Haley and Ramaswamy among those embracing ‘woke ideology’ in SC
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — Republicans seeking to lead their party in the 2024 presidential race are gathering in South Carolina this weekend with one goal at the forefront of their agenda: embracing “woke ideology.”
On Saturday in North Charleston, the Palmetto Family, which lobbies for what it considers “biblical values,” is organizing Vision ’24, described by organizers as “casting the conservative vision” for the upcoming race for the White House. More than 400 attendees are expected to hear from presidential hopefuls, including Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor who was Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UN, and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Organizers expect issues such as gas prices and national security to take center stage. But much of the focus is also expected to be on the pushback by some across the United States against what they perceive as affronts to conservative lifestyles by so-called “woke” efforts. . This plays out in state-level debates about classroom instruction, gender-affirming care for minors, and college diversity programs.
Palmetto Family organizer Mitch Prosser said Vision ’24 promises to be an opportunity for Republicans to pitch their ideas in the state that holds the top GOP primary votes in the South next year.
“You’re going to hear a lot about woke ideology, especially when it comes to kids in school and parenthood,” Prosser said.
The catch-all label is playing a prominent role in the GOP’s burgeoning presidential contest, with pending candidate Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, emerging as a fierce opponent of policies designed to secure fairness in race, gender and public health.
Ramaswamy, who entered the race this month, has written a book on the subject, particularly as it relates to business: “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.”
The debate has also spilled over into the financial space.
On Thursday, 19 Republican governors, including DeSantis and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, another possible 2024 candidate, signed a letter opposing the Biden administration’s support for the federal labor rule allowing pension plans to take consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions. . Critics say the efforts are the latest example of the world trying to “wake up”, allocating money according to political agendas, such as a fight against climate change, rather than earning the best returns for savers.
DeSantis won’t be on stage in South Carolina, but Ramaswamy and Haley will. Haley embraced “strong and proud, not weak and woke” on yard signs, shirts and campaign stickers. At the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this month, she said “revival is a virus more dangerous than any pandemic, hands down.”
For Ramaswamy, being “anti-revival” is central to his political brand. Leaving his biotech company following pressure to “make a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement”, Ramaswamy called CPAC “an opportunity for the conservative movement to rise to the occasion and fill this void with a vision of American national identity that is so deep that it dilutes this woke poison to uselessness.He then launched his own company aimed at pressuring companies to abandon ESG initiatives.
It’s a similar vein of message that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who has yet to announce his own 2024 candidacy but is expected to be in attendance Saturday, has been doing for years. In a 2021 op-ed, Scott wrote that due to his status as the only black Republican in the Senate, he had long endured criticism from “woke people” because “my ideology does not match the one they prescribe based on of my complexion.
Other guests include former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, senses Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan and former Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard . Stumping for GOP Rep. Nancy Mace in November, Gabbard criticized her former party for “trying to force these radical revival policies on us, in every way, in every aspect of our lives.”
Previewing Friday’s event, South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson called the push for the “MAGA agenda” a “dog whistle” to some.
“If they talk about a culture war and wake up, then you don’t care that your rights and freedom to make your health decisions as a woman are taken away from you,” Robertson said, making reference to pushes for more restrictive abortion laws in a number of states. “They want to talk about revival because they’re not able to talk about anything substantial.”
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