How Rep. George Santos uses the MAGA playbook to survive amid lies and scandals
Agent George Santos has a plan to survive, and it’s straight out of the MAGA playbook.
Mocked by late-night comedians and mostly shunned by his own party leaders, the controversial Long Island Republican has found a political home in the far-right wing of the Republican Party.
Santos, who admits to lying about much of his background, now says he is the victim of the liberal media, Deep State prosecutors and so-called Republicans in name only – the same cast of villains former President Donald Trump and the Fox News hosts criticize. .
“The MAGA world is a safe haven for Santos, perhaps the only one he has left,” said Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University on Long Island. “This is the ultimate play for him. He has been embraced by them.”
After winning elections as the pioneering gay son of Brazilian immigrants, Santos has begun taking hardline positions on guns, such as honoring the deadly AR-15 assault weapon used in most mass shootings as the “national weapon.” from United States.
He also sides with MAGA colleagues like Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in banning LGBTQ-themed books and opposing drag shows, even though he’s been photographed dressing as a woman in Maga’s homeland. his parents, Brazil.
The end game for Santos may not be winning re-election to the suburban seat filled with moderate swing voters that he won last year in a major upset. The NY-03 district includes most of northern Nassau County and a portion of eastern Queens.
“It doesn’t make any electoral sense given the district it’s in,” said Jacob Rubashkin, a reporter and analyst for internal electionsa nonpartisan group that lists the seat as a draw in 2024. “This is suburban Long Island, not Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert country.”
You can aim to become a martyr for the MAGA cause to help launch a lasting career as a talking head, or at least help keep you out of prison.
“He is effectively giving up the seat by going so far to the right,” said Doug Muzzio, a professor of public policy at CUNY’s Baruch College, coincidentally one of the schools Santos falsely claimed to have attended as a star volleyball athlete. “But he stays in the MAGA cocoon, which may be the point.”
Santos was a virtual unknown when he burst onto the national political scene last year for the wrong reasons.
He was hit by reports that he lied about his education and work experience. He falsely claimed Jewish heritage and that his grandparents fled the Holocaust.
Santos has even been accused of running off with $3,000 in donations intended for a homeless veteran’s dying dog.
Federal and state prosecutors are investigating a number of possible crimes, including recent reports that he brokered a shady sale of a $19 million megayacht from one Republican donor to another. An ex-convict roommate accuses Santos of running a credit card theft scam.
The House ethics committee has launched its own investigation into campaign finance discrepancies.
The seemingly endless string of scandals has made Santos political poison, especially to his fellow Republicans.
Republican lawmakers in the New York delegation have been quick to put as much distance as possible between themselves and Santos. Several have asked him to resign.
“There are a lot of rational Republicans on Long Island,” said Bob Liff, a Democratic campaign strategist.
Santos isn’t getting much love from voters either. Nearly 80% of those polled in his NY-03 district want him to resign, including most Republicans.
The biggest fear among the Republican Party is that it will refuse to go quietly and single-handedly drag them into the upcoming 2024 election.
“Long Island Republicans see it as an existential threat,” Levy said. “They are terrified of paying the political price for him. They will go to the ends of the Earth, or the Island, if you will, to get rid of him.”
That may not happen.
Santos defiantly refuses to resign and recently filed legal papers to run for re-election.
Despite all the baggage, he could certainly make life difficult for the GOP if he runs in the primary next year, especially if Trump runs as a MAGA standard bearer.
Democrats, on the other hand, want Santos to stay as long as possible.
A liberal group recently unveiled plans for a $45 million campaign to win back the seats of the six new Republican congressmen from New York who won the election in a remarkable midterm victory in the Empire State.
The poster child? Jorge Santos.