Election 2024

Louis Gohmert is leaving Congress. His replacement won’t be any better

Louie Gohmert
Photo: KETK/screenshot

With the help of the mainstream media, the Republican party leadership would like you to believe that it is wrenching control of the party away from the fringiest candidates in its midst. “Some far-right members are being replaced by traditional conservatives,” the Washington Post declared recently. 

The article cited all of two examples–and a third still having to prevail in a runoff. One of the two examples was Chuck Edwards, the establishment-backed candidate who defeated Madison Cawthorn. You could just as easily argue that Cawthorn defeated himself through a series of self-inflicted scandals.

Related: Marjorie Taylor Greene says Uvalde shooter was into “cross-dressing”

The bigger issue is what now constitutes a “traditional conservative.” The fact is in the wake of Trump the media is now accepting what was once radical as the middle of the road.

Take the case of the non-Cawthorn example the article cites. Nathaniel Moran is a county judge in the Congressional district that includes Tyler, Texas. The district went for Trump by a margin of 44 percentage points in 2020.

As the newly minted Republican nominee, Moran is all but a shoo-in to win the election in November. He will be replacing Rep. Louis Gohmert (R), one of the most outspoken and outrageous members of the far-right in the House. Gohmert, who was criticized for encouraging violence leading up to the January 6 insurrection, gave up his seat in a failed bid for state attorney general. 

Gohmert had a well-earned reputation as a flamethrower and as one of the most anti-LGBTQ members of Congress. He “accidentally” donated to a pastor who praised the massacre at the Pulse nightclub. He linked gay rights to Nazism, bestiality, and pedophilia.

By contrast, Moran comes across as much more normal. “I’m a person that loves to be part of a team,” he told the Post. 

But Moran is an evangelical Christian who said that “pushing back against cultural Marxism” was one of his focus areas. The son of a Bible college founder, Moran says he learned about politics from Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and Rush Limbaugh.

“(The kids) need the government to get out of the way. They need liberty to overcome tyranny and morality to stand in the face of shifting cultural norms,” Moran said.

Exactly how that will translate into votes in Congress isn’t too hard to guess. Moran’s record will likely be indistinguishable from Gohmert’s.

The main difference is that Moran won’t be a loose cannon like Gohmert or Cawthorn who causes the leadership grief. He’ll respectfully go along with the party, as you might expect from a former county judge.

The problem is that the party isn’t anything like a traditionally conservative party, and it’s a disservice to pretend otherwise. A traditional conservative party doesn’t undermine election results just because it loses. It doesn’t refuse to discipline its own members who engage in a coup. It doesn’t turn on its members who stand up for the Constitution.

Instead, we are meant to believe that lower taxes, smaller government, and looser regulation are what the GOP is about. The party is so far removed from those days that it has abandoned any pretense of legislating.

Instead, all the GOP cares about are social issues, like LGBTQ rights, abortion, and racism, all of which it sees as a threat that needs to be confronted head-on.

The media like to spend endless hours parsing how much influence Donald Trump still has in the party. Certainly, he has a mixed track record in terms of his endorsements. But Trump himself is beside the point. The forces he unleashed now control the Republican party.

The “traditional conservative” of today is the far-right radical of yesterday. Just because the new crop of candidates isn’t as outlandish as Louis Gohmert doesn’t mean they aren’t every bit as dangerous.

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