Saturday, February 4, 2023

Trump Is Just Upping the Ante on DeSantis's Big Lie

With the 2024 presidential election still more than a year and a half away, we're hearing a lot of commentary on the upcoming battle for the GOP nomination between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. Frankly, I don't have a dog in that fight, and all the speculation about the "better" or "worse" possibility is boring. But there is something interesting that is developing. 

Trump first announced his candidacy in mid-November. For a couple of months, he didn't really do much except rail on social media. But now he's started holding rallies and is pretending to put out an agenda by releasing short videos, like this one about an "education policy."

The former president called for cutting federal funding for any school or program that includes "critical race theory, gender ideology, or other inappropriate racial sexual, or political content onto our children." He also vowed to end teacher tenure and promised to “keep men out of women’s sports.” 

Does any of that sound familiar? It sure does if you've been paying any attention to what is happening in Florida.

A few days later Trump released another video.

Trump said he would push Congress to pass a law banning gender-affirming care for minors nationwide, order the Justice Department to investigate the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals to see whether they “deliberately covered up horrific long-term side effects of sex transitions in order to get rich” and cut off doctors from Medicare and Medicaid — a potential career-ender for many doctors — if they treat trans youths with hormones or surgery.

In addition, he said he would make it easier for patients who later regret having received gender-affirming care as minors to sue their doctors, calling the procedures “unforgivable.”

Trump also said his policy changes would extend to education.

He has already vowed to create a “new credentialing body for teachers” regarding the teaching of race history, adding that the panel would “promote positive education about the nuclear family, the roles of mothers and fathers and celebrating, rather than erasing, the things that make men and women different.”

As Steve Benen pointed out, all of that is interesting given that "in 2016, Trump had no real interest in targeting the LGBTQ community."

[T]he Republican, in apparent seriousness, said he would be a “better friend” of the “LBGT” [sic] community than Hillary Clinton. Just two days after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Trump added, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you.”

In preparation for 2024, the former guy has simply stolen the moves made by DeSantis in Florida and ramped them up. Perhaps that is because, as writer umair haque suggests, DeSantis's Big Lies have made Trump's seems almost quaint.

“The swamp” that “steals an election” is small fry compared to your kids being abused, sexually molested, perverted, corrupted, “indoctrinated.” Because, well, they’re your kids.

This Big Lie is a way to tell the paranoid persecution fantasies of “Great Replacement” and “white genocide” right out in the open. Who’s coming for your kids, after all? Well, everyone that’s impure of faith and untrue of blood. The LGBTQ, who are “grooming” them, liberals, teachers, professors, who are “indoctrinating” them, books, even words, which attack these poor innocent children, and hurt them, violate them, damage them, brainwash them. Every bad thing you can think of is happening to the kids of the pure and true, according to DeSantis...

This is the platform of the "National Conservatives" (sometimes referred to as the "New Right"). They stoke these "paranoid persecution fantasies" to justify wielding power over America's institutions - both public and private. That is the definition of fascism.

While Trump has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, he does have a unique ability to sense fear and exploit grievance. So he sees potential in the fascism being openly embraced by National Conservatives like DeSantis and is joining that bandwagon. 

As haque wrote, "this is the GOP’s entire strategy so far to win the next Presidential election. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got." 

But there is a problem with relying on a strategy of fear-mongering - it has diminishing returns, so you have to keep ramping up the lies (ie, "pink-haired communist teachers" in the video above). That's what the 2024 GOP presidential primary will be all about. If you think it's bad now, it's only going to get worse.  

1 comment:

  1. How much of these 'open lies' can these guys propose? A good friend liked to use the term 'smarmy' to refer to guys like these. Well, donnie-you're smarmy! and you, to de Santis. Thanks for the article, Nancy


Disney to DeSantis and Rufo: FAFO

On February 27th, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that allowed him to appoint members to the supervisory board of the the Reedy...