The ‘groyper army’ is looking to make white nationalism mainstream. It has key allies in Arizona politics.

And one of its biggest boosters is a Republican state senator

The Republican state senator was clear in what she wanted in a recent post on Telegram, the encrypted messaging app that has become a haven for far-right politics and extremists.

“Dear Groyper army, please hit Ron Watkins. Love, Wendy,” she wrote. 

The self-styled online “army” that Rogers was imploring to rally to her aid is a collection of white nationalists who often use online trolling tactics against people they don’t like. Their goals broadly include normalizing their extreme and racist views by aligning them with Christianity and so-called “traditional” values. 

The violent “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville, Va., brought white nationalists together from across the country. It was marred by bloody fistfights between the racists and counter-protesters, and culminated in the death of anti-racist activist Heather Heyer, who was mowed down by a white nationalist who drove into a crowd leaving the rally. 

That thing has been the groyper movement, which is now moving more and more into the mainstream. Their annual conference, the America First Political Action Conference or AFPAC, is set to be the biggest one yet and with a major Arizona presence. 

Rogers will be a featured speaker. She’ll be joined by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and local groyper Anthime Joseph “Tim” Gionet, who goes by the moniker Baked Alaska online.