'Crack down even harder on abortion': Wisconsin journalist lays out the GOP presidential field’s worst ideas
President Richard Nixon famously complained that Republican presidential candidates were expected to go hard-right in order to win their party's nomination — only to turn around and run to the center in the general election. Nixon was considered arch-conservative in his day, but he hated right-wing litmus tests and believed that Republicans should be able to work with Democrats when they agreed with them but forcefully oppose Democrats when they didn't. And some of Nixon's policies, from universal healthcare to environmentalism, would be deal breakers in the Republican Party of 2023.
Nixon died in 1994 at the age of 81, but one can only imagine what he would think of the 2024 Republican presidential primary field if he were still alive — a field that is way to the right of what Nixon encountered during the 1968 and 1972 elections.
In a listicle published by the conservative website The Bulwark on July 5, Madison, Wisconsin-based journalist Bill Lueders lays out some of the worst ideas being pushed by 2024's GOP presidential hopefuls. Lueders' piece is headlined "The GOP Presidential Field's Brightest Ideas," but that headline is obviously meant to be ironic — as Lueders slams Republicans for pushing one terrible policy after another.
The candidates' policies, Lueders laments, range from "stop whining about racism" to "crack down even harder on abortion" to "pardon Donald Trump" to "blame immigrants for fentanyl deaths."
Another is "turn the whole country into Florida."
Lueders observes, "This is the heart and soul of (Gov. Ron) DeSantis' bid for the nation's top job — the idea that what he has achieved in the Sunshine State can be replicated across the land…. Government control over what teachers can teach and local cranks with veto power over what students can read. Endless divisive bickering over hyped-up culture war causes, like CRT (critical race theory) and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investment. Know-nothing defiance of public health measures. Draconian restrictions on reproductive choice. Job-killing clashes with Mickey Mouse. What's not to like?"
Trump, according to polls, is the frontrunner in the primary and holds sizable double-digit leads over DeSantis — despite facing two criminal indictments. The candidates running against Trump, Lueders points out, are angrily railing against the prosecutors in those cases.
Lueders notes, "Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, hoping to make a name for himself, is leading the pack of GOP presidential contenders in how fervently he is promising to forgive Donald Trump for any and all transgressions against democracy and the Constitution…. A few other Republicans, eager to please the man they must defeat to become their party's nominee, have indicated that they, too, are leaning to a pardon, as Trump has demanded. These include (former South Carolina Gov. Nikki) Haley, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, and conservative talk-radio host Larry Elder."
Trump's campaign proposals, Lueders adds, include, "End birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to undocumented parents, a cause that DeSantis has also embraced; issue pardons and a government apology to participants in the January 6th assault on the Capitol that he incited…. Subject 'everyone who…. gets caught selling drugs' to the death penalty…. (and) use the U.S. Justice Department to exact retribution against his political rivals, notably including the current president."at this link.
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