Thursday, May 25, 2023


Ron DeSantis's campaign launch on Twitter was so embarrassingly bad that it almost has me rooting for Donald Trump as he kicks the governor while he's down.

I even enjoyed the following video, despite the fact that it includes that awful Lee Greenwood song (if you watch any of these videos, be sure to hit "cancel" after watching to turn off endless autoplay):

But here's a video Trump posted last night on Truth Social that was clearly made before the DeSantis launch disaster happened. It makes no mention of the technical glitches. It's too elaborate to have been put together in a couple of hours.

And it's batshit crazy:

In the video, DeSantis and Elon Musk are joined on Twitter Spaces by the following, who are all meant to be read as conspirators against Trump: George Soros, Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, Dick Cheney, Adolf Hitler, Satan, and a representative of the FBI (who says, "Okay, so how are we going to take out Trump, you guys?" and then leaves when told it's a public conversation). It's played for laughs, and I don't know how many people take it literally or seriously, but I suspect that quite a few Trump supporters think there's some truth in it. As Stuart Thompson of The New York Times wrote about DeSantis earlier this month:
To some, he is “Ron DeSoros,” a puppet of the Democratic megadonor George Soros. To others, he is “Ron DeSatan,” a vaccine-supporting evildoer. And to still others, he is “Ron DePLANTis,” a “plant” of the so-called Deep State.

As the governor of Florida — real name Ron DeSantis — explores a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he has made overtures to supporters of former President Donald J. Trump. But he is finding that the conspiracy theories and outlandish attacks that Mr. Trump and his allies have aimed at rivals for years are coming for him as well.
And why not? The Republican Party is full of conspiracy nuts. Here's one:
Last week, Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) announced that he had appointed Laurie Cardoza-Moore to serve on the Tennessee Standards Recommendation Committee to oversee “Social Studies materials being reviewed for use in classrooms statewide.” ...

Sexton appointed Cardoza-Moore to important positions shaping state educational standards despite her repeated embrace of conspiracy theories. Over the years, Cardoza-Moore has promoted claims that 9/11 was an "inside job," that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, and that January 6 insurrectionists were actually “Antifa.” In 2011, Cardoza-Moore claimed that former President Barack Obama was causing "horrific tornadoes" because he made a speech that discussed the plight of Palestinians....

Cardoza-Moore is the founder and president of the nonprofit Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), a Christian Zionist organization that claims to fight the “global war against antisemitism.”

... when reviewing a textbook passage, PJTN “suggest[ed] removing” a sentence stating that “members of al-Qaeda carried out” the September 11 attacks. PJTN cited a “plethora of evidence” for the suggested removal, stating, “This is a highly contested (per [A]rchitects and [E]ngineers for 9/11 Truth, and demolition experts) argument.” Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth was a group that falsely claimed that 9/11 was an "inside job" because they believed the impact of the planes into the World Trade Center towers could not have resulted in their collapse.
Then there's Daily Salinas, the Miami woman whose complaint about an Amanda Gorman poem got it age-restricted in one Florida school. Salinas has links to Moms Against Liberty and the Proud Boys -- and there's this:
Months before a Miami-area mother persuaded a local school to restrict access to an Amanda Gorman poem, she was posting antisemitic memes on her Facebook page....

“I want to apologize to the Jewish community,” Salinas told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday. She was saying sorry for a Facebook post she shared in March offering a summary of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” ...

Salinas’ post about the Protocols included a list of steps depicting how “Jewish Zionists” would achieve world domination. The graphic included stages such as “Place our agents and helpers everywhere,” “Replace royal rule with socialist rule, then communism, then despotism,” and “Sacrifice people (including Jews sometimes) when necessary.”

Reached by JTA on Wednesday, Salinas confirmed that the post about the “Protocols” was hers and apologized for it, saying she hadn’t read it beyond the word “communism.”
And we mustn't overlook Kandiss Taylor:
Kandiss Taylor, a recently elected GOP District Chair in Georgia, would like to know why Big Globe won’t stop shoving round-Earth propaganda down our throats.

In an interview with David Weiss (AKA “Flat Earth Dave”) and Matt Long on her “Jesus, Guns, and Babies” podcast, Taylor and her guests discussed biblical “evidence” that the Earth is actually flat as a pancake. “The people that defend the globe don’t know anything about the globe,” said Weiss. “If they knew a tenth of what Matt and I know about the globe they would be Flat Earthers.”

“All the globes, everywhere” Taylor said later in the discussion. “I turn on the TV, there’s globes in the background ... Everywhere there’s globes. You see them all the time, it’s constant. My children will be like ‘Mama, globe, globe, globe, globe’ — they’re everywhere.”

“That’s what they do, to brainwash,” she added. “For me if it’s not a conspiracy. If it is real, why are you pushing so hard everywhere I go? Every store, you buy a globe, there’s globes everywhere. Every movie, every TV show, news media — why? More and more I’m like, it doesn’t make sense.”
I've written about Taylor before. Last year, when she was running in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia, she made a campaign promise to destroy an eccentric monument in the state known as the Georgia Guidestones, a group of engraved slabs whose recommendations, particularly about population ("Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature"), she linked to abortion and COVID vaccination -- and the devil.

Taylor lost the primary badly -- she received 3.7% of the vote, far behind incumbent governor Brian Kemp, who won 73.7% -- but then declined to concede. (The primary was "rigged," she insisted.) A couple of months later, an explosion destroyed one of the monument's slabs, and the rest were subsequently demolished.

The Trump video and the Cardoza-Moore, Salinas, and Taylor stories were all published within the past 36 hours. Stories about Republican conspiracy nuts are almost as common as mass shootings.

Even people who don't follow politics closely associate Republicans with pro-gun activism, tax cuts for the rich, resistance to climate-change mitigation, and opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights. Why isn't it common knowledge that Republicans are extremely susceptible to insane conspiracy theories? Why, even after the rise of QAnon, isn't the GOP seen as the wackjob party?

The Democratic Party and the media need to do a better job of telling Americans who Republicans really are. They're not traditionalists. They're lunatics.

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