine that what Greene has in mind is the fascist Florida being created by Ron DeSantis. But she can’t say that because Marge very much wants to be Trump’s VP running mate.