Minnesota GOP nominates most unhinged, 'tinfoil hat' Senate candidate of 2024 cycle: Royce White

The Minnesota GOP has endorsed former basketball player and reactionary media figure Royce White to try and unseat Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D). But the move, which will certainly play towards the party’s main base, could prove ineffective at actually winning an election: White has a long history of antisemitism, anti-LGBTQ sentiments, conspiracy theories and misogyny. Additionally, the one-time NBA player is considered a protege of Trump whisperer and far-right mogul Steve Bannon and hosts a show on Real America’s Voice, the same channel Bannon broadcasts his podcasts from. 

And now, after a vote at the Minnesota GOP convention on May 19, 67% of convention goers selected White as their nominee for the senate. 

White’s only other electoral experience was in 2022, when he attempted to unseat congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN). However, he lost the Republican primary to Cicely Davis by almost 11 percentage points. 

Before pivoting to the Republican Party, White was a prominent Minneapolis activist during the 2020 George Floyd protests. Since then, White became invested in the ideological messaging of right-wing “intellectuals” like Jordan Peterson, Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. 

“His current politics could be described as tinfoil hat populism,” the journalist Eamon Whalen wrote in his definitive profile of White. 

“He believes that the Democrats, Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum, President Xi Jinping, the CCP, non-MAGA Republicans, George Soros, ‘millennial purple-haired white liberal women,’ ‘the Church of LGBTQ,’ the National Basketball Association, and various government agencies all act on behalf of the same ‘global corporate community,’” Whalen explained in Mother Jones. 

Such crank positions have manifested themselves predominately on social media. Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group, compiled just as a sample of White’s virulent profanity and bigotry online: White is a prolific poster, as well as a frequent guest on shows like InfoWars and Tucker Carlson. Additionally, White uses his own platform, a podcast called “Please Call Me Crazy,” to attack his perceived enemies. 

“White has pushed right media conspiracy theories, including about the hammer attack on Paul Pelosi; the tragic Maui wildfires; and the 2020 election,” Media Matters described in a recent post. “He is also virulently anti-LGBTQ, writing that ‘the LGBTQ movement is the brainchild of radical feminists and their cucked men.... At least from a political standpoint.’ He has claimed that former professional basketball player Charles Barkley was being influenced by a Jewish ‘cabal.’” 

And now, since his apparent triumph at the Minnesota Republican convention, White’s campaign spending during the 2022 congressional primary has come under scrutiny. 

According to a recent expose by the Daily Beast, White used substantial sums of his campaign finances on exorbitant purchases, such as a $1,200 expenditure at a strip club in Miami. 

“The Daily Beast reviewed White’s 2022 primary campaign reports and found numerous items that boggled legal experts,” the newsroom reported

“The unusual expenses include a total of more than $100,000 in mysterious wire transfers and checks reported as paid to the campaign; hefty tabs at spicy nightspots; getaways at posh hotels in at least seven states; thousands of dollars in limousine services; unexplained cash withdrawals; eye-popping purchases from electronics, sporting goods, clothing, and musical instrument retailers; and the DribbleUp smart basketball training app that White himself admitted might be personal use.” 

All of White’s controversies, mishaps and potentially criminal conduct make his selection just that more puzzling. What exactly do Minnesota Republicans — and the broader, reactionary ecosystem — think White has that will allow him to unseat Klobuchar? The Gopher State has become a sturdy Democratic stronghold, even on a local level. A candidate like White, who seems to function more as chum for the MAGA faithful, will have little appeal to the center-right or independent voters. 

With each passing cycle, it seems the Republican apparatus has learned nothing from the past two elections; where Trump-aligned candidates failed to gain traction amongst the politically uninvolved and apathetic. But hey, why complain or consternate if this new generation of GOP insiders wants to keep stepping on rakes and bear traps?  

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Jamie Larson