Marge Greene and Asylum for White Conservatives

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.

Fox News

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.

Hating Most of America, Marjorie Taylor Greene Wants a Divorce

Living In Phoenix, AZ: 15 Things To Know
Phoenix, AZ Skyline,

Right-wing celebrity and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently made a newsworthy contribution to the persistent discussion over white conservative secession from the United States. Secession themes emerged in conservative discourse first with the re-election of Barack Obama in 2012 and then once again with the civil war chatter that followed the inauguration of Joe Biden after the Jan. 6 insurrection. Even when they’re in charge, white conservatives can barely stand living in multicultural, socially liberal and heavily urbanized America, and secession talk starts as soon as the Democrats get control of the government.

With Greene, it’s worth remembering her background as a sleaze sleeping with the guys at the Alpharetta gym where she worked, supporting the execution of Nancy Pelosi, and Parkland High survivors. All of which is consistent with her white evangelical faith. If Greene had come from billionaire money, she’s depraved enough that she could have been another Donald Trump or Ghislaine Maxwell. As it was, Greene had to work her way up to local celebrity and election to Congress from the lower reaches of the internet.

In this case, Greene takes an argument about limiting the voting rights of Northern snowbirds and California climate refugees to promote a “National Divorce Scenario” as a base framework for discussing the issue. There’s a bit of rhetorical cleverness in simply assuming that the break-up of the United States is a completely normal topic of discussion and that limiting the voting rights of those who move across political lines can be reasonably framed in those terms. Marjorie Taylor Greene isn’t stupid and, as Eric Swalwell stresses, “she’s not kidding” about splitting up the country and denying Democrats the right to vote.

But the rhetorical riff from Greene is pathetically thin compared to the enormous weight of breaking up the United States as a nation, and Rep. Reuben Gallego of Arizona (likely to mount a primary challenge to Kyrsten Sinema in 2024) isn’t having any of it, tweeting that “[t]here is no “National Divorce” either you are for civil war or not. Just say it if you want a civil war and officially declare yourself a traitor.” Like many white conservatives, Greene throws the term “traitor” around a lot as an insult, most recently calling out the 13 GOP reps who voted for the Infrastructure Bill as “traitors.” In the Constitution, treason is defined in terms of “levying war” against the United States “or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Once again, Greene’s rhetoric of treason against her version of the Republican Party is thin compared to Gallego calling out the civil war implications of “National Divorce.”

In fact, the whole idea of white conservative secession is misbegotten. Some of the main points:

  1. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas (109 electoral votes) are all purple rather than red states. As a result of Trump, all of these states tightened up with Biden winning Arizona and Georgia (both of which now have two Dem senators), North Carolina having a Democratic governor, and Obama winning Florida twice. The only one of these states where the GOP has won every time is Texas but Texas AG Ken Paxton admitted that Trump would have lost the state because “if his office had not successfully blocked counties from mailing out applications for mail-in ballots to all registered voters.”
  2. All the big purple states have rapidly growing, super-majority blue metro areas. Phoenix in AZ, Atlanta in GA, the Charlotte to Raleigh belt in NC, and the Big Four in Florida and Texas are all just as diverse and liberal as major Democratic metros like Detroit, Denver, and Milwaukee and will grow more so as a result of anti-urban GOP policies. GOP politicians and consultants may be able to stave off Democratic futures but the trend is going the other way.
  3. That’s why Greene’s whole argument is from weakness. The whole purpose of “National Divorce” from Greene’s view is withdrawing the big purple states from the country before they become Democratic Party bastions.
  4. For Greene and white conservatives more generally, there are only two ways to deal with the development of a multicultural, socially liberal, and urbanized America–either Red State secession or the establishment of some sort of authoritarian conservative control over the rest of the country.

There’s a desperation under the surface of Green postulating a “National Divorce.” The rest of the country should remain steadfast and determined but there’s no reason to think conservatives are acting from a position of strength.