Georgia’s race for governor perfectly reflects the degree to which the classroom has become a conservative battlefield.
On Sunday, Republican candidates gathered for the third and final debate ahead of the May 24 primaries. Some have propagated the lie that Donald Trump won in 2020, and called for tighter security in the election (another way to articulate a desire to suppress votes). Some opposed Covid’s mandates (especially masks) and sparked fears of rising crime.
There were obligatory mentions of “waking up the crowd” and occasional mentions of George Soros. There was even a reference to the “communist, liberal, leftist agenda of the Green New Deal.” (One candidate suggested that the government was pushing Chinese solar panels to Georgian farmers as part of its “communist” agenda.)
But most of all the focus was on the alleged indoctrination of children in schools.
I’m not sure Liberals and Democrats fully appreciate the degree to which Republicans are pushing for parental rights to bring back some white women from the suburbs who left the party during the Trump years.
Democrats are waving their lists of politicians at voters, like smug children waving homework. But instead of praise and stickers, they are met by the electorate, in which an alarming number do not look at the facts and are electrified by emotions – fear, anger and envy.
There were five candidates on stage during the debate, and four of the five – including incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp and his main rival, former Sen. David Purdue – talked about teaching in the classroom.
As Kemp said, “We’re going to make sure this year we pass a bill to keep our kids from being taught in class. That we protect them from obscene materials and much more. “
Purdue went even further: “Now the first thing we can do for our teachers and parents and above all our children is to bring the waking crowd out of our schools in Georgia. I mean, that’s what’s happening now. We are at war for the minds of our children. If they are trying to teach first-graders to choose their gender, that’s what we have to face. “
Another candidate, Candice Taylor, herself an educator, went even further. “We have not only CRT and SEL and comprehensive sex education that teaches our children transgender perversions,” she said, referring to critical racial theory and socio-emotional learning, “we also have anti-racism that was not resolved by the current administration. It has captured our schools and it is ruining the students. It spoils the environment. “
SEL is a method of learning that studies show can improve performance. But it is a practice that conservatives are suspicious of, thinking it could contribute to lessons about race and gender. May God make children more emotionally intelligent. Their empathy can grow, and with it a better understanding of others. So I can understand why it annoyed the oppressors.
In her concluding comment, Taylor emphasized her inflammatory language: “We will make sure that boys are not in our girls’ bathrooms, and girls are not in our boys ’bathrooms, and people are not raped. And we will get rid of the educators in kindergarten – men with beards, lipstick and high heels – who teach our children. We will return to morality in Georgia. “
As a white woman and mother of three, Taylor is in a demographic that Republicans are trying to attract. But it is also an almost perfect encapsulation of party parties.
During the debate, she rebuked Kemp for not challenging the results of 2020 in Georgia, saying: “Donald Trump has won. He won. There is a fraudulent pedophile in the White House because Governor Kemp has failed. ” The idea that the country is ruled by pedophiles who worship Satan is a central belief of QAnon.
The day after the debate, Taylor tweeted a caption video that read in part: “I am the ONLY candidate, brave enough to stand up to Luciferian Kabbalah. Choose me governor of Georgia and I will kneel under the satanic regime …
When sinister music is played in the background, it goes from satanic cabes to human sacrifices, saying, “In biblical times, human sacrifices were a form of demon worship. We are still doing this now, killing our unborn. These are demons. This is the same sacrifice. This is a sin. Just another time. “
She is supported by Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, who supports Trump, and L. Lynn Wood, Trump’s lawyer, who developed irrelevant conspiracy theories about stealing Trump’s 2020 election.
It may be tempting to laugh at people like Taylor, as marginalized candidates and thinkers, but Republicans have a way of turning the ideas of these people – purged of their authors – into the mainstream. Even if the messenger is wrong, the party often sees the message as correct.
Perhaps the fact that the Supreme Court seems ready to overturn Rowe against Wade will drastically change the outcome of this year’s election by pushing women – including many white women from the suburbs whom Republicans are so desperate to win – to vote against Republicans in protest. Maybe.
This could affect not only the party alignment, but also the turnout.
But Republicans have been campaigning for parental rights for more than a year, so I doubt their strategy will change much. The question will be whether the oppression of women will outweigh what Republicans are pushing for: oppression as a parental right.