Far-Right Anti-Muslim Provocateur Wins Republican Primary in Florida District19 Aug 2020
As the Presidential election in the US heats up, Donald Trump and his Republican Party seem to be doubling down on their support for far-right candidates. The latest such candidate is Laura Loomer, an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and provocateur who was banned from Twitter, as well as the rideshare apps, Uber and Lyft. Loomer defeated five other candidates for a chance to represent the 21st District in Palm Beach, Florida.
Loomer’s victory was praised by Donald Trump whose Mar-a-Lago resort is located in the same Florida district. Other far-right conspiracy peddlers such as Alex Jones have also praised Loomer. Is this yet another sign of the far-right’s growing influence in the Republican Party?
Loomer has a history of conspiracy peddling and anti-Muslim comments
A name well-known among far-right pundits, activists and provocateurs, Laura Loomer is no stranger to controversy.
In 2018, Loomer accused the students who survived a deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School of being puppets for speaking out against violence, claiming that the impassioned pleas of the students who watched their friends be murdered was from a script they were being fed.
Loomer also chimed in on other mass shootings, falsely claiming that a deadly shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 was ISIS-linked, accusing the FBI of covering this on behalf of Muslims.
Indeed, Muslims have been Loomer’s favoured targets. Following the killing of eight people by an ISIS-affiliated man in New York in 2017, Loomer took photos of women in hijabs around the city, claiming that “Muslims are out in full force at the scene of the NYC ISIS attack today rubbing it in everyone’s face. Aimlessly walking around in hijabs.”
Also in 2017, Loomer was banned from the rideshare apps Uber and Lyft after she called for a “non-Islamic form of Uber or Lyft” because she did not want to support another Islamic immigrant driver. She claimed that she was late for a meeting because she couldn’t find a driver that was not Muslim.
Among Loomer’s favourite targets has been the Muslim Democratic Party representative, Ilhan Omar. After frequent attacks against Omar, Loomer’s Twitter account was finally banned following baseless claims that Omar was anti-Jewish and pro-Sharia law. Her ban was followed by a bizarre stunt where she cuffed herself to the front of Twitter’s New York City headquarters.
Loomer’s Florida win shows an increasingly Far-Right Republican Party
Despite losing out on platforms such as Twitter, Loomer was able to run a campaign in Flordia’s 21st District against other, more mainstream Republican Party candidates. Her bid for Congress was supported by major Trump allies such as Roger Strone, who recently received a presidential pardon, and fellow far-right conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, raising $1.1 million.
Among those that voted her was Trump himself. The President, who claimed that postal votes are fraudulent, cast his vote by mail after changing his official residence from New York to Palm Beach last year.
The amount she raised was far more than the other four Republican candidates, highlighting how the Republican Party is struggling to deal with the growing far-right menace within the party. It appears that the Republican Party under Trump is in fact inviting the far-right!
Indeed, Loomer, who won the Republican race, was congratulated by Trump via his Twitter account.
However, despite her win, Loomer did not receive an overwhelming majority, getting 42% of the vote. She is now due to face Democrat candidate, Lois Frankel, who won 87% of the vote against other Democratic candidates.
Indeed, the seat is known to be a safe Democratic seat, making it unlikely that Loomer will represent the District, effectively making this a publicity stunt.
However, the development still highlights how mainstream far-right provocateurs and conspiracy theorists have become in the increasingly-polarised US politics.
This puts the mainstream Republican Party in trouble. It would seem that after years of abetting and enabling the far-right and turning a blind eye to its dog-whistles, it has completely lost control of what was once a fringe faction. Or is this part of Trump’s plan?