How the GOP Establishment Created Its Lin Wood Problem

Attorney L. Lin Wood has become the bane of the Republican Party in recent weeks, with widespread anger erupting against the lawyer over the weekend for spreading conspiracy theories and posting unhinged rants on social media.

Wood certainly deserves much of the criticism he is receiving. Wood, a legendary defamation attorney who cleared Richard Jewell’s name and secured a sizeable settlement for Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann, has gone full QAnon since the vote steal in November. He has made remarks suggesting Vice President Mike Pence may be facing treason charges and possible execution and that Chief Justice John Roberts was a close collaborator with Democrat child-rapist Jeffrey Epstein.

Some have suggested that Wood is a Democratic plant, while others contend that he is insane and a fraud. I have nothing to say about Wood’s mental state or his motives—I’m not a mind reader. I will say simply that he is far from a lone nut. He is a release valve for a growing movement of people who are angry, disaffected, looking for answers, and becoming increasingly convinced that there is a dark, all-powerful conspiracy working in the shadows to destroy their rights.

But is that really crazy? In many ways, particularly given how the Republican Party establishment has behaved since the election, they have a point.

Republican Party officials in battleground states have emerged as the enforcer class for the vote steal. Georgia has become the standard bearer in this regard, with Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger dropping the ball in ways that seem to go beyond mere incompetence. Raffensperger is now reveling in an audio leak of a private conversation that between Trump and himself that was heavily edited by the Washington Post. He is now an open collaborator with the enemy, working to thwart Republican victory by publicly attacking GOP Senate candidates.

Kemp and Raffensperger are not outliers. There have been Republican public officials in other battleground states who seem to be celebrating the most heinous political crime in U.S. history.

In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey made it a point to certify the state’s vote count as hearings were being conducted simultaneously featuring whistleblowers offering crucial first-hand testimony of abnormalities that put the vote into question. The long-time McCain crony even ignored a phone call from President Trump, demonstrating his contempt. Then, to emphasize his deliberate slap in the face of his constituents, Ducey made it worse by hamming it up with the NeverTrump Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and issued a lengthy public statement claiming this career left-wing activist never could have possibly allowed fraud to persist in his state.

It’s the same story in Michigan. From tens of thousands of ballots appearing in the dead of night to alleged Dominion software “glitches” switching votes from Trump to Biden, the fraud in the Great Lakes State has been swept under the rug by GOP leaders. Republican State House Speaker Lee Chatfield repeatedly has stated that the legislature will do nothing to overturn the fraud, even working to deny legislators from entering the Capitol to deliver a slate of pro-Trump electors. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey cleared Dominion voting systems of any wrongdoing shortly after a forensic report indicated major systemic concerns with the software similar to ones outlined in a pre-election letter written by Senate Democrats. And it was a top GOP attorney who cast the deciding vote to certify the electoral results in the state.

With this level of treachery and betrayal coming from the GOP establishment, it should come as no surprise that crackpots like Wood are gaining traction.

We are living through the total institutional collapse of the West at this very moment. People are scared, they’re desperately looking for answers, and they know for certain that they cannot get them from the mainstream institutions that have failed them so miserably. This horrifying Orwellian milieu is empowering nutjobs, grifters, con artists, weirdos, freaks, and creeps to co-opt large followings on social media and elsewhere. To play devil’s advocate, could they really do worse than the special interests behind the Republican establishment right now?

The situation will only worsen if Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue lose their races. The establishment will not only blame the likes of Lin Wood, but also President Donald Trump for supposedly enabling the crackpots with his relentless push for electoral integrity. It will be argued that, “If only President Trump had rolled over to the vote steal like we said he should, then we would have two more GOP senators in Washington D.C.”

Meanwhile, the fringe elements will flex their muscle and demonstrate the results as proof of their rise and the decline of the RINOs.

A brutal Republican intramural civil war looks to be inevitable at this point. Those of us in the middle have a duty to pull well-intentioned patriots out of mind-bending conspiracy rabbit holes and toward productive action. The theories espoused by Lin Wood are harmful to the movement and the broader national discourse but are inevitably going to appeal to large segments of the voting population until the entrenched Republican establishment is broken and defeated for good. 

Only the emergence of the Republican Party as a fully populist, America First entity can keep the wackiness at bay. Pointing the finger at someone like Lin Wood is a cop-out. It is the GOP establishment that created the underlying circumstances allowing a figure like Wood to rise to prominence. They should be the primary focus of scorn and anguish moving forward.

About Gavin Wax

Gavin Wax is the 74th president of the New York Young Republican Club, chairman of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, digital director of the Young Republican National Federation, an ambassador for Turning Point USA, and an associate fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Photo: Apu Gomes/Getty Images

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