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Georgia Republicans Want to Charge People Who Get Abortions With Homicide

Meanwhile, the majority of Georgians say they want to keep the procedure legal.

Sign reads: "The Land of the free? Choice = freedom"
Megan Varner/Getty Images
A protester holds a sign while marching and chanting through Downtown Atlanta on July 23.

Georgia Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would classify abortion as a homicide, despite their own constituents’ widespread opposition to banning the procedure.

The bill, introduced Thursday, would classify a human as an “unborn child at every stage of development from fertilization until birth.” As a result, terminating a pregnancy could be considered and prosecuted as a homicide. Writer Jessica Valenti noted that since the bill says life begins at fertilization, people who use IUDs or emergency contraception—both of which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting—could be charged with murder.

The legislation makes exceptions for medical procedures carried out to save the life of the pregnant person, done because there were no viable other options to save the fetus, or that resulted in an accidental miscarriage. People who got abortions would be found not guilty of homicide if they could prove they were coerced or misled into getting the procedure.

If it passes, this bill would both fly in the face of what people actually want when it comes to abortion legislation and be incredibly dangerous for people’s health and well-being.

The majority of Americans, 64 percent to be exact, support legalizing abortion, which made the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade all the more bitter a pill to swallow. A new study by the Public Religion Research Institute looked at levels of support at the state level and found that 57 percent of Georgians think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Currently, abortion in Georgia is banned after six weeks, before most people even know they are pregnant, with exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the pregnant person’s life.

Clamping down on abortions would also cause far more harm than good. A study published in November by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that if Georgia bans abortion, maternal mortality will increase 29 percent. Georgia already has the second-highest rate of maternal mortality in the United States, which has the highest rate of maternal mortality among developed nations, according to the World Population Review.

Classifying abortion as a homicide would significantly deter people from seeking the procedure, even if they need it, and could put their health at risk.

Unfortunately, Georgia is not alone in seeking to criminalize people who get abortions. Republican lawmakers in Kentucky, where 50 percent of residents support legalizing abortion, and Alabama, where 55 percent of residents support abortion, have also debated bills that would classify abortion as a homicide in the past week. Representatives in South Carolina, where 50 percent of residents back abortion access, introduced a bill Wednesday that would make abortion punishable by the death penalty.

Not only do these bills go against the will of the people, some lawmakers are actively trying to circumvent what their constituents want. Kentucky was one of five states that voted to protect abortion access during the midterm elections. In Kansas, lawmakers are trying to let cities and counties ban abortion after residents overwhelmingly voted to keep abortion protections in the state constitution.

Florida Republicans’ New Bill May Be the Biggest Attack on Academic Freedom Yet

The bill, backed by Governor Ron DeSantis, goes after degrees, tenured professors, and more.

Ron DeSantis
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

After Ron DeSantis’s months of attacks on colleges, schools, teachers, librarians, and students, the Florida governor is now pushing a sweeping legislation package that further threatens academic freedom at Florida universities.

House Bill 999 presents radical concentrations of power, taking liberties away from students and teachers and instead subjecting them to constant surveillance and paranoia for simply trying to embrace a fulsome education.

The bill calls for the removal of degrees in gender studies and critical race theory (or “any derivative major or minor of these belief systems,” perhaps left intentionally ambiguous) and bars anything else that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. The bill also prohibits universities from promoting, supporting, or maintaining any program or campus activities that “espouse diversity, equity, and inclusion or Critical Race Theory rhetoric.”

The bill additionally directs university boards of trustees to be responsible for faculty hiring, and reads that a faculty member’s tenure could be reviewed “at any time.” In a vacuum, that may not seem inherently bad; given the chiling nature of the rest of the bill (and the broader Florida academic context), such a note suggests a regime eager to threaten tenure loss for those who step out of bounds.

If that all wasn’t enough, the bill also says that general education courses may not “suppress or distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics, such as Critical Race Theory, or defines American history as contrary to the creation of a new nation based on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” And they ought to “promote the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization.”

These general education courses further must “promote the values necessary to preserve the constitutional republic through traditional, historically accurate, and high-quality coursework,” and cannot be “based on unproven, theoretical, or exploratory content.”

The standards are largely to be overseen by the state Board of Education and Board of Governors—bodies whose members are appointed by the governor. And so determinations of what does and does not constitute “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” or “values necessary to preserve the constitutional republic,” or even “accurate” are all ill-defined, amorphous, and ambiguous enough for Governor DeSantis’s authoritarian regime to carry out its desire to carve away any chance for Florida students to maintain a holistic and open-minded education.

House Bill 999 is indeed a focused continuation of DeSantis’s assault against academic freedom. But it is also a broader test: about how much power an aspirational fascist state executive can openly accumulate in America.

Tennessee Becomes the First State to Pass a Ban on Drag Shows

The bill is so vaguely worded it could also target trans people and Pride celebrations generally.

Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images
Kameron Michaels performs onstage for RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq the World Tour in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 9.

Tennessee lawmakers passed the country’s first ban on drag performances Thursday, part of an onslaught of bills restricting LGBTQ rights across the United States that could have much further-reaching consequences.

House Bill 9 is headed to Governor Bill Lee, who has said he will decide whether to sign the bill once it reaches his desk. If he does, the measure will go into effect on April 1, two months ahead of Pride Month.

The bill bans “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to prurient interest,” meaning of a sexual nature, either in public or if there is a minor present. The language is vague and makes no distinction between drag performers and transgender people.

When H.B. 9 was first introduced in November 2022, the ACLU of Tennessee noted that “dance, fashion, and music—essential components of a drag performance—are all protected by the First Amendment. Yet, these laws are written so broadly and vaguely that they would allow government officials to censor performers based on their own subjective viewpoints of what they deem appropriate on any given day.”

“So, let’s call this what it is—a malicious attempt to remove LGBTQ people from public life,” the group said in a statement.

The bill’s vagueness could also affect Pride celebrations, which last for the month of June. Drag performers or trans people appearing in public could be charged with felonies simply for existing.

“By passing House Bill 9, the Tennessee legislature has done nothing but spread hate, misinformation, and extremism,” Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement. “Drag is a longstanding, celebratory form of entertainment and a meaningful source of employment for many across the state. Yet, rather than focus on actual policy issues facing Tennesseans, politicians would rather spend their time and effort misconstruing age-appropriate performances at a library to pass as many anti-LGBTQ+ bills as they can.”

It should go without saying that drag, like any performance, can be tailored to be appropriate for any audience. Seeing drag performances can actually be beneficial to younger people who are LGBTQ, because it shows them that they are not alone. More than half of LGBTQ youth struggle with depression, and 45 percent of trans kids have considered suicide, according to the HRC. But those with at least one adult in their life who accepts them are 40 percent less likely to attempt suicide.

Tennessee’s bill, unfortunately, is part of a homophobic and transphobic backlash to the increasing visibility of LGBTQ people. Drag performers have become a particular target for Republicans and right-wing extremist groups, who accuse the entertainers of being pedophiles.

There are dozens of bills being moved through state legislatures across the U.S. that would ban drag performances. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently revoked an organization’s liquor license because it hosted a drag show.

Live Nation–Ticketmaster Reports Record $16.7 Billion in Revenue

Meanwhile, artists and fans continue to pay the price.

Ticketmaster site open on a browser
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At a time of growing public pressure on the monopolistic practices of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the ticketing giant doesn’t seem to be crumbling one bit. On Thursday, the company announced record profits, reporting a 2022 operating income up 125 percent from pre-pandemic levels to $732 million, and revenue up 44 percent to $16.7 billion.

Last month, the Senate held a hearing on Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s hold over the ticketing industry. And in November, Senators Amy Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal, and Ed Markey sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking for a Justice Department investigation into the massive company, even suggesting the department consider breaking up the dominating duo’s merger. Members of Congress from all sides of the aisle have expressed their interest in taking on the massive company and helping consumers not be hounded by exorbitant fees and no alternatives.

And since then? Not too much. But in the meantime, Live Nation–Ticketmaster is swimming in cash.

The struggle against the de facto monopoly spans years. Thirty years ago, members of Pearl Jam began advocating for the breakup of Ticketmaster’s hold on consumers. “All the members of Pearl Jam remember what it’s like to be young and not have a lot of money,” said guitarist Stone Gossard. “We have made a conscious decision that we do not want to put the price of our concerts out of the reach of our fans.”

Public pressure has spiked more recently after fans of performers like Bad Bunny and Taylor Swift suffered from prohibitive prices and poor ticketing practices that led to people being turned away from concerts even though they had valid tickets. Millions of frustrated fans, big artists who care about those fans, and smaller artists’ income streams suffer from the monopoly power of entities like Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

On Wednesday, Senators Klobuchar and Mike Lee sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter, citing their findings from the January hearing and encouraging the Justice Department’s antitrust division to investigate further and act if it finds the company has indeed “walled itself off from competitive pressure at the expense of the industry and fans.” If that’s the case, so long as the division really looks for even a moment, it’ll have plenty of justification to take action.

Students Across Florida Walk Out in Protest of Ron DeSantis

The Florida governor has led an authoritarian onslaught on education in the state.

Octavio Jones/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Students at a Defend New College protest in Sarasota, Florida, on January 31

Students at Florida public universities, including Florida State University, the University of Florida, and Florida International University, among others, staged a coordinated walkout Thursday in protest of Governor Ron DeSantis’s ongoing attacks on education, including policies targeting people of color and LGBTQ people.

The student protests were inspired in part by the DeSantis administration’s order for public universities to provide data on how many people seek gender-affirming care. But the collective action also came to be a stance against the broader authoritarian onslaught directed underneath the DeSantis administration.

Florida school districts are banning books en masse, while others are closing their libraries in order to avoid prosecution under a new law that requires a “specialist” to review every book in school. The New College of Florida’s president was forced out by the DeSantis-stacked board of trustees and replaced with another DeSantis ally. DeSantis has pushed through the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prevents discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity through third grade. He has lobbied for the “Stop Woke Act,” which restricts teaching on race in colleges. And he has announced plans to mandate Western civilization courses and to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on state college campuses.

DeSantis also banned schools from being able to teach Advanced Placement African American Studies, after his administration first pushed the College Board to water down the class anyway. He even filed an administrative complaint against the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation for hosting a drag show, stripping the organization of its liquor license.

While it may feel easy to yield to frustration or cynicism in the face of DeSantian authoritarianism, the kids, as always, are not relenting—for themselves, and those they may not ever know.

“Ron DeSantis, we’re on our way to take you down and we’re full-steam ahead for a better day,” Dream Defenders Tallahassee organizer Malik Gary told Teen Vogue. “For people that work in the minority class, for people of the Black and brown community, for people that identify in the LGBTQIA community, for folks that are somebody, no matter what color, or race, or gender, or ethnicity. Everybody is somebody and deserves respect.”

Democrats Slam Joe Biden for “Repackaged Trump-Era” Asylum Ban

The new policy makes it harder for people who are otherwise eligible to seek asylum in the United States.

Joe Biden
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Democrats are slamming President Joe Biden’s new immigration policy, with many branding it no better than the measures seen under his predecessor, Donald Trump.

The convoluted policy prevents adults or families from receiving asylum in the United States if they traveled through another country en route and did not apply for (and were denied) asylum there. The new process to apply for asylum in the U.S. includes multiple steps that are neither obvious nor easy to accomplish. It also requires immigrants to use a phone app, CPB One, that is poorly designed and glitchy.

Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman slammed the policy Thursday as “extreme” and “not supported by U.S. law.” His fellow New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Biden’s administration to rethink the policy, which she argued was far too restrictive.

Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley both called seeking asylum a “fundamental human right,” with Omar adding the policy “flies in the face of international law, U.S. law, and basic morality.”

Other Democrats have been pushing back on the policy since it was unveiled on Tuesday. Senators Bob Menendez, Cory Booker, Alex Padilla, and Ben Ray Lujan released a joint statement warning the policy “only perpetuates the harmful myth that asylum seekers are a threat to this nation.”

Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Jerry Nadler called on the president in another joint statement to increase the number of pathways to asylum instead of restricting them. “The ability to seek asylum is a bedrock principle protected by federal law and should never be violated,” they said.

Biden has come under fire since taking office for what Republicans have deemed a crisis at the southern border. Border crossings have reached their highest level in 20 years, and many lawmakers have warned that the U.S. is not equipped to handle the massive influx of people. This latest policy is an attempt to stem that flow, but many immigration rights groups say it could prevent tens of thousands of people from claiming asylum.

“This asylum ban is, at its core, Trump’s asylum ban under a different name. It will leave the most vulnerable people in much the same position as Trump’s policy did—at risk and unfairly denied the protection of asylum for reasons that have nothing to do with their need for refuge,” Anu Joshi, the deputy director of the ACLU’s National Political Advocacy Department, said.

The National Immigration Justice Center and its partner groups are preparing to sue the Biden administration if the law passes, noting that a similar Trump policy did not stand up in court.

Adding to the sting was Biden praising Poland for accepting so many Ukrainian refugees, just hours before his administration unveiled the new measure.

Rail Companies Are Finally Giving Workers Paid Sick Days. This Isn’t Close to the End of the Fight.

Note to the government: Don’t ease up on the pressure now.

Nick Hagen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A derailed Norfolk Southern train in Michigan, February 18

While the public is coming to understand how dangerously deregulated the railroad industry is, rail companies themselves are desperately trying to ward off regulation by finally giving workers the necessary benefits. In doing so, though, the companies reveal they could’ve done this of their own volition this whole time.

In the weeks since the disastrous February 3 Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, as more details come to light on how threadbare rail regulation is, and how much of that is thanks to the close relationship between industry and government, companies have coincidentally begun announcing new benefits for workers.

On Wednesday, Norfolk Southern, whose train derailed in East Palestine, reached an agreement with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division, or BMWED, to provide some 3,000 workers with four days of paid sick leave, and the ability to designate up to three paid personal leave days as paid sick leave.

On Monday, workers at Union Pacific announced an agreement between the company and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, or NCFO, and Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, or BRC. Effective April 1, the NCFO agreement prorates the deal to give workers three days of sick leave this year, and the regular four beginning in 2024; the NCFO members can use the paid sick time in half or full-day increments. BRC members, moreover, will have the ability to designate personal leave days for sick leave. In total, 2,100 Union Pacific workers will have gained the benefits.

On February 7, railroad company CSX reached agreements with the BMWED and BRC for four paid sick days, with another three paid personal leave days offered; the agreement also gives workers the option to dedicate unused paid sick leave to their 401(k) or to receive it in a payout. On February 10, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, or IAM, and NCFO joined the agreement; on February 14, the IAM Roadway Mechanics division and BRC Carmen for Fruit Growers Express Company division signed on as well. The eight other unions are said to be signing on eventually as well; for now, some 6,000 workers will gain the new benefits.

The cascading agreements, with suggestions of more to come with other unions, is a good thing; workers are finally earning some of the baseline protections and benefits they deserve, ones the government failed in bipartisan fashion to advocate for previously. However, these incredibly late voluntary decisions to finally relent to workers’ demands shows how they could’ve given these workers such benefits even without government regulation or public pressure—but they never did.

Meanwhile, railroad companies are still getting away with a myriad of other things—too big of trains with too little staff; using outdated braking and safety systems, minimizing inspections and audits; and more. Accordingly, the pressure shouldn’t dissipate, but rather increase.

Rail workers (who have been proven right in their warnings of disasters like that in East Palestine) are rallying for complete public ownership of rails. There is widespread, cross-partisan public support for finally clamping down on these corporate freebooters. Now is a moment demanding to be seized. While these companies pretend to tap their brakes, the government would do well to call their bluff and proceed to full throttle.

No, the Georgia Grand Juror’s Media Tour on Trump Hasn’t Doomed the Case

Emily Kohrs’s comments on the case aren’t the end.

Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A media tour this week by the forewoman for the Georgia special grand jury on Donald Trump’s actions after the 2020 election has raised concerns across the board, especially after reports that the former president’s team might use her comments to block possible indictments.

Emily Kohrs gave five interviews to media outlets over the last two days, during which she discussed parts of the special grand jury’s report, including indictment recommendations. She stopped short of saying who exactly had been recommended but said people won’t be “too surprised” by who’s on the list.

Her comments raised widespread concerns that Trump’s legal team could use them to crush any possible charges. CBS News reported Thursday that lawyers were preparing to argue that Kohrs had corrupted the legal process.

Two of Trump’s lawyers told The New York Times that Kohrs had “poisoned” the pool of potential jurors of a potential regular grand jury, which would issue the criminal indictments. They also slammed her “flippant, jovial, almost disrespectful approach” to the investigation in general.

Trump himself took aim at the forewoman, calling the special grand jury a “strictly political continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time.”

“Now you have an extremely energetic young woman, the (get this!) “foreperson” of the Racist D.A.’s Special Grand Jury, going around and doing a Media Tour revealing, incredibly, the Grand Jury’s inner workings & thoughts. This is not JUSTICE, this is an illegal Kangaroo Court,” he wrote Wednesday on Truth Social.

“All I did is make TWO PERFECT PHONE CALLS!!!”

Many legal experts agreed, however, that Kohrs’s comments are unlikely to affect the outcome of the case. She didn’t give away any confidential information, and the grand jury can only recommend indictments. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will make the final call on whether to bring charges against people. Norm Eisen, a senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution, tweeted that the Trump team’s attempts to use Kohrs’s media tour to quash indictments was “not gonna work.”

But legal experts also agreed that what Kohrs did was unprecedented and incredibly inappropriate. “Kohrs’s media tour isn’t helpful, and feeds into Trump’s argument that the grand jury investigation is a political witch hunt by a Democratic district attorney and the left-leaning mainstream media,” former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Newsweek.

Former Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich called Kohrs a “reckless idiot” on Twitter, while Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, told MSNBC that in his 25-year career, he had never seen a grand juror of any kind speak out the way she has.

Trump, Who Deregulated the Railroad Industry, Lies to the People of Ohio in His Visit

Asked about his administration’s own record, Trump pretended he had nothing to do with it.

Michael Swensen/Getty Images

Almost three weeks after the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials in Ohio, twice-impeached former President Donald Trump visited and lied to the people of East Palestine, all to score a few photo ops.

Appearing alongside Senator JD Vance, Trump kept his public remarks short, focusing mainly on securing his photo ops, dropping in the occasional quip about Biden visiting Ukraine one year after it was invaded by Russia, and claiming that Biden and FEMA said “they would not send federal aid to East Palestine under any circumstance,” which is not true.

When later asked by a reporter about his administration overturning an Obama-era rule requiring better braking systems for trains carrying hazardous materials, he lied again, saying his administration had nothing to do with it.

Trump otherwise kept his visit brief, allowing the cameras to focus on his organized donations of “Trump water,” “much lesser quality water,” and other goods to the community, in order to avoid actual accountability for his role in leading up to disasters like that in East Palestine. Indeed, during his presidency, Trump oversaw numerous corporate-friendly deregulatory measures that made railroads less safe for the public, and more profitable for companies like Norfolk Southern.

With his party buttressed by millions of dollars in donations and lobbying from companies like Norfolk Southern, Trump overturned an Obama-era rule that required more adequate braking systems for trains carrying highly flammable and hazardous materials (instead of the Civil War-era brakes trains use now). He pulled a stalled Obama-era proposal that would have directed companies to have at least two-man crews on trains and banned states from instating such a requirement themselves. He also halted an auditing program of railroads that has since been revitalized by the Biden administration.

Much of these regulatory slashes were made at the behest of special interests like the Association of American Railroads, which represents massive corporations like Norfolk Southern and heavily lobbied for the deregulatory cornucopia that Trump provided.

Trump also tapped someone with deep ties to the chemical industry to head the EPA’s chemical safety and pollution prevention office.

He also appointed someone who spent five years in a senior role at the American Chemistry Council—the foremost lobbying organization for chemical manufacturers like Dupont, Monsanto, and Exxon—to the same office. Beck proceeded to try weakening proposed protections against carcinogenic PFAS chemicals in drinking water supplies and consumer products; rewrite EPA rules to downplay how worker exposure to asbestos would factor into whether the cancer-causing mineral poses an “unreasonable risk”; and slash proposed Obama-era rules to protect workers and the public from the chemical TCE, which is linked to cancer, fetal heart defects, liver and kidney toxicity.

EPA staffing overall went down under Trump.

Of course, as The New Republic has previously reported, the blame for a dangerous industry that leads to over 1,000 train derailments a year is cross-partisan. Railroad companies inject millions of dollars into both parties—leading to deregulation of the rail industry, state Republicans in Ohio unwilling to promptly accept federal help, and a Democratic administration that has not properly advocated for rail workers or and advanced much needed rail regulation.

The common denominator of it all is a conservative politics that argues that the government is weak, and therefore weakens the government in order to prove it at all. So, as Trump visits East Palestine, and as fellow deregulation-chasing Republicans (and even conservative Democrats) may posture themselves as the benevolent voices on the issue, may we not allow them to weasel off the hook so easily.

Why Is Vivek Ramaswamy Even Running for President?

The Harvard and Yale grad wants us to believe that the biggest problem in America is wokeism.

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at CPAC (the giant letters are behind him) and makes hand gestures
Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Multimillionaire Vivek Ramaswamy is running for president. The 37-year-old former biotechnology executive announced his run Tuesday night on Tucker Carlson’s show.

“We are in the middle of this national identity crisis, Tucker, where we have celebrated our diversity and our differences for so long, that we forgot all the ways we’re really just the same, as Americans, bound by a common set of ideals that set this nation into motion 250 years ago,” Ramaswamy pontificated. “And that’s why I’m proud to say tonight that I’m running for United States president, to revive those ideals in this country.”

Ramaswamy is among the growing array of elite-educated Republicans like Josh Hawley and J.D. Vance who purport to be speaking to deeper truths plaguing America that are completely unrelated to the actual material conditions of the people. A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, Ramaswamy has a long resume, co-founding and leading technology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as an asset management firm backed by Vance and billionaire investor Peter Thiel.

Beyond crusading against companies for investing in environmental, social, and governance activities, Ramaswamy has focused much of his campaign on “wokeism,” the right wing’s catchall term for anything they don’t like. His early campaign signs, instead of offering a vision of hope or collective material uplift, simply say “Stop Wokeness. Vote Vivek.” He is the author of two books on American culture being plagued by “wokeness” and victimhood culture. His entire project, as his announcement on insurrection-inciting Fox News indicates, is to cut through these dynamics that allegedly divide and weaken America’s shared identity and replace them with a revitalized sense of original American exceptionalism. (Nevermind that America’s original “ideals” were constructed by slave owners who did not even pretend to treat women or non-white people as equal.)

When asked about actual policies he’d push for as president, Ramaswamy focused much of his attention on enacting stricter immigration rules and ending affirmative action to “put the merit back in America.” His focus on wokeness supersedes all else. In this way, he falls in line with much of the Republican Party, with its incessant attacks on schools and libraries, under the guise of “defending” against this supposed ideology.

Further explaining his candidacy in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Ramaswamy described kitchen-table policies like releasing “state action files” à la Elon Musk’s Twitter files. He continued his very in-touch discussion by arguing that Americans find “meaning” in “secular religions like climatism, Covidism, and gender ideology,” and “the woke agenda.” Beyond dismissing issues like climate change as millions worry about environmental impacts after the East Palestine train derailment, Ramaswamy himself is advancing an uncritical glorifying doctrine, one that worships historically nonexistent sacred common American ideals.

Ramaswamy becomes the second Republican after Nikki Haley to announce a challenge against twice-impeached former President Donald Trump. A number of other Republicans have indicated strong interest in running; the 2024 GOP primary, already befallen by the party’s absurd topics of focus, will likely be all the more anarchic given how crowded it may come to be.

Perhaps Ramaswamy understands the basic, fundamental tensions underlying his candidacy, and is just doing it all disingenuously; maybe he’s seeking to become the next person of color to gain more success and wealth by appealing to white conservative fantasy. Or he’s actually gullible enough to buy into lazy narratives about American exceptionalism—ideas he may present as bold truths others are afraid to say, but have indeed been defining features of the status quo of America since its founding.

Possibly, it’s all just a game to the college debater, a way to win an argument he has no business winning. “I consider myself a contrarian,” Ramaswamy told The Harvard Crimson long ago. “I like to argue.”