ICYMI: 2024 Republicans Too Focused On MAGA To Solve Problems For The American People
June 27, 2023
The slate of Republicans running for the highest office in the country is more preoccupied with catering to right-wing media and the fringes of their base than delivering solutions for the problems working families face. Whether it’s Americans choking on wildfire smoke or dealing with kitchen table issues, the GOP field has no plans to actually address real issues in this country.
Key Point: “With this many candidates, you might assume that Republicans were fighting over a broad range of different ideas and competing solutions to the nation’s most serious problems, of which there are more than a few. But they aren’t. Instead, Republicans are studiously focused on the fever dreams and preoccupations of right-wing media swamps while showing an almost total indifference to the real world.”
New York Times Opinion: Republicans Serve Up Red Meat for a Reason
By Jamelle Bouie
- There are, as of Saturday, at least 13 people running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination: former President Donald Trump; his U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, his vice president, Mike Pence; Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida; Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota; the former governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas; Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina; the former representative Will Hurd of Texas; Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami; and the entrepreneurs and media personalities Vivek Ramaswamy, Perry Johnson and Larry Elder.
- With this many candidates, you might assume that Republicans were fighting over a broad range of different ideas and competing solutions to the nation’s most serious problems, of which there are more than a few. But they aren’t. Instead, Republicans are studiously focused on the fever dreams and preoccupations of right-wing media swamps while showing an almost total indifference to the real world.
- Consider the wildfires.
- This month, because of unusually strong and destructive fires in the Canadian wilderness, much of the U.S. Northeast was blanketed with smoke and other pollutants. In the worst-hit areas, such as New York City, public health officials urged residents to either stay inside or use masks when venturing outdoors.
- This is what climate crisis looks like. Rising average temperatures mean drier conditions, increased drought and greater accumulation of the organic material — dead and dying trees, leaves and shrubs — that fuel wildfires. And this is on top of emissions produced by cars and other vehicles in an economy that still runs on fossil fuels. For many Americans, in other words, it takes little more than a glance outside the window to see a major problem of national consequence.
- President Biden issued a statement on Twitter, pledging assistance to the Canadian government as it fought to contain blazes and connecting the increasing strength, length and frequency of wildfires to climate change. “We’ve deployed more than 600 U.S. firefighters, support personnel and equipment to support Canada as they respond to record wildfires — events that are intensifying because of the climate crisis,” he said.
- Missing in the discussion of what to do about the wildfires — and how to equip the country for future climate emergencies — is the entire Republican presidential field. There’s been no serious attempt to speak to the reality that millions of Americans have been exposed to dangerous amounts of air pollution and that this will only worsen in our continued climate crisis. No grappling with the fact that wildfire haze over the past several years has erased nearly two decades of clean air gains across the country.
- But we do have their previous statements on climate change. Trump appears to think that climate change is a hoax. “In my opinion, you have a thing called weather, and you go up, and you go down,” he said in a Fox News interview last year. “If you look into the 1920s, they were talking about global freezing.” As president, he rolled back more than 100 environmental regulations.
- His closest rival for the nomination, DeSantis, has called the concern over the climate a “pretext” for “left-wing stuff” from activists who are trying to “smuggle in their ideology.”
- Pence and Scott do not deny that climate change is real, but they consistently downplay the extent of human responsibility and the severity of the effect on the environment. And in a testament to their overall indifference to the problem, both of them want to expand U.S. production of fossil fuels. “From banning gas stoves to blocking vital pipelines, the far-left’s energy policies are completely unrealistic,” Scott said on Twitter this month. “The American people know the solution to affordable energy is simple: stop the radical climate agenda and start unleashing our domestic energy supply.”
- Haley and Christie have also acknowledged the existence of man-made climate change; they just don’t think the government should actually do anything about it. And Ramaswamy has denounced climate activism as a secular “religion.”
- You get the picture. In the face of a real crisis, the would-be leaders of the United States have no real plan.
- You can go down the list of issues. What do the Republican presidential candidates have to say about gun violence and mass shootings? Well, Haley, at least, says that we need to end “gun-free zones” and consider the use of “clear bulletproof tape” in schools. Beyond that, she and her rivals have had nothing substantive to say. Child poverty? Nothing. Mental health care? Very little in the way of actual policies.
- Red meat is what Republican voters want. And even Trump — who will say anything to win the approval of a crowd — is a little shocked by it. “It’s amazing how strongly people feel about that,” the former president said this month, referring to critical race theory and transgender issues. “I talk about cutting taxes, people go like that. I talk about transgender, everyone goes crazy. Five years ago, you didn’t know what the hell it was.”