Kristina Karamo, an election denier who recently became the first Black person to lead the Michigan Republican Party, has made a name for herself and her state’s party, but not in a good way.
As Blavity reported, Karamo rose to prominence in Michigan as an election-denying conspiracy theorist who has primarily ridden the coattails of Donald Trump. Now in charge of her state’s Republican party, Karamo has outdone the former president in outrageous remarks.
As CNN reported, Karamo has made several highly controversial and sometimes bizarre statements during her political career. For example, she’s accused Beyoncé and Jay-Z of being satanic and has made similar accusations against Cardi B, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande. Beyond targeting celebrities, Karamo has also condemned the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole as “nothing but Marxism and Satanism in blackface.” She has additionally seen satanic forces at work in yoga and casual sex.
Karamo was recently called out for antisemitism for repeatedly comparing Democrats to Nazis. After Donald Trump’s electoral defeat in 2020, Karamo outrageously warned that Democrats would start rounding up his supporters and placing them into concentration camps. Being chosen as the Michigan GOP chairwoman has not caused her to dial back such comments; Karamo recently compared Democratic efforts toward gun control to the Holocaust. In addition to these Nazi-themed conspiracy theories, Karamo is a staunch anti-vaxxer, a more extreme position than Trump’s own view. So far, Karamo has remained undeterred by criticisms of her comments.
While Karamo’s words may be fodder for critics, her actions as party chair have staunchly supported Trump. As expected, Karamo’s leadership has pushed the party to double down on support for the former president. When Trump was indicted in New York City, Karamo touted the Trump line that “Our government is increasingly being weaponized against citizens.” She ominously added, “Today it will be President Trump, tomorrow it will be you.”
Our government is increasingly being weaponized against citizens. Today it will be President Trump, tomorrow it will be you.
— Kristina Karamo (@KristinaKaramo) March 30, 2023
In its latest move, Karamo and other local GOP leaders are considering changing the presidential nomination in the state from a primary election to a closed caucus. Instead of more than 1 million Michigan residents voting for the party’s presidential nominee, as has been the case in recent years, moving to a caucus system would allow a small handful of Republican delegates in each district to choose their preferred candidate. This process benefits Trump based on his command of party loyalists.
While Karamo’s words may be extreme, her Trump-supporting actions align her with the increasingly radical Republican Party in other states. However, while conspiracy theories and pro-Trump antics may succeed in deeply red states, the Michigan GOP’s far-right turn appears to alienate it from voters; Democrats have dominated elections there in recent years. We will see if Karamo’s hard-right strategy will appeal to move voters or push the Republican Party more deeply into the fringe of Michigan politics.