How a homeschool mom became a candidate to run North Carolina’s public schools.

The narrow views of Michele Morrow and the infrastructure that created her.

Gwen Frisbie-Fulton
5 min readMar 31, 2024

Michele Morrow, a Christian homeschooling mom, is an opinionated conspiracy theorist whom the kids would dismissively call a “Karen.” She’s the type of mom who would glower at my tattoos at a PTA meeting and forbid her children from hanging out with mine. She once posted a video where she lost her mind when she overheard three languages besides English being spoken in a Family Dollar, leaving us all wondering if she had been outside of her home before.

It’s a familiar story: Michele “Karen” Morrow was made possible by the strange sense of entitlement that wealthy white women can have combined with too much time living in echo chambers on Twitter. Her existence is not news, nor is it particularly threatening.

What is news is Michele Morrow the candidate. Michele Morrow for NC Superintendent of Public Instruction is threatening, perhaps not to herself but to the rest of us. Michele Morrow the candidate is not a naturally occurring aberration; she was made possible by the growing political infrastructure being built by far-right extremists.

According to Carolina Demography, at least 389 languages are being spoken in North Carolina’s schools. To lead our public education system, Morrow would have a lot of catching up to do.

There’s no evidence that Michele Morrow has ever cared much about politics beyond voting before the pandemic, when she appears to have become radicalized around COVID-19, wearing masks, and vaccination disinformation. From using the hashtags #qanon and #WWG1WGA, to calling for the execution of Bill and Melinda Gates, to live-streaming herself on January 6th as part of the crowd headed towards the US Capitol. In one world, Michele could be dismissed as just another internet casualty.

Her fifteen minutes of fame could have come and gone at a handful for anti-masking demonstrations, and her violent and racist comments could have been left blowing in the internet wind. But at the same time, she was Tweeting her vitriol, far-right extremists determined to bring their white nationalist, neo-fascist politics into the mainstream were creating a political structure to which she could teether herself.

Political strategists, hacks, and malignant tumors like Steve Bannon, Christopher Rufo, and Roger Stone actively looked for culture wars kindling — non-substantive flash issues that could distract from real policy and activate their small but extreme base into inane local fights. From these men — and the monied interests behind them — came the manufactured outrage campaigns of Critical Race Theory, fearful transphobic propaganda, and the dog-whistle accusations that somehow DEI makes our schools (and airplanes and cities and media companies and sports- the list goes on) unsafe.

Michele fell for it hook, line, and sinker and began to echo the culture war cries. Bannon’s cranky laundry list is the exact political platform for her current campaign (as I write this, she elatedly appeared on his War Room show). Far-right provocateurs like Sloan Rachmuth swarmed around her and convinced her to run for office. Michele isn’t exactly self-made — she was Frankenstiened into a political being.

Screenshot from Michelle Morrow’s candidate account March 24.

In early 2022, Michele Morrow and a local Proud Boy, John Fischer, attended a candidate training hosted by Rachmuth and they both filed to run for school board. Fischer bombed out in the primaries, but Michele waited until the general election to get trounced. After a contentious campaign during which she filed police reports on library books and her husband was accused of stealing her opponent’s yard signs, Michele secured only 35.64% for a twenty-point loss.

What is fascinating to me about Morrow is not her blunk bigotry or venom, but her belief that she is entitled to bring that to the rest of us. In a strange twist, she seems to have taken the maxim of second-wave feminism — “The personal is political” — and distorted it through magnification instead of insight.

Morrow, and her Moms for Liberty ilk, would insist readily that they are not feminists, but also hyper-fixate and rely on their status as women (specifically as mothers) to push their personal beliefs into the public sphere. They take what they would want for their own families and demand that the rest of us adopt it for ours. Instead of asking their children not to read certain books or consume certain media as I might do in my home, they want to legislate their terms for the rest of us. Instead of allowing private medical decisions to be made by doctors and parents, they want the state to be involved. This is, of course, never what was meant by “the personal is political,” but Morrow daftly plows ahead.

Michele Morrow is well within her rights to pull her children out of school and homeschool them — that’s a normal response of a parent who wants their children to receive a very particular type of education that is not and cannot be offered by the public school system. I love that for her.

I’ve made many personal decisions that don’t always fit with the mainstream for my family, too.

But for that to turn into an epic political crusade to now run the entire public education system for the ninth-largest state in the nation? That’s the abnormal response of extremism — taking one person’s narrow personal crusade and amplifying it into the political arena — and this has been only made possible by the larger movement.

Michele Morrow is mostly just a regular mom with wildly repugnant personal beliefs — she only matters because she doesn’t currently represent the millions of parents who live in North Carolina who do not hate transchildren, who do not hold Christian Nationalist beliefs, and who don’t casually call for the execution of elected officials. She may think of herself as a mom fighting back against woke indoctrination, but whether she likes it or not her ability to become a leading candidate for elected office in North Carolina is a part of a larger fascist plan.



Gwen Frisbie-Fulton

Mother. Southerner. Storytelling Bread and Roses. Bottom up stories about race, class, gender, and the American South. *views my own*