Liz Peek: These two primary results from Tuesday bookmark extremism in America

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Maybe there really are two Americas. In Minneapolis, site of some of the most destructive rioting in decades, Democrats in Tuesday’s primary backed a radical anti-Semitic progressive who wants to dismantle the police. In Georgia’s 14th District, Republicans elected as their Congressional nominee Marjorie Taylor Greene, a businesswoman accused of making racist comments and criticized for supporting QAnon.

At the least, these two women showcase the extreme political fringes of our country. Given the political make-up of their respective districts, both candidates will likely win their congressional races in November.

Republicans, including President Trump, hope that voters angry about the recent rioting in liberal cities will connect the dots and hold progressive Democrats accountable. After all, defunding the police and favoring criminals — like through bail reform — will only make rising crime worse, right? And citizens prize their safety, don’t they?

Minnesota’s Democratic primary dashed such expectations. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who ranks as one of Congress’ most left-wing members, handily defeated a well-financed primary opponent who accused her of caring more about her national celebrity than about the folks back home.

The residents of Minnesota’s 5th District, which is 63% White and includes Minneapolis, apparently were unmoved by the destruction of 1,500 of their properties and $500 million in damages that resulted from recent protests. The New York Times wrote about the May riots that convulsed the city in the wake of the George Floyd murder: “Not since the 1992 unrest in Los Angeles has an American city suffered such destructive riots.”

Omar joined those who blamed the cops for the mayhem, and called to “dismantle” the Minneapolis police, which she described as “rotten to the root.” She wants instead “something beautiful to rise, and that reimagining allows us to figure out what public safety looks like for us.”

Who knows what that means; voters, incredibly, bought her vision of a city without police. Never mind that Minneapolis is one of the most dangerous cities in the country; residents have a one in twenty chance of becoming a victim of a property or violent crime. And that was before this summer.

Omar was challenged by an African American lawyer, Antone Melton-Meaux, who raised about $4 million in campaign funds, just short of his opponent’s total. Out of state donors supplied 91% of Omar’s haul and 85% of Melton-Meaux’s. The “Intersectional Feminist”, as Omar describes herself on Twitter, was the latest of the so-called “Squad,” the four freshmen women of color, to win her primary.

Melton-Meaux, also a progressive Democrat, accused Omar of missing key votes in Congress, spending too much time picking Twitter battles with Donald Trump and “even with [her] own party” and promised voters he was “dedicated to service, not celebrity.”

He also pounded her for ethics issues, most importantly charging that she funneled $1.1 million in campaign funds to her husband.

The attacks fell short, as did recurring reminders of Omar’s anti-Semitism, for which she receives a pass from the liberal media. She has made several anti-Israel remarks in the past few years, for which she has offered half-hearted apologies. She and fellow Muslim Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are the only two representatives in Congress who back the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. She attracted criticism in this race for sending out a campaign flyer listing three donors to her opponent’s campaign, all of them Jewish, in which she asks, “Can We Trust Antone Melton-Meaux’s Money?”

In the end, she won 57% to 39%. Celebrating her victory, Omar claimed to supporters who joined her in an area called Dinkytown, that she and her fellow progressives had “earned a mandate for change.” Nothing dinky about that.

In another attention-getting primary, GOP voters in Georgia selected Marjorie Taylor Greene, who with her husband runs a construction firm, over fellow conservative and pro-Trumper John Cowan, a neurosurgeon. Cowan ran on the slogan, “All of the conservative, none of the embarrassment,” depicting Greene as “crazy” because of her support of the conspiracy group QAnon.

The liberal media jumped on her embrace of QAnon, noting that the FBI has deemed the loose-knit organization a “potential” source of domestic terrorism. The New York Times has cautioned that an increasing number of QAnon advocates are running for political office, and portrays followers as believing in a “deep state of child-molesting Satanist traitors plotting against the president.”

But most acknowledge that the movement is a jumble of anti-establishment types, including some Democrats and Independents, who believe that unseen forces are trying to destabilize our government.

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In a report detailing the possible harm that can come from such conspiracy theorists, the FBI warns that “the uncovering of real conspiracies or cover-ups involving illegal, harmful, or unconstitutional activities by government officials or leading political figures” is intensifying the threat.

Like, for instance, the Obama administration unleashing our law enforcement agencies to spy on and undermine a political opponent. Or Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., lying about President Trump’s connections to Russia.  

In any event, Greene’s support of QAnon, and videos showing her making xenophobic and racist comments alienated Establishment Republicans, causing House minority whip Steve Scalise, for instance, to campaign for Mr. Cowan. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., rescinded his endorsement and the conservative Koch-backed PAC asked for their money back.

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For some of her supporters, Greene was doubtless a welcome breath of politically incorrect air in this “cancel” era. For example, she was accused of racism for saying, “Guess what? Slavery is over. Black people have equal rights.”

In her victory speech, Greene said, “The Republican establishment was against me. The D.C. swamp is against me. And the lying fake news media hates my guts. It’s a badge of honor.” Sad to say, many Americans would agree that those things are indeed a badge of honor.

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