When historians chronicle the precipitous moral and intellectual decline of the Republican Party, Republican Senate candidate Corey Stewart will have a special place in the narrative.

For 30 years Virginia was represented in the Senate by Republican John Warner, a man who cast many votes with which a liberal would disagree vehemently but who genuinely sought to serve his country honorably and often sought bipartisan agreement.

Today, Virginia Republicans have nominated for Senate a man whose behavior isn’t far removed from your average 4chan troll. An early supporter of Donald Trump, Stewart is an open neo-confederate. In an era where even the the sons and daughters of the South are slowly reckoning with their legacy and the terroristic racist violence symbolized by their Confederate monuments, Corey Stewart had the audacity to declare that “Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don’t matter” despite his hailing from the free state of Minnesota. He supports Trump’s abominable child separation policy, endorsed the neo-nazi Paul Nehlen’s campaign and stated that his opponent Tim Kaine should be thrown in jail for “spying” on the Trump campaign.

Which brings us to the antics of the last few days. Stewart’s campaign team tweeted a photoshopped image of a young Tim Kaine as a missionary, supposedly sitting next to Honduran sandinista forces. The photo was actually of right-wing paramilitaries, and it’s still not entirely clear if the Stewart campaign photoshopped the piece themselves or found it in some dark corner of the internet and reposted it.

Either way, the Stewart campaign neither retracted nor apologized. Instead, they decided to play it off like the whole thing was a joke, photoshopping an image of Tim Kaine shaking hands with Joseph Stalin in 1944. (Of course, this would make Tim Kaine into none other than FDR himself, but the Stewart camp apparently isn’t strong on history.)

Which led to this amazing tweet:

This is shameless trolling disguised as a major Senate campaign. How else, in fact, are Virginians to take this statement two days ago by a man who was an early supporter of Donald Trump?

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart (R) dismissed protesting NFL players as “thugs” who were “beating up their girlfriends and their wives,” CNN reports.

Said Stewart: “You know, they’ve got, you know, children all over the place that they don’t pay attention to, don’t father, with many different women, they are womanizers. These are not people that we should have our sons, or any of our children look up to. We need to have our children look up to real role models.”

The Republican Party has fallen very far indeed, and Corey Stewart is a perfect representation of its decay.

David Atkins

Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.