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DeSantis Previews His Presidential Campaign in His State of the State Speech

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) gave his state-of-the-state address. The speech was essentially a dress rehearsal for his presidential stump speech. Executive summary: I made Florida conservative again and I can do it for the whole country.

Some of the high points of his speech were:

  • I pushed back on the biomedical security state (e.g., no masks, no vaccine mandates, no school closures)
  • I banned woke culture
  • I rejected advice from the "experts"
  • I ignored the elites
  • Florida is doing great and people are flocking here

It sounds a lot like Donald Trump, only formulated more sharply and better focused. This is a result of DeSantis having seen where Trump succeeded and where he failed, his being smarter than Trump (two Ivy League degrees is better than one), and his being a much better politician. He also can point to many more "successes" than Trump (e.g., making Disney back down), in no small part because he very carefully picked battles that he knew he could win (e.g., getting a law passed censoring books in school libraries). That is a lot easier than promising a 1,000-mile wall in very difficult terrain and getting Mexico to pay for it.

The speech was on the occasion of the start of the 2-month legislative session. Florida already has enough laws, so the legislature meets only 2 months a year to consider new ones. Since DeSantis' staff writes the bills, all the legislature has to do is have a few quick legislative committee meetings and then bring the bills to the floor for approval. That doesn't take much time. DeSantis wants new laws allowing open carry of firearms, tort reform, taxes, and banning the Chinese government from buying land in Florida. All of the laws are designed to give the governor something to brag about during the primaries. One of his main themes will be: "Trump had good ideas, but he didn't deliver on them. I delivered in Florida and I can deliver in the White House."

He didn't talk much about abortion, but less than an hour after his address, Republicans in the state House and Senate introduced bills to ban abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy. Those bills may not move quickly, though, because there is an abortion-related case pending in the state courts and the president of the state Senate would prefer to see how that plays out before changing the law. If it needs to be tweaked to make it acceptable to the courts, that can be done before passing it.

In the coming weeks, DeSantis is planning to visit New Hampshire and Iowa to road test his speech. Then when he officially announces in May or June, he will have it fine tuned to get lots of applause. Trump will get a run for his money. He has never faced any opponent who is going to try to outflank him on the right, who is extremely well prepared, and who is willing and eager to fight dirty. Trump may or may not fully understand this, but he has hired some experienced advisers, especially Susie Wiles, who is an expert on Florida politics, and they know what is coming. They know that Trump cannot bully DeSantis as he did Jeb! and Little Marco. DeSantis is a tough as nails and much better focused that Trump himself. It will be quite a battle. (V)

Biden Proposes Increasing Medicare Tax for High Earners

Joe Biden understands that Republicans are going to attack him on the campaign trail for letting Social Security and Medicare go bust (even though they are actively trying to destroy them). He is already working to defeat that argument by proposing a fix for Medicare to keep it solvent for at least 25 more years. He wants to increase the Medicare payroll tax from 3.8% to 5% for people earning over $400,000 per year. The new rate would apply to both earned income and passive income (e.g., interest and dividends).

The plan also requires that pharmaceutical companies pay more into Medicare when they raise their prices faster than inflation. It also caps the cost of certain drugs at $2/month and expands Medicare's power to negotiate drug prices.

Biden clearly understands that saving Medicare and reducing costs of medicine is potentially a winner with seniors. He also knows that when the proposal is turned into a bill it will fail in the House and be filibustered in the Senate if it is also introduced there. Getting a law passed now isn't the goal. He knows which party will oppose all these nice goodies for seniors and will surely mention that a few times on the campaign trail. His message to the seniors will undoubtedly be: "Vote a straight Democratic ticket so we can do all these things for you." Republicans will rant that Biden is a socialist, but no doubt at least some seniors will be thinking "If socialism consists of saving Medicare and lowering my cost of medicine, maybe that isn't so bad." So this is not a serious legislative proposal for this session of Congress, but something to whack the Republicans with when they kill it.

Biden's budget for 2023 will be released today. It is expected to cut the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years. It will have some higher taxes and also cut some wasteful spending, something Republicans are always demanding. Only Biden's idea of wasteful spending is giving money to Big Oil and Bog Pharma, which probably isn't every Republican's idea of wasteful spending.

Presidential budgets rarely pass Congress unscathed, especially when the opposition party controls one of the two chambers. Nevertheless, House Republicans can't just remove everything they don't like because the budget also has to pass the Senate. It will be a nasty battle between the upper and lower chambers. (V)

Trump Is Considering Four Women for Veep

Axios has a scoop on who Donald Trump is considering for his running mate. According to Axios' sources, Trump knows he has a massive problem with college-educated suburban women and is thinking about how he can fix that, especially since the Democratic veep candidate is almost certainly going to be a woman (i.e., Kamala Harris). The sources say Trump is seriously looking at these women, each of whom has different strengths and weaknesses from his point of view.

  • Kari Lake: Her biggest plus is that she claims he won the 2020 election and she won the Arizona gubernatorial election. She is clearly willing to mouth any lie he wants her to mouth. That is a huge plus, at least from his point of view. If he makes his preference for her known during the primaries, that could be a plus with blue-collar women, but probably not so much with college-educated women because they are largely registered as independents or Democrats these days and thus don't vote in Republican primaries. Maybe Trump thinks Lake will help him in the general election, though. However, those college-educated suburban women are one of the smartest demographic groups out there. Are they really going to vote for Trump because he picked someone who is clearly lying through her teeth as his veep? We doubt that they will fall for it. Also, if Lake becomes veep, she will instantly start her 2028 campaign for president and may try to upstage Trump. He hates anyone upstaging him.

  • Nikki Haley: On paper, Haley is probably the most qualified of the bunch to take over the big job if Trump has one portion of fries too many. She was a member of the South Carolina House, governor of the state, and ambassador to the United Nations, so she has legislative, executive, and foreign policy experience. She is also the daughter of immigrants, which might get him some votes among immigrants (although that is somewhat neutralized by Harris' immigrant background). He biggest liability is that she is not 100% MAGA and Trump won in 2020 rah rah rah. She could suddenly become that, but it would be noticed and people would see here as a phony. As far as we can see, Trump does not really like her the way he likes Lake. But the #1 doesn't have to like the #2 (see: Kennedy, John Fitzgerald).

  • Kristi Noem: Another governor, like Haley, but she is already auditioning for the job by saying exactly the things Trump love to hear. She also has a decent résumé: member of the South Dakota House, U.S., House, and governor, but Trump doesn't really care about that. What he likes is her very aggressive Trumpishness. Also, he probably rates her much higher on a scale of 1 to 10 over Haley because her ancestors came from Norway, not some "sh**hole country, like Haley's did." Note that we're not meaning to imply here that Trump is kind of racist. We're trying to state it outright.

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders: We can't believe this is serious. But the Axios report is from Mike Allen and he is plugged in as well as anyone in D.C. this side of Maggie Haberman. So, Trump is undoubtedly at least considering her. Her biggest plus is her amazing ability to lie about anything with a straight face, something she demonstrated as White House press secretary. She also demonstrated that nepotism is alive and well in Arkansas. After all, her only qualification for being governor is that her father used to be governor. That is one step below Sarah Palin, who was at least a mayor before she became governor. Nepotism is something that Trump well understands and no doubt she gets points for taking full advantage of it. If he picks her, the Democrats are going to say that she makes Palin look like a heavyweight.

Our take is that Lake is a sore loser, which Americans don't like, Haley is unlikely to be Trump's choice because of her lack of enthusiasm for election denial and her heritage. Sanders is totally and completely unqualified to become president on a moment's notice if it comes to that. That leaves Noem as the most logical choice, since she is both very Trumpy and has both legislative and executive experience. She doesn't have any foreign policy experience, but she can surely pick a suitable secretary of state and let the secretary handle foreign policy. Or she can just leave Trump's pick in place. (V)

Republican States Are Leaving ERIC

Get this. Republican states that constantly whine about (virtually nonexistent) voter fraud are leaving the main organization that combats voter fraud. This is ERIC, the Electronic Registration Information Center. ERIC is responsible for interstate coordination to prevent people from voting in more than one state. When someone moves from one state to another, they typically register to vote in the new state but usually forget to deregister in the old one. This leaves open the possibility of voting twice. ERIC helps the states cross check to make sure people are registered in only one state. It also helps purge dead people from the voter rolls since many people forget to deregister just before dying.

Florida, Missouri, and West Virginia have announced that they are pulling out of the group. Alabama and Louisiana pulled out last year. Still, over two dozen states, both red ones and blue ones, are still in it. Given how much Republicans claim that voter fraud is rampant, dropping out of the primary organization actively trying to prevent it seems a bit hypocritical.

Much of the problem is centered around one of ERIC's other tasks: encouraging EBUs to vote. What are EBUs, you might ask? These are Eligible But Unregistered voters. ERIC's bylaws state that members are expected to contact all the EBUs in their state every 2 years to ask them if they would like to register. To some extent, this activity could increase voter turnout and that is anathema to Republican politicians, even though studies have shown that the EBUs tend to break the same way as the registered voters. They are not all lazy Democrats, but the Republican secretaries of state in the above five states aren't taking any chances, so they want out.

Another issue is ERIC's board. It is made up of one senior official from each member state as well as a few ex officio members. Republicans want to eliminate the ex officio members because one of them, David Becker, has been a vocal defender of election security in 2020 and 2022 and has loudly said that there was virtually no election fraud either year. Since some of the secretaries of state are election deniers themselves, they don't want to hear this and want to get rid of Becker.

Interestingly enough, in 2019, Ron DeSantis pushed for Florida to join ERIC after former governor Rick Scott had opposed it. As late as last summer, DeSantis praised ERIC for helping to catch voter fraud. But now working with Democrats on anything, even catching voter fraud, is unacceptable to the base, so out goes Florida. All of the other secretaries of state were caught off guard by Florida's announcement that it is leaving.

It is possible that some of the Republican-controlled states may set up their own organization. This one might not only pursue illegal voting, but maybe legal voting as well. Who knows? (V)

Supreme Court May Cripple the CFPB

The current Supreme Court is always keen on overturning laws signed by Democratic presidents. It may soon get a chance to hugely weaken one of them. The upcoming case is about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whose job is to ride herd on businesses that mislead or scam consumers on financial matters (e.g, predatory lending where the loan conditions are deeply hidden in a massive contract). It was the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and was signed into law by Barack Obama. Warren was also the first director of the agency (this was before she was a senator). A recent poll showed that 80% of Americans approve of the organization, but that doesn't matter if five or six members of the Supreme Court do not approve of it.

Going after scammy businesses requires a big staff of investigators and lawyers, and that costs money. A typical investigation the CFPB did is one in which Wells Fargo unlawfully repossessed vehicles, froze accounts, and charged overdraft fees even when customers had sufficient funds in their accounts. The CFPB collected so much evidence of the bank's wrongdoing that in December it agreed to pay $3.7 billion rather than go to trial. That took a lot of legwork.

Congress created the CFPB, so the Court can't just kill it off outright. It's opponents, namely the banks, payday lenders, credit card companies, and other financial players, know that. So their goal is: Defund the CFPB. Consequently, the legal case hinges on its funding mechanism. Most federal agencies get an annual appropriation from Congress. The CFPB gets its funding from the Federal Reserve. The conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has already ruled that this funding is unconstitutional. Republicans hope the Supreme Court will uphold the Fifth Circuit. If the decision is sustained, the CFPB will still exist on paper, but won't have much money to hire staff to actually look for scams and prosecute cases. For the financial firms, this will do until a future Republican trifecta eliminates the Bureau entirely.

But wait. The CFPB is small potatoes. Many other federal agencies are also funded by various methods other than an annual appropriation from Congress. If the Supreme Court rules that Congress does not have the authority to pass laws funding agencies by any mechanism other than by an annual appropriation, then a huge number of Executive agencies will be effectively defunded. Also not funded by annual appropriation? Congress itself. It's set up that way so it can keep working on the annual budget when, inevitably, it fails to pass the annual budget in time. So, maybe it will have to shut down.

Needless to say, there is nothing in the Constitution stating how Congress must fund agencies, so it might seem odd that the Supreme Court suddenly discovered that only one mechanism is constitutional. If Congress decided that some other mechanism was appropriate, where does the Court get the power to say Congress can't do that? Answer: We have six votes saying we have the power. The case is known as CFPB v. CSFA. (V)

Newsom Boycotts Walgreens

On Monday. we had an item on how Walgreens has decided to stop selling the abortion pill mifepristone in states where the (Republican) AG doesn't want them to sell it, even though states have no authority to unapprove drugs the FDA has approved. As a result, some pro-choice supporters have urged a boycott against Walgreens for its cowardice. The idea is that if the financial hit for dropping mifepristone is big enough, the company might decide to change its mind.

A guy in California thought a boycott was a splendid idea. His name is Gavin Newsom. You might have heard of him. He is the governor of the state. Earlier this week, he said: "California is reviewing all relationships between Walgreens and the state. We will not pursue business with companies that cave to right-wing bullies pushing their extremist agenda or companies that put politics above the health of women and girls." Newsom wants to find out how much stuff California buys from Walgreens and look for alternative suppliers. If that requires a new law stating that bidders on state contracts that supply medicines to, say, Medi-Cal, must offer all FDA approved medicines, Democrats have enough votes in the state legislature to pass something along those lines. Then Walgreens will have to decide if it is willing to forgo a large chunk of business to placate anti-abortion activists.

Newsom is a potential presidential candidate in 2024 if Joe Biden declines to run and a potential 2028 presidential candidate if Biden does run. He understands that standing up to companies that cower before right-wing bullies is going to be a selling point in the Democratic primaries, whenever he runs. Just as Ron DeSantis is going to run on what he delivered, Newsom would love to be able to say: "I forced Walgreens to back down and sell the abortion pill, even in Repiblican-controlled states."

Newsom is definitely not an all bark, no bite, kind of guy. Late yesterday, he suspended a $54 million contract between Walgreens and the state of California. Just in case Walgreens didn't get the point, he noted that California has one of the largest economies in the world and "we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose." Take that Walgreens! Now Walgreens is the one who is going to have to choose.

Oh, and one other thing. Walgreens is headquartered in Illinois and Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) said that he was going to have a little chat with the company's CEO later this week. If all the big blue states follow California's lead, Walgreens is going to have an Excedrin-extra-strength headache. Fortunately, they sell that product in all states. (V)

Poll: Trump Crushing DeSantis in New Hampshire

A new Emerson College poll of New Hampshire Republicans has Donald Trump at 58% and Ron DeSantis at 17%. The state's governor, Chris Sununu (R) came in third at 7%. Nikki Haley was fourth at 6%. For Haley, that's pretty good.

What is a bit surprising is that Sununu has an approval rating of 64%, yet he couldn't even hit 10% in the primary poll. If that continues, he won't even be a favorite-son candidate who can use his delegates to bargain with the leading candidates.

Trump is also doing well in other state-level polling. For example, a Roanoke College poll last week had Trump ahead of DeSantis by 11 points in Virginia.

Does that mean Trump will coast to the nomination? Maybe, but remember, if Trump is indicted in Georgia—and possibly convicted—before the primaries start, that could cause some people to change their minds. In addition, if Fox News goes all in for DeSantis, that could matter. Finally, other candidates, like Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), could jump in.

Ronald Brownstein of CNN has analyzed the crosstabs of recent Republican primary polls and concluded that the Republicans have a "wine track' and a "beer track," just like the Democrats. Trump has an ironclad hold on the beer-track voters—that is, blue-collar workers without a college degree. All the other candidates, including Nikki Haley, Chris Sununu, Glenn Youngkin, and the Mikes Pence and Pompeo, all get their support from wine-track (i.e., college educated) Republicans. But there aren't enough of them left in the GOP to win a primary, as large numbers of college-educated voters have moved off to the Democrats. If the beer-track voters have one candidate and the wine-track voters are split six ways, then Trump wins. It couldn't be plainer. The only chance the college-educated Republicans might be able to beat Trump is to consolidate around one candidate before the voting actually starts. That could happen, of course, since a year of polling showing DeSantis as the only viable Trump opponent might do it. (V)

Democrats Are Worried about a "No Labels" Third-Party Ticket

Democrats love to worry. It is their nature. One of their new worries is about the centrist group "No Labels," which is toying with the idea of running a unity ticket for president. Such a ticket would have a Democrat and a Republican on the ticket. Just as a thought experiment, imagine former Maryland governor Larry Hogan (R) for president and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) for vice president.

No Labels hopes to raise $70 million from people who believe "Why can't the parties just work together?" Short answer: Because they want contradictory things. It is also busy trying to get on the ballot in swing states, where it could matter.

Democratic groups think that such a fusion ticket would pull in many more conservative Democrats than liberal Republicans because the latter are a nearly extinct species. Consequently, there is a chance that No Labels could act like a spoiler and potentially elect Donald Trump again, something the group does not want. Consequently, the decision to go forward might be canceled if polling showed that its main effect was to reelect Trump.

This Democratic fear is not unfounded, since No Labels is specifically targeting "double haters," that is, people who dislike both parties. In particular, it is planning to target states that Joe Biden won in 2020. Undoubtedly No Labels knows that it is never going to win Texas, but Michigan and Georgia are potential wins for it. Whether this threat materializes depends on: (1) how the campaign materializes, (2) how the funding goes, and (3) whether the group can find plausible candidates. So far, Hogan and Manchin are noncommital about their potential interest. To make a dent, the group would have to find a well-known Democrat and a well-known Republican willing to play spoiler. Hillary-Jeb! 2024? (V)

Doug Mastriano Is Weighing a Senate Run

Extreme right-wing candidate Doug Mastriano, who was crushed by now-Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-PA) last November, is currently weighing (well, technically, praying for guidance about) a run for the seat of Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). If God says "Go, Doug, Go!" he could jump in. Mastriano, we mean, not God. Mastriano was able to get the Republican nomination last time and stands a good chance to get it again, unless Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) picks someone else and pours tens of millions of dollars into the primary to defeat Mastriano. However, while McConnell is not averse to picking candidates, he surely knows that beating a popular three-term incumbent Democrat in blue state will be very tough even with a perfect candidate, so he might prefer to write off Pennsylvania and concentrate on Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Mastriano is saying that 2.2 million people voted for him (800,000 fewer than voted for Shapiro), so he has a future in Pennsylvania politics. But God gets to decide first and then his wife (Mastriano's wife, not God's wife) gets to make the final call.

As is common with ultra-MAGA politicians, Mastriano has few contacts with Republican politicians other than Donald Trump. In fact, many of them blame him for the Democrats' clean sweep of the state, winning not only the governorship, and the Senate seat, but also a majority of state House contests. This means he won't get any help from the Republican establishment. If God and Mrs. Mastriano want him to run, he'll jump in. No doubt there will be others as well. One possibility is Dave McCormick, a resident of Connecticut, who ran for the GOP nomination for the Senate in 2022 and lost out to Mehmet Oz, a resident of New Jersey. McCormick never really acted like he wanted to be a senator and was more cajoled into running than anything. Whether he would try again, against another Trumper, remains to be seen. But probably not, especially when unseating a long-time incumbent is very difficult.

Mastriano is hoping God and the wife give him the green light because he is already holding rallies. He was confident that he would win last time. It didn't happen last time and it won't happen this time, in part because the Republican establishment will almost certainly oppose him in the primary. But a guy can always hope. (V)

Why the Trans Hate?, Part III

We have gotten so many messages about trans hate that we're going to keep this going for at least a few more days. Again, we take this as evidence that the subject is of interest. If it's not your bag, then you can always skip over these items.

In yesterday's entry, we had a few folks that offered up criticism of the movement for trans equality. We're going to start with some more of those, because we would not want to be an echo chamber or to be building a bubble, and we believe that if we're going to do this thing, then we need to include many and varied viewpoints (as long as those viewpoints don't cross the line into being abusive). And with that preview, away we go:

  • L.E. in Putnam County, NY: We do not characterize laws against public drunkenness or drunk driving as stemming from hatred for alcoholics, or laws against stealing as motivated by hatred for kleptomaniacs. And only if we are Donald Trump do we identify the root cause of people insisting on valid election results in which Donald Trump was defeated not being overturned because they displease Donald Trump as that they "hate Trump."

    If people were infallible judges of themselves and their actions there would be no need for laws or governments, whatever anyone did would be right. But not all desires are equally worthy or all decisions equally wise.

    Among the most obvious mistake anyone can make is to insist that they are of the sex opposite to that dictated by their genes, and to insist that it is in fact a mistake is not a matter of "hatred" for those who are, and therefore necessarily have a positive need to stop, making that mistake. It is concern for their well-being, no matter how bitterly resented, just as an alcoholic may hurl charges of "hatred" at those who withhold his liquor bottles.

    Those who defend playing along with claims to be of one's genetically-disproven sex take comfort in painting those who insist those claims be corrected as motivated by hatred, but this is simply not the case. Neither is it hatred to deny the amputation of healthy limbs of those with BIID, or to implacably declare human those who are passionately "Otherkin" or "Therians."

    As ever, I remain a pro-abortion-rights,anti-death-penalty, never-religious lifelong Democrat.

  • R.C. in Madison, WI: You have published several positive responses to the letter of a month ago from P.R. in Arvada. I take it the responses which were not positive were deemed bad and/or thoughtless.

    For example, did no one ask what right an atheist (P.R.) has to tell religious people how to interpret their religious texts? P.R. wrote, "Maybe there is something about it in the Bible or another religious text but surely there are worse things people do." P.R. should ask J.E. in Manhattan, who wrote on January 1, "The Bible is very clear that gender-non-conforming people should be killed (in both the Torah and New Testament, the penalties for homosexuality are clear and explicit)." And I didn't have to look hard to find Deut 22:5, "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this."

    I also note the end of the item where you quote the governor of Mississippi: "Sterilizing and castrating children in the name of new gender ideology is wrong." Apparently, if I agree with this I hate trans people. Fortunately I do disagree with it, specifically with the part that implies scenarios where sterilizing children is OK. And your readers will say that it doesn't happen, but right-wing publications like The New York Times report that it's becoming common to perform mastectomies on trans adolescents who were AFAB. I recall one your readers writing that these procedures will not performed on minors without a thorough psychological evaluation, and later I read in the Times that experts involved in updating the WPATH guidelines are seeking to remove the recommendation for psychological evaluation of minors seeking to transition. I don't see any lines here that people aren't willing to cross.

    The juxtaposition of your items suggests that I hate trans people if I deviate at all from a maximal pro-trans position. The arguments for that position include the following from R.L. in Alameda: "no parent is transitioning their son into a daughter in order to win a state championship." If that's the case, then the daughter could compete against the boys and you shouldn't have a problem with policies restricting girls' and women's sports based on, for example, the indicator on the athlete's original birth certificate. You might respond, quoting S.O. in Springfield, MO on January 1, "there is simply no test they can adopt that will not bite them in the rear." Really? There's no way to distinguish Caitlyn Jenner from someone who was AFAB? Any test we adopt will allow men to compete in women's sports? Then why do we even try to segregate sports? If I ask these questions, you say I hate trans people. I can't imagine why that would discourage anyone from voting for Democrats.

  • L.J.D. in Orlando, FL: I was reading Wednesday's edition and came across the letter from B.P. in Pensacola. I have one thing to say to you, B.P.: THANK YOU

    As a fellow Christian, I find the hate thrown at the trans community by "evangelicals" to be disgusting. I also hope no one believes that being Christian means hating others. Jesus' example to humanity was humility, compassion, understanding, tolerance, and most importantly, love. He never would have condoned or accepted the hate that these people have suffered. I'm happy to see another brother (or sister) in Christ speak up and say this is not acceptable.

    I think the root of the hate stems from one main point: ignorance. People don't really understand what being trans is about and just revert to a baser instinct, which is fear and hate. In no way can I speak to the experiences of the people in the trans community since I am not trans. Nor can I speak to the effects they have on others as I don't know anyone who has come out as trans. But I have tried to read up on what being trans actually is. The more I read, the more knowledge I gained and could better empathize with their situation.

    One focus in particular I've found intriguing is genetic mosaicism. As the name implies, a person with genetic mosaicism has more than set of genes in their body. Genetic mosaicism starts in the womb. It has happened to the person before they are even born. This concept shoots down several reasons that people hate on the trans community. Clearly, these people aren't being groomed by Democrats. How the *%&! do you groom someone in the womb? Additionally, how can you paint these people as a detriment to society when they haven't even entered society?

    But people don't want to educate themselves on it. They just hate what they don't know. It's similar to how there's more racism among white people in rural areas than urban ones, because rural folks don't connect with Black people that often. There's so many aspects of life that fear creeps into our mind because we don't try to learn what it is we're afraid of. My $0.02.

  • E.D. in Saddle Brook, NJ: You wrote: "Jesus never suggested that picking your gender was up to you." Being a virgin birth, Jesus would have had one X chromosome and no Y chromosome. That would make Jesus female, but Jesus presented as male and went by he/him pronouns. Jesus wasn't the "do as I say, not as I do" type, so I'd take that as a strong suggestion in favor of picking your gender.

  • B.C. in Phoenix, AZ: I'm always amused by the way Christian Righties and Christian Lefties try to massage scripture in order to support their opposing stances. Transgender people have been around since forever, but the Bible is silent about them. Christian Righties have taken that as a cue to lump them in with homosexuals, and have condemned them with all the passages from the Old Testament about "abomination this!" and "abomination that!" Christian Lefties grab the New Testament and use a "throw the first rock if you're guiltless" routine that requires a level of reading-between-the-lines skill that I simply don't have.

    How our religion says we should treat trans folks is actually what this whole social contest is about. I'm lucky that I'm an atheist because I can always just say "Leave people alone! Nobody has the right to dictate who you should be or who you should love, so you don't have the right to dictate it to anybody else!"

    That being said, nobody is gonna dictate to me what pronouns I need to use when the topic requires gender references. If you look female, I'm going to use "she," "her" and "hers." If you look male, I'm going to say "he," "him" and "his." "They," "them" and "theirs" is reserved for groups, not individuals. I've been speaking and writing English following those rules for way too long to change. Atheism, for me, is part world view and part rebellious nature, and in all my years I've only identified a single drawback with this belief system: I know that dirtbags like Tucker Carlson won't burn in

  • L.C. in Brookline, MA: Several people have blamed the hate directed against trans people on "bad marketing" or some such thing by the trans activists. I think that this is unfair to the trans activists who have been trying to fight what was already a tide of hate and outright discrimination directed at them. What they do are at worst mild annoyances, perhaps not said in the best of judgment, but understandable from their efforts to survive in a world flooded with a toxic mix of the rigid conservative ideas about gender roles (going way back before transgender people were mentioned much) and the hatred of conservatives for anyone who tries to get out from under the rigid gender roles they impose. Trans people are not unique in being targeted by conservatives this way—it's just that conservatives have decided that trans people are currently the easiest target. And then the conservatives engage in the bad marketing.

  • J.S. in Germantown, OH: There are few arguments that drive me into a frenzy more than the one spouted by M.H. in Seattle: "If one is concerned about rape culture, it is not unreasonable to ask that women's restrooms be penis-free zones." Really?!?!?! If one is concerned about rape culture, it is completely unreasonable to think that a man who is willing to rape a woman would be stopped by a law preventing him from wearing a dress in a women's restroom.

  • C.Z. in Sacramento, CA: I found it sad, but typical of the way this now male-oriented website has been trending, that you completely ignored the fact that yesterday, March 8, was International Women's Day. Instead, you chose to focus on the 5% of Americans who identify as transgendered, rather than the 50.8 % who are women, in answer to the question from a reader about "why people hate trans people so much?" So, my question is: "Why do people hate women so much?"

    American women's rights to control their own bodies were pushed back 50 years in a single day, thanks to the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v Wade, thereby allowing the states to outlaw abortion. But that was not far enough for right-wingers, who evidently want American women's rights to be pushed back 150 years. Per Wikipedia, "the Comstock Act of 1873 criminalized any use of the U.S. Postal Service to send any of the following items: obscenity, contraceptives, abortifacients, sex toys, personal letters with any sexual content or information, or any information regarding the above items... The restrictions on birth control in the Comstock laws were effectively rendered null and void by Supreme Court decisions Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972)." Right-wingers like sexual harasser and Supreme Court associate justice Clarence Thomas now want to overturn both Griswold and Eisenstadt, thereby making birth control illegal. (Not to mention sex toys, condoms, porn, and romance novels.)

    When women don't even have control over their own bodies, they instantly become second-class citizens, who are therefore easily ignored, and discriminated against in all other facets of their lives.

    I'll save you the trouble of sending this out to the readers for comment, and answer my own question. Why do people hate women? The right-wing's focus on eliminating abortion and birth control has nothing to do with religion or the sanctity of life and everything to do with power. It's all about controlling and dominating women, who though they may be less muscular than men, actually control the most important factor determining the success of a civilization—reproduction. The right-wing-nuts want to deprive women of their "god-given" right to control whether or when to give birth, all in the name of their "god." Huh?

Tomorrow will be all responses from trans and nonbinary readers. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Mar08 You've Aggravated Everyone and His Mother, Tucker
Mar08 Time to Expand the House?
Mar08 Don't Doubt that DeSantis Is for Sale
Mar08 The Decline and Fall of Twitter?
Mar08 Tennessee Bans Drag Shows
Mar08 Why the Trans Hate?, Part II
Mar08 The Word Cup, Part XIII: Group F vs. Group H (Presidential Candidates, 21st Century)
Mar07 Who Is Winning the Capitol Hill Game of 3-D Chess?
Mar07 Let the Foxlighting Begin
Mar07 The First Rule of the Insurrection...
Mar07 Republicans Are United on Their Views of Transgender People
Mar07 Why the Trans Hate?, Part I
Mar07 Johnson Who?
Mar07 The Word Cup, Part XII: Group F (Presidential Campaigns, from World War II to the End of the 20th Century), Round Two
Mar06 How Trump Will Deal with DeSantis
Mar06 DeSantis Attacks Potted Plants
Mar06 Trump's Opponents Take Swipes at Him at CPAC
Mar06 Trump and Fox News May Soon Be at War
Mar06 Republican Field Grows... and Shrinks
Mar06 Manchin Won't Decide about Running for Reelection until December
Mar06 Minnesota Expands Voting Rights for Ex-Felons
Mar06 Democrats Rebut Weaponization Subcommittee
Mar06 House Republicans Introduce "Parents' Bill of Rights"
Mar06 2024 Has a Couple of Anniversaries
Mar06 Walgreens Won't Distribute Abortion Pills in Republican-Controlled States
Mar06 Biden Had a Basal Cell Carcinoma Removed Last Month
Mar06 The Conways Are Splitting Up
Mar05 Sunday Mailbag
Mar04 Saturday Q&A
Mar03 Schumer, Jeffries to Fox: Knock off the Propaganda
Mar03 CPAC Is Underway
Mar03 RNC To Require Loyalty Pledge
Mar03 Florida Gone Wild
Mar03 Feinstein Has Shingles
Mar03 This Week in Schadenfreude: You Could Make an Omelet with all the Egg on Gaetz' Face
Mar03 This Week in Freudenfreude: A Smalls Change Is a Big Deal
Mar02 DeSantis' New Book Gives Away His Platform
Mar02 Primary Polling Is All over the Map
Mar02 Reagan Is Dead, but What about Reaganism?
Mar02 Republicans Take on Wall Street
Mar02 Whither Social Security?
Mar02 Abortions in Space Are a Thing
Mar02 Slotkin's Move Has a Downside for the Democrats
Mar02 Texan Bans Pork
Mar02 Liz Cheney Has a Job
Mar01 A Hotfoot for Lightfoot
Mar01 So Su Me?
Mar01 What Is the Plan, Republicans?
Mar01 What Is the Plan, Ron?
Mar01 Follow the Money