Anger is roiling in Republican America, along with conspiratorial fabrications about who to blame for their condition. A harbinger of this trend is Antlers, Oklahoma, where I grew up: a once-thriving town in the southeastern part of the state, bordering the lush Ouachita foothills of dense forests, abundant agriculture, and lucrative tourism resources. The town rebuilt after a devastating 1945 tornado, but it has not weathered 21st century politics.
Racially and politically, Antlers is typical of much of rural Oklahoma, a state forged from the 19th century territory set aside for Native American tribes forcibly removed from other parts of the United States. Antlers is now 75% White and 22% Native American or mixed race, but with very few Latino, Asian, or Black residents. In 2020, Antlers and its county,
Pushmataha—which supported former President Bill Clinton in 1996 and even Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan in 1980—voted for Republicans, 85% to the Democrats’ 14%, up from an 80% share for Republicans in 2016, 54% in 2000, and 34% in 1996.
Antlers’ social statistics are beyond alarming. Nearly one-third of its residents live in poverty. The median household income, $25,223, is less than half Oklahoma’s $55,557, which in turn is well below the national median of $74,099 in January 2022.
For five years, Daunt has been one of about 100 members of the Republican Party’s state committee, a panel that helps guide the party’s decisions. But that ended Tuesday with his immediate resignation, three days after a contentious GOP convention in Grand Rapids.
Instead of focusing on Democrats’ “myriad failures,” Daunt wrote that “feckless, cowardly party ‘leaders’ have made the election here in Michigan a test of who is the most cravenly loyal to Donald Trump and re-litigating the results of the 2020 cycle.”
Daunt described Trump as a “deranged narcissist.”
The former president has maintained unproven claims that fraud cost him Michigan’s 2020 election, assertions that have divided the state’s Republicans. Trump lost the 2020 race to Democrat Joe Biden by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points.