The Republicans aren't planning a midterm campaign on issues, but on their culture wars. David Weigel wrote last night that "the Republican base is captivated" by the latest-- as in post-Cancel Culture-- GOP boogie man: wokeness. "[A]nger at boardroom 'wokeness' runs through most of the issues animating Republican voters," although I don't understand why Weigel left out the adverb "ginned-up."
Boycotts of corporations for their political moves aren’t new, and aren’t limited to conservatives... What’s new is the primacy of the issue in Republican politics, and the willingness of some conservatives to try punishing corporations for woke-ness, to see whether it can hold up in court. After Republicans threatened Delta and Coca-Cola with the loss of tax breaks, former Trump budget director Russ Vought called it a 'successful playbook for how these fights will be won.' On a conservative podcast last month, Will Chamberlain, a senior counsel at the conservative Internet Accountability Project, suggested that the Texas proposal might 'conflict with federal law,' but could become a 'template' when conservatives won power again.
“If we can’t do this at the state level, then what Texas has done is shown us exactly the type of law we should be trying to pass to the federal level,” Chamberlain said. “And if we get a lot of different states to pass this type of legislation and then it gets struck down on, essentially, preemption grounds, then I think next time we’re in power, we have a really good shot of getting something similar passed.”
In power, before his clash with Twitter, Trump took on corporations in some political fights, but largely pursued policies that helped them. Delta, for example, has not yet been punished by Georgia; three years ago, its profits and stock prices jumped as a result of the 2017 tax cut. According to Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project, which backed the Arkansas legislation, corporate America was a “paper tiger” and didn’t have the power to stop social conservative legislation unless Republicans buckled and bestowed that power.
“I think one of the main reasons why the corporations are so eager to go against Republicans is because they don’t think the Republicans will ever fight back,” Schilling said. “They take it for granted that Republicans always want lower taxes or less regulations, or whatever. And they know that the Democrats, if they want to get something from, need to be buttered up.”
The calls for punishing “woke” companies hint at the reality of the stances those companies are taking-- largely popular, with no harm to their bottom line. And some Republicans have doubts about how to proceed. Last week, when Republicans in Texas’s 6th Congressional District met for a forum about their upcoming special election, a few candidates were asked about fighting “tech censorship,” and not all were enthusiastic.
“Political speech is sacrosanct in this country,” said Michael Wood, the only Republican in the race who has criticized Trump. “The last thing we need to do is have government get involved in that. I understand you’re worried about the incredible power that these companies have. We’re going to work through this. The absolute worst thing to be would be to try to impose a solution on the country from Washington, D.C.”
The GOP woke-ists haven't decreed how the Gaetz Scandal, which is feeding the media fire several times a day, is permitted to be covered. No mainstream media outlets have mentioned Nestor, the make-believe "adopted" son he was porking or the college roommate he murdered. But... yesterday there was plenty of chatter about how Gaetz paid his pimp/pal, Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg $900 in May of 2018 to rent 3 woman (in one night), at least one of whom was under age. Greenberg and Gaetz were meeting with these women and paying them-- and not one really thinks it was for tuition, which is how Greenberg labeled the money he sent them on behalf of Gaetz. In fact, one of the women has already admitted that Gaetz and Greenberg paid her to have sex with them. The Daily Beast has been all over the scandal but Gaetz's office is refusing to talk with them now and has instead had a spin doctor firm for naughty Republicans, the Logan Curcle Group. One of the employees, failed former Apprentice contestant Erin Elmore threatened that a lawyer would be "closely monitoring" the Daily Beast's coverage.
Over the weekend I expect to read plenty about Gaetz's trip with GOP political allies and girls-for-pay to the Bahamas. The old news-- that will keep coming out until at least Monday or Tuesday-- is about how Greenberg is going to cop a plea and rat Gaetz out for a reduced sentence for himself.
Investigators have also been told of a conversation where Mr. Gaetz and a prominent Florida lobbyist discussed arranging a sham candidate in a State Senate race last year to siphon votes from an ally’s opponent, according to two people familiar with the investigation. They cautioned that that aspect of the inquiry, which could broaden it beyond sex trafficking, was in its early stages.
Gaetz’s legislative director in Washington, Devin Murphy, abruptly quit last week, three people familiar with the decision said on Thursday, becoming the second senior aide to resign since the Justice Department inquiry came to light. And late Thursday, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first Republican representative to call on Mr. Gaetz to step down.
Last night a Ron DeSantis connection was starting to leak out and, I forgot to mention, every facet of this scandal is drenched in illicit drug use. An old friend of mine in Tallahassee predicted that this scandal is going to taint the entire Florida Republican Party. OK-- all woke? Now let's get started with the day!