Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, August 13, 2021
Another figure associated with America’s ludicrously corrupt political system has been charged with child sex crimes. In case you’re keeping score at home, that makes two such cretins making headlines in the news this week.
Minnesota Republican “strategist” Anton “Tony” Lazzaro was arrested by the FBI on Aug. 12 on charges of “conspiring with others to recruit and solicit the minors to engage in commercial sex acts,” The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Lazzaro’s arrest comes two days after Arizona Democrat state senator Tony Navarrete resigned his seat after being charged with child sexual abuse.
One could write a lengthy treatise on how our truly broken system of electing people to higher office attracts such personages like moths to a flame. The lowest scum our society has to offer is perfectly suited to the role one has to play to be involved in modern elective politics.
Consider the job requirements:
Be perfectly fine with being purchased and owned, regularly deceive the people you make heartfelt promises to, have a glib, toothy-smiled jack-in-the-box personality that normal, well-adjusted humans simply do not possess, and carry around a malignant narcissism akin to serial selfie posters on social media, which comes with a constant need to have your ego massaged.
We’re not getting the best people in office for a reason, folks.
But there is another valuable lesson to be gleaned from the Lazzaro file. And that is a warning to well-meaning Americans not to fall for con games disguised as pro-conservative politics.
Lazzaro is a self-declared “Big Tent” Republican who wants to out-lib the libs and call it a “new generation” of conservatism. His Twitter account would be indistinguishable from a woke progressive’s timeline if not for the dollops of GOP talking points casually tossed into the mix:
It’s okay to be a black Republican.
It’s okay to be a Hispanic Republican.
It’s okay to be an Asian Republican.
It’s okay to be a gay Republican.
Don’t let the radical left stop you from being a free thinker!
— Anton (Tony) Lazzaro 🇺🇸 (@GOPtony) August 18, 2019
Dude when you talk about politics you instantly sound like a fool. Try actually learning what Republicans stand for. It's not anti-LGBT. It's free market American values.
— Anton (Tony) Lazzaro 🇺🇸 (@GOPtony) September 8, 2018
No way. It really isn't for most millenial voters. They'd say environment or LGBT rights way before Immigration.
— Anton (Tony) Lazzaro 🇺🇸 (@GOPtony) January 9, 2019
It’s important to highlight this Big Tent squishiness not to “expose” Lazzaro but to point out a scam that has gained far too much traction in Republican politics today. Accepting all the lame tropes of Democratic identity politics and claiming them as “actually” conservative is worse than pathetic and self-defeating; it opens the door to easy manipulation of the worst kind.
Unfortunately, this was borne out in the 2020 election season.
Lazzaro served as campaign manager for Lacy Johnson, a black man (exclamation point) who was running as a Republican (double exclamation point).
Even better, Johnson was challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the most despised members of Congress in America. The radical Squad agitator is the ideal target for Republican fundraising appeals. And there lies the problem.
Johnson mounted a truly hopeless campaign in a district that is dominated by leftist voters. As the Minnesota Post noted in December:
Minnesota’s Fifth is one of the most liberal districts in the U.S.: Minneapolis makes up about 60 percent of its population; the city’s closest suburbs make up the rest…. Joe Biden, who won Minnesota by a margin of 7 points, won CD5 by 62 points. A Republican hasn’t represented the district in any of its various incarnations since the 1960s.
Basic logic maintains that you don’t throw piles of money into quixotic battles. And yet…
But despite the fact that a Republican faces long odds at best in the district, Congressional District 5 was the Minnesota Congressional race that saw the most fundraising by candidates in the run-up to the November election: nearly $18 million. The bulk of that money was raised by Johnson, a North Minneapolis resident and newcomer to politics.
According to Federal Elections Filings that cover the race from its start through November 23, Johnson raised $12.1 million, more than any other candidate for Congress in Minnesota, and significantly more than the $5.7 million Omar raised.
Sadly, it appears that this financial windfall for Johnson and Lazzaro came at the expense of individual Americans rightfully outraged by Omar’s extremism:
Nearly all of that money came from individual donors. Of Johnson’s individual donor haul, 73 percent came from small donors — those giving $200 or less. (Of the $5.7 million Omar’s campaign raised, $5.4 million came from individuals, 57 percent of them small-dollar donors. Omar raised $200,000 from other political committees.)
And what was the result?
[W]hen polls closed and all the votes were counted, Omar had won with a 38 point margin…
In 2018, Omar won 78 percent of the vote to Zielinski’s 22 percent. This year, Omar lost a sizable chunk of that vote share: she won 64 percent of the vote, while Johnson won 26 percent — slightly better than Zielinski did in 2018. But one factor that made this year different from 2018 was the presence of a third-party candidate: Legal Marijuana Now candidate Michael Moore won 10 percent of the vote.
Take out the third-party vote-getter, and in essence nothing changed whatsoever. Omar romped to an easy victory. But election observers suspect there was another big winner here as well… everyone associated with the cash cow that was the non-competitive Johnson campaign:
Making a difference in the vote share may not have been the point of all the money Republicans raised and spent in the race, said Brendan Quinn, outreach and social media manager for OpenSecrets.
“This is something that we’ve seen happen a number of times, when there is an incumbent like Ilhan Omar who is so prominent, and in some circles, controversial,” he said. “The people who are running against these candidates often massively outraise them despite the fact that there is little to no chance of a Republican winning.”
Kimberly Klacik became a minor sensation in GOP ranks last year by running as a black Republican in Baltimore. She raised a staggering $8.3 million in her congressional race and was chosen to speak at the identity politics-marred Republican National Convention. She then went on to lose by 43 percentage points. What a waste. Or was it?
“Federal Election Commission reports show Klacik… paid more than $4 million to Republican-oriented digital advertising and media companies to elevate her profile,” The Baltimore Sun reported in March. This is how a campaign’s success is truly judged by our careerist professional political class.
And guess who is helping to perpetuate it?
When the opposition has all the forces of institutional control on its side, it is absolutely crucial that America First patriots carefully vet the people they choose to support. Falling for feel-good fantasies without paying attention to hard political realities clears the way for the very kind of degenerate con artists who make up the vast majority of electoral operatives today.
You want to change the system. They only want to get paid. In The Swamp, that is the ultimate status quo position.