According to a report from Fox News on the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida, more than a few attendees said they feel Donald Trump has changed the focus of the Republican Party for the better but don't necessarily want him to be the GOP's presidential nominee in 2024.
Speaking with attendees at the conference that was moved to Florida this year due to avoid stringent COVID-19 restrictions in Washington D.C., the name of Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was a popular choice for those with an eye on reclaiming the White House after Trump lost to now-President Joe Biden.
Seemingly every attendee expressed support for the twice- impeached Trump, with one stating, "I think President Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. He is still the leader even if he's not president -- at least of our party," but admitted it may be time to move on to a new candidate.
According to Val Biancaniello from Pennsylvania who was a Trump delegate in 2020 and claims he has a substantial amount of support among the conference attendees, "I really like Ron DeSantis in '24. I think President Trump has a huge role in our party ... fundraising and helping candidates get elected. His America First policy is still a very strong sentiment. If the theme of CPAC is 'America Uncancelled,' I think Ron DeSantis is really the face of that right now ... He's a proactive governor instead of a reactive governor."
Attendee Aaron Rosenthal from Florida agreed, adding he didn't want to see Trump "pushed out," but, "The way it stands right now, if I were to make my very own prediction, my hopes as a native Floridian is it's going to be our very own Ron DeSantis."
Carson Wolf, who admitted that he is attending CPAC with his parents, stated that Trump has "re-defined" the GOP as a populist party, but added it may be time to look forward instead of backward for the party's new standard-bearer.
"You know, we used to be so conservative and always sticking to the same rules and the same set of standards that haven't evolved. But he has pushed us forward in helping us become a more national populist side of things. I can see him as the Republican nominee, " he stated before confessing, "I personally really want to see somebody like Gov. DeSantis or somebody like Dan Crenshaw running. I think we need a new face, you know? But I love Trump and I'd be so satisfied to see him in 2024."
Attendee Aaron Timko suggested another nominee -- name-checking DeSantis and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) -- saying he wants "Somebody who is not Trump."
"Somebody in the Republican Party who can stand up to the media with a bit more regality than Trump can. Despite how wonderful he was for the country, we can't have a media focusing on him for the next four years instead of Biden," he suggested.
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Tucker Carlson recently got oodles of attention — which was what he wanted — for unleashing a literal neo-Nazi argument on his highly rated prime time Fox News show last week and, when called on it, doubling down Monday night. Carlson's "argument" is basically a rehash of the same idea that drove white nationalists to riot in Charlottesville in 2017. At its core is a belief that social and demographic changes in the U.S. are due to a shadowy conspiracy of "elites" (Democrats in Carlson's telling, Jews in the more forthright white nationalist version) trying to deprive conservative Christian white people of their god-given right to control the country.
"[T]he Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World," Carlson said, eyes glinting with impish delight. He circled around again on Monday, whining, "In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country."
Carlson's arguments are, of course, utter nonsense, starting with the fact Democrats already win the majority of votes in national elections, and only lose power because votes of conservative whites are more heavily weighted in our electoral system. Here at Salon, Heather "Digby" Parton recently pointed out that it's ridiculous "to believe that immigrants are 'replacing' real Americans in a country where the only people in it who aren't the descendants of immigrants or trafficked African slaves are Native Americans."
Immigration foes have never come up with a satisfactory explanation for why it's anything but racist to argue that immigration was good in the past but is bad now.
Carlson doesn't even really try to hide his core appeal, using overtly racist terms like "Third World" and acting like feigning umbrage at the use of the word "racist" is sufficient rebuttal to the accusation. Instead of trying to actually defend his anti-democratic, racist arguments, Carlson instead chooses a much simpler tactic: Trolling.
His trolling comes in two forms, the "trigger the liberals" type and the more classic "neener neener" type. Neither really constitutes an argument in the traditional sense of the word. Both, instead, focus the attention of Carlson's audience on the emotional rewards of irritating liberals, instead of on the incoherence of what he's trying to argue.
The full quotes from Carlson's rant defending "replacement theory" really underscore how central liberal-triggering is to selling his audience on this nonsense. After offering a fake laugh, Carlson noted that he's "laughing" because "the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term 'replacement,'" and "they become hysterical because that's what's happening actually." The joke being that "replacement theory" may not make much sense, in other words, but it's guaranteed to make liberals upset. As making liberals upset is the prime directive of the modern conservative, that's a good enough reason to embrace what is literally a neo-Nazi conspiracy theory.
Carlson went on to claim that this is merely a "voting rights question," and that more voters in the system means "I become disenfranchised as a current voter." But Greg Sargent at the Washington Post did a noble job of pointing out the incongruity of "Carlson's underlying presumption that if representatives chosen by U.S. voters allow more outsiders admission to an expanded polity, this cannot be a democratic outcome by definition." Parton also took a shot at this silliness, noting "we are all going to be 'replaced' by the generations that come up behind us." Carlson, notably, isn't arguing against the practice of childbirth, which also "dilutes" his vote by adding new voters to the populace.
But Carlson isn't really trying to make sense. This is just a "neener neener" argument, drafting off the fact that liberals have been heavily focused on protecting actual voting rights against a wave of GOP voter suppression. Basically, it's Carlson saying, "You libs say you're for voting rights, but what if I said my voting rights depends on other people not getting to vote? Checkmate, libs!" It's not really an argument. It's about injecting noise into the discourse and is meant to confuse people, waste time by forcing liberals to carefully debunk it, and give his viewers something to say to rationalize their racism, even if it is literally nonsensical.
This "neener neener" type of trolling is swiftly becoming central to the entire GOP strategy around dismantling voting rights.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri are proposing using anti-trust laws to break up Major League Baseball to punish the organization for pulling the All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest of the anti-voting law just passed there. This isn't because Cruz or Hawley believe in anti-trust laws. It's a neener-neener move of weaponizing liberals' own beliefs against them. It's part of a larger push by Republicans to parrot liberal criticism of corporate influence in politics by whining about "woke" corporations. No one actually believes Republicans have suddenly become concerned about monied power in politics. It's just a "neener neener" troll to derail debate about the actual anti-voting law, which conservatives know is indefensible.Indeed, the efforts to roll out "checkmate, libs" deflections beat new records in idiocy this week, when not just one, but two senior writers at the National Review — which is supposed to be the home of "intellectual" conservatism — tried to "gotcha" New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait on his pro-democracy writings. They did this by arguing — wait for it — that democracy is bad because it gave us Jim Crow and slavery. Yep, you read that right.
It makes us all stupider that it has to be said, but the flaw in this argument, of course, is that enslaved people and Black people living under Jim Crow did not, in fact, have the democratic right to vote. Indeed, Jim Crow functioned just like the Georgia law that these conservative "intellectuals" are defending, which is by undermining democracy in order to preserve white supremacy. As the Atlantic's Adam Serwer and the Washington Post's David Weigel pointed out, this is the equivalent of arguing that apartheid South Africa was a "democracy" despite disallowing the majority of Black citizens from voting.
But these kinds of tactics from conservatives shouldn't be understood as arguments. Instead, it's all just flat-out trolling. None of these "arguments" are offered in good faith. The point is, as Steve Bannon once famously said, "to flood the zone with shit," which is to say to derail efforts to inform and engage the public by pumping out so many dumb arguments, trolling tactics, and other distractions that few people can pay attention to what really matters.
Fighting back against these tactics isn't easy. Ignoring the trolls isn't good enough. If bad arguments like Carlson's aren't rebutted, they can spread even more rapidly, as not everyone has the critical thinking skills to spot the flaws right away. But it's also important not to let trolls waste too much of liberals' time and energy debating arguments offered in bad faith. Instead, the key to fighting back is to go meta, by pointing out as often as is necessary, that conservatives resort to such sleazy strategies because they know their arguments can't stand on their own. Going meta instead of taking the bait is the only real way to beat back the trolls.
Six young climate activists are suing the Brazilian government for revising its commitments under the Paris Agreement in a way that allows the country to emit more greenhouse gases, environmentalists said Wednesday.
The lawsuit seeks to annul the revised emissions commitments Brazil submitted in December, which effectively increased the country's 2030 carbon target by more than 400 million tonnes.
The move "is a flagrant violation of the Paris Agreement, which only allows countries to increase the level of ambition of their NDCs (nationally determined contributions), not reduce it," said 24-year-old indigenous activist Txai Surui, one of the plaintiffs, in a statement posted to Twitter by her environmental group, Engajamundo.
Brazil has drawn criticism for increasing its calculation of its emissions in 2005, the baseline year for its targets, from 2.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to 2.84 billion tonnes.
That change -- dubbed the "carbon trick maneuver" by activists -- means the country's carbon-cutting targets of 37 percent by 2025 and 43 percent by 2030 now allow it to emit hundreds of millions more tonnes of greenhouse gases each year than initially pledged under the 2015 Paris deal.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in a Sao Paulo court by Surui and three others from her organization, plus two young activists from the Brazilian chapter of Fridays for Future, the group founded by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg.
It names Environment Minister Ricardo Salles and ex-foreign minister Ernesto Araujo as defendants.
Neither ministry immediately responded to requests for comment.
Environmentalists accuse President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, of gutting Brazil's environmental programs and pushing to open protected lands to mining and agribusiness.
The destruction of the Amazon rainforest, a key resource in the fight against climate change, has surged under the far-right president, fueling Brazil's emissions.
In the 12 months to August 2020, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased 9.5 percent, destroying an area bigger than Jamaica, according to government data.
© 2021 AFP
Speaking at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that courts never fully analyzed former President Donald Trump's claims of mass voter fraud, the Washington Examiner reports.
According to Paul, the merits of Trump's claims were not fully heard.
"The one thing I think is untrue is that the courts fully heard this. Courts have been hesitant to get involved in elections," Paul said.
"The Kentucky Republican said judges need to decide whether officials — like a secretary of state — can make changes to election law without permission from the state legislatures," writes the Examiner's Alex Swoyer. "During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of state officials made changes to election laws ahead of the November election, such as extending the deadline for mail-in ballots."
Paul went on to say that states should pass election laws that declare a secretary of state can't mail out ballots or make unilateral changes outside of the law.
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