Tuesday, June 29, 2021


Is this ... legal?
The South Dakota National Guard is deploying on mission to the U.S. southern border. And the operation is being funded by a billionaire, not the government....

Soldiers will serve on state active-duty orders, meaning that traditionally the state would cover the cost of the mission. However, in this case the tab is being picked up by the private Tennessee-based Willis and Reba Johnson's Foundation.

"The border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide," South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, said in a statement Tuesday.
Whether or not this is legal, it seems wrong to allow a billionaire GOP donor to, in effect, turn a state's national guard into his private mercenaries.

But no Republican voter will find it inappropriate.

We know that, as Amanda Marcotte notes, GOP voters believe only they cast legitimate votes. Democrats don't.
... Trump's Big Lie speaks more to a deeper belief held by the right, which is that they and they alone deserve to rule. Anyone who votes against them, therefore, is inherently illegitimate. As Adam Serwer recently wrote in the New York Times, Republicans view the Democratic coalition of people of color and white liberals as "usurpers" and "Americans they consider unworthy of the name." Their belief that the election was stolen feels true, even if it is not literally true, because they ultimately don't think the people who voted for Biden should have had that right in the first place.
A corollary to this is that if you want a definition of what's legal, permissible, ethical, or consistent with American values, the answer is: whatever Republicans do. If they want this, it can't be wrong.

I should also note that this really isn't about immigration. Governor Noem wants to be elected president or vice president in 2024, and she knows that at least two other equally ambitious governors, Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas, are way ahead of her lately in lib-owning and base-rallying. She's been trying to get the base worked up by complaining that the federal government in the post-Trump era won't allow July 4 fireworks at Mount Rushmore. (Fireworks at the site regularly started wildfires until they were banned starting in 2010; President Trump brought them back in 2020.) This complaint has earned Noem multiple stories from Fox News, but it's not breaking through like stories about vote suppression or critical race theory. So Noem is upping the ante. You can expect an arms race from these three until we learn whether Donald Trump is running again in 2024.

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