A pair of khakis and a semi-automatic rifle in your closet—that’s all it takes to be a viable Republican Senate candidate these days. Throw in a pink polo shirt and a viral video of you and your wife training your guns on Black Lives Matter protesters and you’ve got Mark McCloskey, the modern Republican prototype, who after appearing armed outside his St. Louis home last year as peaceful demonstrators marched to the mayor’s home nearby, officially announced Tuesday he’s running for Senate. The incident elevated McCloskey to cause célèbre status on the right, which, in turn, rung him up a speaking role at the 2020 Republican National Convention in August. Now, with Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt retiring ahead of the 2022 election, McCloskey announced to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson (obviously) he intends to flip his three minutes of fame into a U.S. Senate seat. “God came knocking on my door disguised as an angry mob,” McCloskey said on Tucker Carlson Tonight. “If we don’t stand up now and take this country back, it’s going away.”
And there you have it: The Republican Party is so viral it’s now nothing more than a meme, a passing flight of celebrity, happenstance caught on camera. McCloskey released a several-minute campaign ad that is like a greatest hits of Republican grievances: mobs, Marxists, cancel culture, systemic racism, critical race theory, freedom of speech—it’s all in there as McCloskey, now donning jeans and a plaid shirt with its sleeves rolled up for effect, outlines all of the menaces that are aligned against good God-fearing folks just like him.
“Our nation is under attack—big tech, big business, the swamp in D.C. are all working together to destroy our God-given freedom, our culture, and our heritage,” McCloskey says in the ad. “Mark my words, the mob is coming for all of us.” Sounds like fun. With menacing music lingering in the background, no policy or point of view other than seething nostalgia and grievance, you certainly wouldn’t want to get stuck at a Thanksgiving table with McCloskey or his gun-wagging wife Patricia.
The McCloskeys, of course, are still facing felony weapons charges for what actually took place in the video, as well as an additional charge of evidence tampering for fiddling after the fact with the gun Patricia McCloskey was waving that day and claiming it was inoperable all along. Elected Republicans up and down the line have vowed to step in if the couple are convicted, including Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who promised last year to pardon the McCloskeys if they’re found guilty.