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The violent extremism of Paul Gosar is the GOP’s blueprint for the future

Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the censure of the Arizona lawmaker. That’s because he's a model for how the party wants to govern.  


There was never any doubt that an overwhelming majority of Republicans were going to stand by Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, the white nationalist-supporting lawmaker who was censured by the House this week over a video he shared that showed a cartoon version of himself killing Democrats

Ultimately, only two Republicans voted to punish Gosar for posting the video attacking President Joe Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. The widespread conservative support for his actions isn’t just about Republicans picking sides out of party loyalty — it was about stating what conservatives stand for: unchecked violence, racism and sexism. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., made that abundantly clear Thursday when he said he’d give his party's two censured representatives, Gosar and Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, committee assignments if Republicans win back the House next year. 

“They’ll have committees,” McCarthy said at a news conference in the U.S. Capitol. “They may have other committee assignments. They may have better committee assignments.”

Photo Illustration: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in front of a fractured map of Arizona
Justine Goode / MSNBC; Getty Images

Conservative-led legislatures across the country are in the process of gerrymandering districts to create deep-red districts much like Gosar’s in Arizona. That’s likely going to spur a wave of lawmakers just like him, who are similarly insulated from voter backlash and, therefore, empowered to engage in extremism like targeting colleagues with threatening social media posts — and worse. Gosar isn’t a deviation from modern conservatism. He’s the blueprint. 

I made a similar point yesterday on Twitter, when I noted Gosar’s district — Arizona’s 4th — bearing a more-than-slight resemblance to the original “Gerry-mander,” first drawn in 1812. Arizona’s redistricting commission, which is technically nonpartisan, drew Gosar’s district in a way that included some of the most racially oppressive areas in Arizona, including Kingman and Prescott, where Gosar is from.

If you’re not familiar with Kingman, it’s where Sacha Baron Cohen filmed a hidden camera show in which he tricked residents into thinking a mosque would be built in their town. That didn’t go well

A newly proposed district map in Arizona will seemingly make Gosar’s path to victory a little more difficult, but the GOP is actively pushing for lopsided, gerrymandered districts that favor Republicans all across the country. It’s been projected that they can secure the House majority in 2022 through gerrymandering alone

That, of course, is the Republican Party’s aim: maximal power and minimal accountability. They fell in line to support Gosar’s expression of violence because it represents the type of unchecked power they want for the rest of their members.

They might get it. 

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Head over to The ReidOut Blog for more.