HuffPost has a bit of a scoop with the revelation that Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, the politician who state Republicans sent to Congress in 2017 despite him physically attacking a reporter on the campaign trail and who Republicans then picked for the governorship in 2020, quietly appointed a far-far-right racist conspiracy crank to the board of the state’s National Endowment for the Humanities affiliate.
Gianforte tucked Jeremy Carl onto the board of Humanities Montana last November, but there is not the slightest question about Carl being a far-right extremist. HuffPost has a laundry list of examples to prove that. Carl has devoted no small amount of words to claims that America is racist against white people.
"White Americans need not apologize for our desire not to be replaced," Carl wrote in an essay for the fascism-promoting Claremont Institute premised on the neo-Nazi "great replacement" conspiracy theory, which declares international elites to be behind a secret plot to "replace" white Americans with nonwhite immigrants. Fox News had to scramble to edit an op-ed Carl had written after Media Matters pointed out that he had included a link to an openly white supremacist website. Carl has denounced the Black Lives Matter movement as "racist," promoted 2020 election conspiracy theories, and written that the very existence of transgender Americans was "somewhere between demonic and laughable."
The man is a top-tier purveyor of hate speech, no less than a senior fellow at the now rabidly anti-democracy Claremont Institute, and is on the board of the state nonprofit that, quote, "serves Montana's multicultural communities through stories and conversation."
There is no damn way Gianforte did not mean to put a vitriolic self-declared enemy of "multiculturalism" on that board. It's just another of the uncountably many schemes Gianforte and Republicanism's other far-right (if not reporter-punching) state officials have used to sabotage whatever bits of government they can lay hands on.
And really now, is there anyone among Montana Republicans who's going to claim that they didn't think the Republican they backed, even after he was forced by court order to take anger management classes, would not stoop so low as to put a fascism-minded screecher about "racism against white people" in charge of a nonprofit tasked with "multiculturalism?" The Republican base knew what he was from Day One. They want violence and racism. That's the brand.
Montana Republicans banned Democratic state Rep. Zooey Zephyr from the House floor for her opposition to a far-right anti-trans bill that eventually made it to Gianforte's desk in April, a new law banning hormone treatment and puberty blockers that's already facing lawsuits from parents of transgender children who probably correctly call the law unconstitutional while Gianforte appoints a man who calls transgender Americans "demonic" to a humanities board. Does Gianforte, who himself has a nonbinary child, have to spell out how extraordinarily hateful he himself is, or is it plain at this point?
Gianforte is far from alone in his efforts to sabotage government for the sake of angry and gullible far-right rubes. In Idaho, Idaho County faces multiple crises at the hands of anti-government extremists. The libertarian-premised lack of building codes is increasingly pressuring county first responders as the local population grows. County residents may be happy to be "individualist thinkers" who don't need government on their backs, but they tend to regret that individualism the moment they need firefighters at their house.
Don't bet on the situation in Idaho County getting any better, either. County appraisers are "facing increasing risks" from residents who are "noncooperative and will not allow appraisers on their property," reports the Lewiston Tribune in a separate story. That means less tax money, and that means fewer first responders to go around.
None of that can quite compare to the truly bizarre situation in Woodland Park, Colorado. That’s where yet another arch-conservative school board has seized control and implemented changes that range from toxic to positively batshit, handing over a chunk of the county's middle school to a charter school company without public notice and installing a new superintendent who as one of his early acts mocked teacher requests to reapply for the huge grants needed to keep school counselors and social workers on the payroll. The board also approved an enormously sketchy and far-right social studies curriculum called "American Birthright," which emphasizes patriotism, rejects federal government authority over education, and explicitly discourages civic engagement.
“It is terribly important to be a disengaged citizen, and indeed, a disengaged student,” said David Randall, research director at the National Association of Scholars, a conservative organization that created the standards last year.
Randall said American Birthright was modeled off state standards in Massachusetts and Florida. The group received input from dozens of right-wing groups and activists, including the Claremont Institute, the Family Research Council and Moms for Liberty.
Oh, the Claremont Institute again. Funny how that name keeps coming up every time a new conservative movement forms to explain that Actually, democratic involvement by citizens is a very bad thing.
So there you go: Montana's known-violent Republican governor isn't alone in his efforts to put the fascist and paranoid far-right in charge of anything Republicans can lay their hands on. The party's a mess of extremism from top to bottom, and so far Republican voters are fine with it. Of course they are–they were fine with a violent attempted coup. To the most devoted portion of the party's base, the whole point of post-Trump Republicanism, is to ransack government while stripping away the existing American social fabric in order to "punish" enemies who, as often as not, tend to be children. None of these people have any shame left.
Montana Gov. Gianforte’s son comes out publicly, details discussion with dad about anti-trans bills
Montana legislature sued after censuring trans lawmaker
It’s 2023, which may be an odd year, but that just means Virginia takes its traditional place as one of the key states to watch. With odd-year state elections, Virginia has often been a key bellwether for the rest of the country, and this year is no different. Both the state Senate and the General Assembly are up, and both chambers could be won by either party. Daily Kos Elections Editor Jeff Singer joins us to preview the key races in both the June primary and the fall general election.