Ahead of the vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris Wednesday night, right-wing political operative Ed Martin of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles took to Periscope to criticize Big Tech for banning the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, accuse Democrats of a coup, and ask if Harris is “gonna be a pitbull” in tonight’s debate.
In discussing the debate, Martin began by describing Mike Pence, who has an extreme anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ record, as “America’s golden retriever.” (Pence once described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.”)
“Mike Pence is America’s golden retriever—he’s likable, he’s not too out of control, he doesn’t bite anybody, he’s gonna be even-keeled,” Martin said, before asking how Harris, the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party, would behave on the debate stage.
“Kamala Harris—to go back to my metaphor of pets—is she gonna be a bulldog? Is she gonna be a pit bull? What is she going to do?” Martin asked.
“Because Mike Pence is trying out for the role he’s played for four years of the trusted vice president, the trusted second, the trusted lieutenant, not the guy who is also the co-president,” Martin said. “Joe Biden is not a big personality in charge, so is Kamala Harris going to try to show that she could be president, that she really is president? Is she going to try to slide to the center? You know, she has a voting record more left wing than Bernie Sanders, so is she going to try to reform that by sliding to the center? Will she get away with that?”
The New York Times calls Harris “a pragmatic moderate,” and perhaps unsurprisingly, Fox News labels her “a radical.” While she adopted some more progressive stances in her run for president, Harris’ record is by no means as progressive as Sanders’ is, and she rankled progressives as California’s top prosecutor.
Martin recognized that Harris could do well in the debate, but only if she wasn’t “too alpha.”
“I think she could do well tonight, and make people think, ‘Oh, well, Biden has a good person on his team,’ but it’s tricky, it’s tricky how she has to navigate because she can’t be too alpha—if she’s too alpha, she’ll eclipse Biden,” he said. “If she’s too weak, too passive, it’ll be like we have that guy who can barely function running for president, Biden, and she’s real soft spoken too.”
He also reminded viewers of her performance in her presidential run, claiming that as “she debated, she went down, down, down.” He added, “So, she’s not particularly proven as likable person.”
Since Harris ran for highest office, and then again when Biden chose her to be his running mate, she has faced a series of racist and sexist attacks and has been the subject of right-wing disinformation campaigns. Some right-wing activists have disparaged her racial identity, baselessly challenged her eligibility for the office, and punished her for her attractiveness with tawdry smears.
Facebook’s current purge of QAnon groups from its platform prompted Martin to accuse Big Tech of “silencing QAnon,” while allowing people to post on the platform who take issue with President Donald Trump’s comments that there were “very fine people, on both sides” of melee ignited by the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which counterprotester Heather Heyer was murdered.
“Big Tech is silencing QAnon, Facebook is silencing QAnon,” Martin said. “But they’re not silencing the ‘fine people’ hoax? They’re not silencing antifa, they’re not silencing Black Lives Matter? What’s the standard? The standard is thumb on the scale. The standard is anything they can do to put their thumb on the scale—that’s what President Trump is up against.”
Martin also suggested that former President Barack Obama, Biden, and Hillary Clinton were all part of a “coup” to prevent Trump’s election and then to get him out of office once he was in the White House. He added, “You and I should be terrified because right now, the republic, the American republic is hanging in the balance. There’s no other way to say it.”