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Republicans Are Doubling Down on ‘Woke’ While Americans Are Telling Them ‘It’s the Economy, Stupid’

AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

Apparently, I’m not the only one who sees that Republican candidates basing their platforms on being “anti-woke” might be making a mistake. With the GOP presidential primaries heating up, many of those vying for the nomination have gone this route, betting that the backlash against the hard left’s fixation with pushing its ideology on the rest of us will help them garner enough support to win the White House.

Recently, Fox News host Laura Ingraham posted a tweet responding to an article about former President Donald Trump’s criticism of the electric vehicle industry.

“Biden is a catastrophe for Michigan and his environmental extremism is heartless and disloyal and horrible for the American worker and you’re starting to see it,” Trump said in front of a crowd at the Oakland County Republicans in Michigan.

“Driven by his ridiculous regulations, electric cars will kill more than half of U.S. auto jobs and decimate the suppliers that they decimated already — decimate the suppliers, and it’s going to decimate your jobs and it’s going to decimate more than anybody else, the state of Michigan,” he continued. “It is going to be decimation. It’s going to be at a level that that people can’t even imagine.”

Ingraham posited an important question: “Why don’t other Republicans talk about jobs like this? The top issues are inflation and economy—not ‘woke’-ism.”

She’s right.

Polling suggests that voters’ top priorities are the economy, inflation, and a host of other critical matters:

Overall, 75% of Americans say strengthening the economy should be a top priority this year, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 18-24, 2023, among 5,152 U.S. adults. The public continues to express negative views of national economic conditions, despite continued job growth and signs that inflation may be easing. Just 21% rate economic conditions as excellent or good, which is only a slight increase from October (17%).

Aside from the economy, no single policy area stands out. About six-in-ten rate several issues as top priorities: reducing health care costs (60%), defending against terrorism (60%), reducing the influence of money in politics (59%), reducing the budget deficit (57%), reducing crime (57%) and improving education (57%).

About half of Americans (53%) say reducing the availability of illegal drugs, including heroin, fentanyl and cocaine, should be a top priority for the president and Congress. Similar shares say the same about dealing with immigration (53%), improving the energy system (52%) and improving the job situation (49%).

Despite what the data shows about the issues about which Americans are most concerned, several presidential candidates like Vivek Ramaswamy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and others are centering their messaging efforts on wokeism. Much of the focus has been on the education system, where efforts to promote ideas related to critical race theory and transgenderism have sparked a fierce backlash.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a 37-year-old entrepreneur seeking the Republican presidential nomination, has made anti-wokeism a key part of his platform, vowing to eliminate affirmative action. If you were to play a drinking game where you have to take a shot every time DeSantis says the word “woke” in an interview, you would probably die of alcohol poisoning.

If the polling is accurate, this means that these candidates, along with plenty of other GOP leaders, are not focusing on the problems that are plaguing Americans the most. What are their plans for improving the economy and undoing the damage President Joe Biden and Democrats have caused? How will they get people back to work and ensure people are not paying exorbitant prices at the grocery store? What about other issues like crime, healthcare, and immigration?

These are the questions to which Americans want answers. Responding to these concerns by incessantly shouting about wokeism is not going to cut it.

Of course, this is not to say that issues pertaining to the woke agenda are not important. I’ve written and spoken about it on plenty of occasions. Certainly, we need to stop progressives from infusing their LGBTQ ideology into schools, the military, and other important institutions. We definitely have to continue fighting the culture war. But if conservatives want to wrest control of the government from the left, they will need to go beyond opposing wokeness and offer solutions to address the concerns of everyday Americans, such as economic hardships, education, and public safety.

Unfortunately, it seems that most of these individuals have not yet figured this out.

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