While Republicans are increasingly split on the war in Ukraine, the party, led by Donald Trump, is also increasingly united on issues relating to transgender people. Even Trump is probably starting to realize that talking only about how he was robbed of victory in 2020 isn't going to be enough to get the GOP nomination and certainly not enough to win a general election. Now that conservatives got what they wanted on abortion, he and the Party need some new policy issue that they all agree on and which they believe will be popular with the voters. They think they have found one and Trump is leading the charge on it. Expect the other candidates to follow soon overtly.
Trump presumably knows that LGBQ rights are no longer a good issue, as most Americans have accepted the idea that gay people are around to stay and that who someone loves is really only a matter for the lover and lovee. And maybe their videographer, depending on how they swing. The government doesn't have to interfere other than getting rid of laws that, well, interfere. But going from LGBQ to LGBTQ is a whole other ballgame. Republicans can read polls. Here's one that asks whether society has gone too far accepting people who are transgender:
The main takeaway here is that Republicans, especially religious Republicans, think society has gone too far accepting trans people. That certainly means they don't want to go further and probably means that want to repeal some of the protections already in place. This is precisely the kind of culture-war issue that riles up the base and gets them to the polls. By talking about how much they support women's sports teams and safety in public restrooms, they are virtually forcing the Democrats to take positions that the blue team believes in but are not popular with a fair number of voters.
Anti-trans feeling among many different demographic groups is increasing over time. Here is another chart:
Republicans have long been looking for a way to lure Black voters. Maybe this issue is the way. The border wall never turned the Black folks on at all, but this might do the job, as many Black voters are religious and the Jesus never suggested that picking your gender was up to you.
Other polls confirm the findings above. One poll of American adults last summer showed that 60% oppose including options other than "male" and "female" on government documents. Another showed that 58% said people should not be allowed to compete on sports teams reserved for people of the sex not shown on their birth certificate.
Another sign that Republicans see being anti-trans as a winning strategy comes from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)—and he isn't up for reelection until 2028! He is about to introduce a bill to bar trans people who have sought or obtained gender confirmation surgery from serving in the military, although there are some specific limitations to the ban. Rubio said: "Joe Biden has turned our military into a woke social experiment. We need to spend more time thinking about how to counter threats like China, Russia, and North Korea, and less time thinking about pronouns." Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who is running for a vacant Senate seat in 2024, will introduce a companion bill.
Another Republican who is hopping on the anti-trans bandwagon is Gov. Tate Reeves (R-MS). The state legislature just passed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors and Reeves will sign it. He said: "Sterilizing and castrating children in the name of new gender ideology is wrong. That plain truth is somehow controversial in today's world. I called for us to stop these sick experimental treatments and I look forward to getting the bill."
Will this new strategy work? We don't know but given all the polling on the subject, it will certainly be a winner in Republican primaries and maybe in general elections as well. In any event, expect it to be a major issue in 2024. (V)