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    Several far right Republicans running in the Idaho primary have ties to extremism : NPR

    Idaho's Republican primary is seen as a national test for how far to the right the GOP can be pulled, as several candidates tied to extremist groups are running for governor and the legislature.

    Politics

    Several far right Republicans running in the Idaho primary have ties to extremism

    May 17, 20224:16 PM ET

    Heard on All Things Considered

    KIRK SIEGLER Twitter 3-Minute Listen

    Idaho's Republican primary is seen as a national test for how far to the right the GOP can be pulled, as several candidates tied to extremist groups are running for governor and the legislature.

    MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

    To Idaho now, where Republican Governor Brad Little is facing a primary challenge today. Janice McGeachin is the state's lieutenant governor. She is one of several Republicans in Idaho primaries with ties to extremist militia groups. She recently spoke at a white nationalist conference. And she has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. NPR's Kirk Siegler is based in Boise, the capital. He joins us now. Hey there, Kirk.

    KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

    KELLY: All right. Set the stage a little more. Why is this primary getting so much attention?

    SIEGLER: Well, Republicans hold a supermajority here at this Capitol where I'm standing. Especially since the pandemic, there has been a rise in extremism within the GOP. You know, Mary Louise, this is Idaho. There's a long history of extremism. You can think back to the Ruby Ridge standoff 30 years ago. The Aryan Nations was headquartered in the Idaho Panhandle. But lately, we're seeing extremism really enter the mainstream of Republican politics, just like we are across the country. There's even a faction here basically calling for armed rebellion.

    You know, in most other states, Governor Brad Little would be a hardline, hard-right Republican. He just signed a Texas-style abortion ban. But as you say, Donald Trump endorsed Janice McGeachin. It's widely thought that Little will still secure the nomination. But these are unpredictable times. As we know, Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. It's hard to know how all the newcomers will vote. There has been a lot of white flight coming from California up here lately, especially since the pandemic.

    KELLY: Huh. I want to hear more about Janice McGeachin. How did she become so prominent?

    SIEGLER: Well, let's first point out that the lieutenant governor here is an independently elected office. So she's not aligned with Governor Little. McGeachin really started sparring with him during the COVID lockdowns that were very brief here in Idaho. One time when he left the state and she was acting governor, she even signed an executive order banning all mask mandates in cities and schools. You may recall she also tried to call the National Guard down to the U.S.-Mexico border. This is Idaho. We're bordering Canada.

    KELLY: Yeah.

    SIEGLER: And when Governor Little returned home, he rescinded all the things she did and suggested it was tyrannical.

    KELLY: Well, and is it working with voters? Any - can we measure whether it's helping her in this race?

    SIEGLER: We don't really have a great idea. And that's why we're watching this primary so closely. We do know that Trump easily carried Idaho with one of his biggest wins in the nation, about 64% of the vote here. When you drive into the suburbs and the rural areas, you see Trump 2024 signs everywhere. And McGeachin is definitely going for his playbook. You know, she defended her appearance at the white nationalist America First PAC conference back in March. And she also doubled down after this promotional video went viral recently. We're going to hear from it now, where it looks as though she seems to be promoting violence.

    (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

    JANICE MCGEACHIN: God calls us to pick up the sword and fight. And Christ will reign in the state of Idaho.

    SIEGLER: So, Mary Louise, I'd say the Idaho primary is definitely going to be a national test for how far to the right the GOP can be pulled. You know, just the other day, the far-right extremist Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, was here on McGeachin's behalf. Rogers has been peddling a fake conspiracy that the U.S. government orchestrated the Buffalo mass shooting over the weekend.

    KELLY: And just real quick, just to keep things interesting, Ammon Bundy is also in the race.

    SIEGLER: That's right, although he recently switched his affiliation from Republican to independent. So he's not in the primary. But he called the Republican Party corrupt and wicked. And you may recall he was wheeled out of this building here, the Idaho Capitol, in handcuffs after trespassing charges during the pandemic.

    KELLY: All right. Lots to keep you busy there in Boise. NPR's Kirk Siegler, thank you.

    SIEGLER: You're welcome.

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    Living With The Far

    A radical GOP faction, in open alliance with extremists, is seizing power and targeting its opponents with cruelty. Some wonder: Is it time to leave?

    HuffPost

    Living With The Far-Right Insurgency In Idaho

    Christopher Mathias

    Tue, May 17, 2022, 12:45 p.m.·41 min read

    Jennifer Ellis, photographed in her home on April 3, 2022, created Take Back Idaho to push back against the right-wing, extremist views and tactics that have dominated the state's politics. (Photo: Kim Raff for HuffPost)

    Jennifer Ellis, photographed in her home on April 3, 2022, created Take Back Idaho to push back against the right-wing, extremist views and tactics that have dominated the state's politics. (Photo: Kim Raff for HuffPost)

    IDAHO — White nationalist Vincent James Foxx had a new video for his nearly 70,000 subscribers on BitChute, one of the few tech platforms that hasn’t banned him. On Feb. 16, he appeared wearing a baseball hat emblazoned with the state’s outline tilted on its side so that it resembled a pistol.

    “We are going to take over this state,” Foxx declared. “We have a great large group of people, and that group is growing. A true, actual right-wing takeover is happening right now in the state of Idaho. And there’s nothing that these people can do about it. So if you’re a legislator here, either get in line, or get out of the way.”

    Foxx, 36, isn’t from Idaho. He only recently moved from California to Post Falls. But in the video, he showed off photos of himself posing with a string of prominent Republican politicians in the state as he explained who he’s supporting in the upcoming primaries, slated for May 17.

    He was especially excited about a selfie he’d taken a week prior: It showed him and fellow white nationalist Dave Reilly, a recent Pennsylvania transplant also living in Post Falls, standing alongside Idaho’s lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin. All three were smiling.

    “We’re supporting her,” Foxx said, bragging of his movement’s “deep connections” to McGeachin, whom former President Donald Trump endorsed in the GOP primary race for governor. Foxx then explained how his particular brand of Christian white nationalism is poised to conquer Idaho, then the country.

    “The solution is local politics: Amassing power in these pockets of the country until it’s time to unify,” he said. “I’ve only been here for a couple of months and I’m tapped in the way that I am. You can do it too.”

    Fascists like Foxx are famous fabulists, experts at exaggerating their influence and success. But Foxx wasn’t just talking shit.

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    ‘Republican and more Republican’: Idaho shifts ever rightward

    In a state where legislators can boast of membership in the Oath Keepers, the fringe has become mainstream

    The far right

    ‘Republican and more Republican’: Idaho shifts ever rightward

    In a state where legislators can boast of membership in the Oath Keepers, the fringe has become mainstream

    David Smith in Boise, Idaho

    @smithinamerica

    Wed 11 May 2022 07.00 BST

    A

    peregrine falcon swoops over grazing cows. A giant Stars and Stripes is painted on wood with “Bundy for governor” and “No trespassing” attached. Up a gravel drive, past an upturned wheelbarrow, is a red, white and blue Bundy campaign bus and a sign that declares: “Keep Idaho Idaho.”

    Ammon Bundy’s compound is situated under rolling green hills and a broad Idaho sky. From his five-bedroom farmhouse, the far-right activist gazes out at his 240 apple trees along with cherry, peach and pear trees. He points to the homes of two neighbors, both military men – and both flying the American flag upside down.

    “It’s a sign of distress,” Bundy says. “I’m not influencing them in any way but, if there is going to be some type of civil war, I think it will be the military fracturing. I hope not. I believe more in a separation, if it was needed.”

    The bearded 46-year-old, notorious for armed standoffs with law enforcement that landed him in prison, has no chance of becoming governor of Idaho. But the mere fact that, during a year in solitary confinement, he wrote in his journal about a plan to run for elected office is indicative of a change in the political wind here.

    Idaho has long been one of the most conservative states in America with its fair share of extremism. Now, critics warn, the extremists are being normalised. Once dismissed as backwoods fanatics, the far right have entered the political arena and identified a path to power.

    That path leads through a state Republican party that has long exploited tensions between independent-spirited Idahoans and the federal government, which manages two-thirds of the state’s land, and more recently embraced former president Donald Trump’s culture of grievance.

    Trump beat Joe Biden with 64% of the vote here in the 2020 election. Democrats have not held the governor’s office since 1995 or statewide elected office since 2007. Most elections for the state legislature do not even feature a Democratic candidate.

    Chuck Malloy, a columnist and former communications adviser to the House Republican caucus, said: “Sure, we have a two-party system: it’s Republican and more Republican. Idaho is shifting more to the right every day.”

    In the Republican primary election for governor on 17 May, incumbent Brad Little, a stalwart conservative by national standards, is portrayed as a Republican in Name Only (Rino) by his even more extreme challenger, Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin (Bundy dropped out of the Republican race and is running as an independent).

    McGeachin has sought to grab attention by issuing executive orders banning coronavirus mask and vaccine mandates when Little was out of state only to see them overturned on his return. But the political grandstanding appears to have backfired. Opinion polls suggest that McGeachin is heading for defeat.

    Janice McGeachin banned mask and vaccine mandates while the governor was out of town.

    Photograph: Keith Ridler/AP

    Little, who can boast of a record $1.9bn budget surplus, could not be described as much of a liberal saviour, however. He made a pilgrimage to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida only for the former president to endorse McGeachin four days later. As the state party’s centre of gravity shifts right, he is shifting with it.

    The governor recently signed one of the most extreme abortion laws in the country, banning the procedure after a foetal heartbeat is detected and allowing family members of rapists to sue providers. He also signed a bill banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports.

    Malloy observed: “Little can’t come across as looking pro-abortion in any way, shape or form so he signs this bill and makes the comments, well, I think it’s unconstitutional, but I’ll sign it anyway. He doesn’t want to go into a Republican primary election by being soft on the abortion issue or guns. He’s been picking his fights.”

    He added: “Democrats can’t be crazy about Brad Little. But to at least some people it’s a matter of do I vote for sane or insane?”

    Lauren Necochea, chair of the state Democratic party and a state representative, confirmed that she is unimpressed by the governor. She said: “The difference between Little and McGeachin is really more style than substance. She personifies the far-right extremism while he panders to it.”

    Although Little is likely to retain the governor’s mansion, elections for other offices of state are more competitive between the hard right and harder right. Priscilla Giddings, a McGeachin ally, is running for lieutenant governor, while Dorothy Moon, a member of the far-right John Birch Society, is a contender for secretary of state.

    Source : www.theguardian.com

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