“Laura Loomer is a former contributor to the conspiracy site Infowars and a self-described “proud Islamophobe.” She is famous for, among other things, spreading conspiracy theories about mass shootings and demanding that Uber and Lyft stop allowing Muslims to work as drivers. She has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Paypal, Venmo, and GoFundMe for violating their policies on hate speech.
On Tuesday night, she won the Republican nomination for Congress in Florida’s 21st Congressional District — the stretch of southeastern Florida where President Trump is registered to vote. And on Wednesday morning, the president voiced his support, tweeting about Loomer’s victory five separate times.
“Great going Laura,” Trump wrote in one tweet. “You have a great chance against a Pelosi puppet!”
Loomer does not, in fact, have a great chance. FL-21 has been represented by a Democrat since 2013 and is generally seen as a safe seat for the party. It would likely take a massive Republican wave election for Loomer to unseat incumbent Rep. Lois Frankel, which seems exceptionally unlikely in 2020. (The Loomer campaign did not respond to a request for comment on this story.)
But her victory is telling nonetheless. In a healthy political party, extremists who cheer the deaths of migrants and were arrested for trespassing on the California governor’s mansion while wearing a sombrero wouldn’t get more than a handful of votes. Instead, Loomer was endorsed by two sitting members of Congress — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) — and feted by the president himself.
Loomer is now part of a group of fringe Republicans winning congressional primaries in 2020, the most notable of whom is Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia-based believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory who won in a safe Republican district and is very likely heading to Congress.
This is not an isolated problem. A closer look at Loomer, in particular, reveals that the causes of this rot run deeper than Trump and are very likely to continue remaking the Republican Party after he’s gone.”