Meet Mark Robinson, the GOP’s newest bizarro politician

OPINION: Mark Robinson is the Republican Party's nominee for governor in North Carolina, and his views on women, race and immigration are really, really scary.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson arrives for a rally where he announced his candidacy for governor, Saturday, April 22, 2023, at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Who is this man that Donald Trump said is “Martin Luther King on steroids”? A man Trumpy said is “better than Martin Luther King”? In fact, “Martin Luther King times two.” Meet Mark Robinson, the GOP’s nominee for governor in North Carolina. He’s currently the state’s lieutenant governor, and hey, if Trump loves him then I’m sure you’ll hate him. I do. The right has given us some kooky, coonish maniacs (I’m talking to you Candace, Clarence, Ben) but Robinson just might be the craziest of the bunch.

Robinson has publicly wished for us to return to a time when women could not vote. He has claimed that feminism was created by Satan. Being masculine does not require men oppressing women but apparently on the right that’s a reasonable thing to say because, as I said, this man won the North Carolina GOP gubernatorial primary. 

Of course, Robinson wants to outlaw all abortions and thinks that women who breastfeed in public are “shameless attention hogs.” Robinson has two children so he should know that babies need to eat all the time, and mothers need to be able to feed them all the time, but why let logic get in the way of wackadookie soundbite?

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Robinson’s abhorrent views on women should be enough to disqualify him from public office, but in the modern GOP, the wilder and more unhinged you are, the better. So of course, there’s more.

Robinson has said the Civil Rights Movement was crap and that Michelle Obama is transgender and that Beyoncé is satanic and that Dr. King was an inferior pastor and a communist. (If Robinson hates King then what does he think about Trump saying he’s like King? You know what, forget I asked, I don’t care.) 

He has said we should listen to Hitler and called the Holocaust hogwash. He thinks there’s a secret cabal of reptile-people controlling the world. He’s down with all the insane conspiracy theories. He’s also threatened to use his AR-15 against the government, which is so Jan 6.

This man is a misogynist, he’s anti-Black, he’s anti-Beyoncé, he’s antisemitic and he’s a buffoon. I want him nowhere near any seat of power. But we’re in the era of MAGA where being a successful Republican means saying wild things and believing in conspiracy theories. Trump’s electoral success has emboldened other politicians to approach the world in his way, and Republican voters are loving it.

The right’s long-term attack on mainstream media has left that side stuck with getting news from less-than-reputable sources so there’s a lot of misinformation that they believe is real. Remember QAnon?

But also, the modern right as led by Trump has one true ideological North Star. The American right always wants to be at war with change — they’re conservative, which means their appeal is to want to go back to the way things were on any issue. That’s why Trump’s backward-looking Make America Great Again resonates with them. But what are they at war with now? Wokeness. That’s their big enemy. They can’t define it, but they hate it and anything that’s attached to it. That means attacking critical race theory and trans liberation and women’s rights. It means attacking intellectualism, media, science and reading. It means embracing alternative media and alternative facts. It means taking conspiracy theories seriously.

Robinson is a perfect fit for the Trump Republican Party, which means he’s a frightening addition to the American political landscape. If he becomes the governor of North Carolina, you can be sure that he’ll begin thinking about a possible path to the White House. That’s scary. 

Robinson, like Trump, represents a GOP that isn’t looking to appeal to a broad group of voters by offering them policies that make sense for their lives. They’re looking to appease the diehard GOP fringe with wild ideas that feel good in the gut of white people who are scared of change. Ideas that would not survive the tiniest bit of scrutiny in the real world. My friend Joy Reid loves to say that Trumpers live on Earth Two — a bubble where everything is backwards and up is down, and Trump is virtuous and Russia is not our enemy and climate change is not real and white people are the true victims of racism. 

I fear for the future of our country.


Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.

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