Have you mislaid a few brain cells? Do you have increasingly bizarre delusions? Are you completely befuddled about how the female body works? Well, congratulations! You have what it takes to forge a successful career as a Republican politician. Anyone watching recent events unfold would be forgiven for thinking the main skills required for a job in Republican politics appear to be extreme bigotry combined with a knack for saying whatever outlandish thing comes into your head first.
Even so, there are still times when Republican politicians can surprise you with the depths of their inanity. Let me introduce you, for example, to Scott Neely, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor of Arizona. During a televised debate last week Neely discussed an Arizona abortion ban by invoking aliens. “If we found life on Mars, wouldn’t we do everything in our power to protect that life?” Neely asked. “Why can’t we treat human life the same way we would treat alien life?”
Neely would probably have quite a lot to talk about with Kristina Karamo, who is vying to become Michigan’s next secretary of state, and has the endorsement of Donald Trump. Karamo has publicly said (in a 2020 podcast that was publicised this week) that she thinks “demonic possession is real” and can be sexually transmitted. Unfortunately for those of us not wanting to catch a bad case of demonic possession, she didn’t go into the details of how this works. Do contraceptives stop sexually transmitted demons? Inquiring minds want to know.
Karamo isn’t the only Republican to have made headlines in recent weeks for her unorthodox views on biology. Utah Republican Karianne Lisonbee recently apologised for saying she trusts women to “control [their] intake of semen” in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies. And, last month, Yesli Vega, who just won a Republican primary in Virginia, told an interviewer that she had heard it was “harder for a woman to get pregnant if she’s been raped … maybe because there’s so much going on in the body”. Clearly, there’s not much going on in the brain, or she might have realised what she had just said.
Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist