by Tom H. Hastings
The 2024 Republican presidential primary is really shaping up.
Amongst the randos running, the race to the bottom is now underway.
Trump says he thinks the US should default and take our chances with triggering a depression rather than roll back the tax breaks for the uber rich that he pushed through when he occupied the White House.
DeSantis just signed legislation that bans investing in clean energy in Florida, a signal to the rightwing base that he is fighting the horrible woke agenda of Biden and the like, and that supporting dirty energy is his standard-bearing position. Burn, baby, burn.
And of course, DeSantis is battling every way that people of color, nonbinary, queer, trans, and others who aren’t of his race or sexual identity/orientation might be considered human beings worthy of human rights. His framing is an attempt to make the hate that Trump overtly champions as acceptable. Dogwhistle DeSantis. Down with Disney.
Nikki Haley is a classic politician willing to flip views as she feels the wind shifting, being in favor of the Confederate flag as governor of South Carolina, taking it down from her state’s Capitol after the horrific slaughter of Black congregants and their minister by a twisted young racist, but then telling her constituents that it was fine to fly the battle flag of the slave states on their private property. And first, in 2016, she opposed Trump, then she served him as an ambassador, and now she declares him unfit.
Tim Scott, from the same state and a declared Republican 2024 presidential candidate, joins the rest of the Republican leaders in flipping and flopping on abortion, also using the wet-finger test as the country struggles to adjust to Republican bans, restrictions, and criminalization of reproductive rights. Scott has multiple answers to forthright questions by journalists on all of this, including what nationwide measures he would sign into law as president. The overturning of Roe v Wade by a Trump-packed SCOTUS is making Republican candidates squirm and hide from an outraged majority of the voting public.
Others, declared or getting toward possible official entrance into the primary race–Pence, Ramaswamy, Hutchinson–aren’t polling at even 10 percent, while Trump is still far ahead with some 53 percent of Rs in his corner.
As a peace-oriented person, I have some issues with Joe Biden. As a justice-oriented and environmental protection-oriented person, I largely support his actions and agenda.
We all have a lot to think about as we watch the campaigns ramp up toward their crescendo in 534 days. What sort of leadership makes sense to you?
Dr. Tom H. Hastings is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University, PeaceVoice Senior Editor, and on occasion an expert witness for the defense of civil resisters in court.