Analysts say Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) could be a turnoff to the suburban women voters Republicans need to win back.
The midterm elections are still nearly two years away, but both parties are already looking to craft their strategies. House Democrats appear to have settled on theirs for now: Tying Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and support for the QAnon conspiracy theory to vulnerable Republicans in swing districts.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — a group run by lawmakers that seeks to elect Democrats to the House — has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign ads calling out GOP lawmakers for standing with Greene and the QAnon conspiracy theory she supported.
"Washington Republicans have made their choice — they chose to cave to the murderous QAnon mob that has taken over their party," DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney said in a statement on Feb. 8, days after 199 Republicans voted to allow Greene to remain on her House committees despite her extensive record of bigoted and violent comments, including endorsing the execution of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on social media with a Facebook like.
"Washington Republicans are trying to have it both ways – refusing to hold those responsible for the attack on the Capitol accountable, offering nothing but empty words after years of hyping up lies and conspiracy theories," Maloney continued.
Tying a party to its most "extreme" elements has been tried multiple times over the past decade — to varying degrees of success.
In 2010, Republicans spent tens of millions of dollars on ads making House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a bogeyman. That year, Republicans rode a wave to win back control of the House, with a net gain of 63 seats.
In 2012, when Republicans were in a good position to win control of the Senate, Democrats successfully used now-former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) as an anvil around the neck of the GOP.
Akin — who at the time was running for a Senate seat in Missouri — infamously said that "legitimate rape" cannot lead to pregnancy. Democrats linked other GOP Senate hopefuls that year to Akin's offensive and false comment, a strategy analysts credited for helping Democrats retain their majority.
But the strategy has also failed.
In the 2018 midterms, Republicans reprised their 2010 messaging by trying to tie Democratic House hopefuls to Pelosi, as Democrats looked to win back control of the House. That effort failed, as Democrats rode a wave of backlash against Donald Trump to win back the majority.
And in 2020, Republicans tried to link Democrats to "the squad" — a group of progressive Democratic lawmakers including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — which failed to win them the House majority they sought.
Political analysts say in the 2022 elections, Greene could be a problem for the GOP, as she could be a turn-off to suburban women Republicans lost during the Trump years who the party needs to win back if they want to regain their majorities in the House and Senate.
"Marjorie Taylor Greene is a symbol of for some people — and I'm talking about suburban women with a college degree — of what has happened to the Republican Party," Stu Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political handicapper, said in an interview.
Rothenberg added, "If Democrats can continue to hammer away at Marjorie Taylor Greene — portray her as the symbol of the Republican Party — ... then yeah, I think they have a much better shot of using her as a wedge than Republicans had in 2018 or 2020 using either [Ocasio-Cortez] or Nancy Pelosi."
However, the 2022 midterms are still a long way away.
Traditionally, the president's party loses seats in the first midterm election they're in office.
Rothenberg said if the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging, or if the economy is slow to recover, voters could try to punish President Joe Biden by voting against Democrats in the midterms — and the Greene messaging wouldn't work.
"It depends on how Biden is doing," Rothenberg said. "If the president seems to be performing up to or beyond people's expectations ... then it could be a dangerous time for Republicans."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.