Proud Boys Recreate FL GOP As Trash Fire In Their Own Image
The Republicans used to have a racism problem. Now they just have racism.
Oh, sure, the party of the Southern Strategy was always racist AF. But for a minute there they were at least pretending to think that open bigotry was not their central operating principal. But thanks to Donald Trump, they're done with that now. The dog whistles are now just whistles, and the Great Replacement Theory is openly discussed in primetime every night of the week.
And right on time, the New York Times has a piece out today on the coming takeover of the Miami-Dade Republican Party by literal Proud Boys. Because of course the next step in the devolution of the GOP is being colonized by a band of fascist thugs.
The article describes a simmering conflict between the old-guard of country club Gippers and the Proud Boys, who heeded Steve Bannon's call to put their heads down and work locally after multiple members of the group, including its leader Enrique Tarrio, were arrested for their roles in the January 6, 2021, Capitol Riot.
“The plan of attack if you want to make change is to get involved at the local level,” North Carolina Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino, told the Times last year.
The normie Republicans knew something was up when party galas started to take on the atmosphere of a '90s-era episode of Jerry Springer:
It began when a woman who had a restraining order against Mr. Barcenas showed up at the dinner. Also present was the woman’s ex-boyfriend, Nowell Salgueiro, another committeeman, who had a restraining order against her.
Security escorted the woman and her husband out. But a friend of the woman’s and the friend’s husband remained.
Later that evening, the friend’s husband scrapped with Mr. Barcenas and Mr. Salgueiro. The friend said in court filings and in an interview that when she went outside to pay the valet she was also confronted by Mr. Salgueiro, whom she identified as a Proud Boy. He declined to comment.
Can paternity tests be far behind?
But now the Proud Boys' brawling has "deepened existing divisions and injected an unusual degree of aggression into routine dealings," as the Times described it.
“The meetings are a bunch of fights, people screaming,” longtime party member Liliana Ros, age 79, said. “The nice people — the decent people, the people that are real Republicans — are leaving.”
Or as Proud Boy Chris Barcenas, a Republican committeeman, put it, “Instead of sitting on the sidelines complaining about RINOs or whatever, I realized that in order to make changes, I had to be involved and be part of the process.”
Gabriel Garcia, a 37-year-old Proud Boy facing charges for his role in the Capitol Riot, traces the party's transformation directly to Trump's influence. “I know a lot of people on the committee way before me were supporting people like Jeb,” the failed state legislative candidate told the Times. “But when Trump won, pretty much everyone started falling in line.”
And the problem for the GOP writ large is that they don't even acknowledge that it's a problem that violent nationalists have parasitized their party.
“Yes, we have fringe elements,” René García, the chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Committee, told reporters. “Yes, we have different points of view in our party. That’s how we are. And my job as Republican chairman is to protect everyone’s First Amendment right, however wrong they may be.”
Which is a fun way to pretend that the story here is evil libs doing cancel cultures to the free speech rights of the poor, fascist thugs, rather than the reality that those thugs have taken over the Republican Party and there's nothing the old guard can do to stop it.
We live in dangerous, dangerous times.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.