The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: ron desantis

DeSantis Campaign Accepts Funds From Donor Who Tweeted Racial Slur Against Obama

Ron DeSantis' campaign had previously said it would not take any money from Steven Alembik.

Steven Alembik, a Republican donor from Boca Raton, Florida, donated $5,000 to Ron DeSantis' reelection campaign for governor last month, after DeSantis' previous campaign for the position, in 2018, had said it would not take any more money from him over his offensive racist comments.

Alembik had in previous years donated more than $20,000 to DeSantis, but had been disavowed by DeSantis' first gubernatorial campaign in 2018 after he tweeted a racist slur against former President Barack Obama, writing out, "F--K THE MUSLIM N----R." In response, DeSantis campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson said in a statement, "We adamantly denounce this sort of disgusting rhetoric." Lawson said that the campaign would not accept any more money from Alembik.

Alembik at first denied that he'd posted the slur, but then switched his story and told Politico, "So somebody like Chris Rock can get up onstage and use the word and there's no problem? But some white guy says it and he's a racist? Really?... I grew up in New York in the ’50s. We were the kikes. They were the n------. They were the goyim. And those were the spics." He said, "I'm an emotional human being. Do I have a filter on what I say? In public, yes. Would I use that word in public? No. This is Twitter."

Alembik was neither the first nor the last person associated with DeSantis to exhibit racist behavior. DeSantis himself said on Aug. 29, 2018, about his Democratic opponent for governor, Andrew Gillum, who is African American, that he would "monkey ... up" the economy.

Subsequently, Florida residents received robocalls from a person claiming to be Gillum, the first Black nominee for Florida governor from a major party, and speaking in what the New York Times called "the exaggerated accent of a minstrel performer" with jungle sounds in the background. The calls ended with a message saying they were paid for by the Road to Power, which the Anti-Defamation League says is an Idaho-based white supremacist and anti-Semitic broadcaster.

In February 2018, Alembik hosted a gala event for a conservative group called the Truth About Israel at Donald Trump's Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago. The resort had recently lost 15 bookings for events following Trump's remarks about there being "people that were very fine people, on both sides" at the white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017. DeSantis spoke at the event at Mar-a-Lago, as did fellow Republican Rep. Brian Mast.

In 2017, DeSantis attended a "Restoration Weekend" gathering organized by David Horowitz, an anti-Muslim activist and founder of the Islamophobic magazine FrontPage and the so-called David Horowitz Freedom Center. Other attendees that year included right-wing figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos, Sebastian Gorka, Steve Bannon, Charlie Kirk, and Devin Nunes.

In April, DeSantis signed the Stop W.O.K.E Act to eradicate so-called critical race theory and "woke" ideology from Florida schools and workplaces. Critics see it as a measure to outlaw the discussion of racial inequality in general.

DeSantis' office did not respond to inquiries from the American Independent Foundation regarding the donation by Alembik.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Florida Court Blocks DeSantis’ Racist Gerrymander Map

A state court judge blocked Florida's new Republican-drawn congressional map from taking effect on Wednesday, ruling that it violates the state constitution because it "diminishes African Americans' ability to elect candidates of their choice." Circuit Judge Layne Smith, who was appointed to his current post by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, further ordered that the state implement a remedial map that restores the Fifth District in northern Florida to its previous Jacksonville-to-Tallahassee configuration and makes commensurate changes to neighboring districts.

At issue is a set of amendments reforming the redistricting process that voters approved in 2010, often known as the "Fair Districts" amendments. These amendments prohibit, among other things, the "retrogression" of minority voting rights in both congressional and legislative redistricting. As ACLU attorney Nicholas Warren explained, "This means no backsliding in minority voters' ability to elect candidates of choice"—which in the case of the Fifth District would mean a Black Democrat.

Indeed, the current representative for the Fifth, Al Lawson, fits that mold precisely. But to maximize GOP fortunes and please his base, DeSantis demanded a map that shattered the Fifth and transformed it from a safely blue district with a 46 percent Black plurality to a solidly red seat with a 67 percent white majority. That, said Smith in an oral ruling from the bench, violated the Fair Districts amendment that governs congressional line-drawing.

Republicans are certain to appeal, so Smith's decision may not stand. But it bears noting that the present east-west version of the Fifth District was ultimately blessed by the state Supreme Court in a 2015 ruling following a successful challenge to the GOP's prior map under the Fair Districts amendment. The high court has grown considerably more conservative since then thanks to appointments by DeSantis and his predecessor, Rick Scott, though as Warren noted, "the anti-retrogression mandate is a clear and uncontroversial part" of state law.

Whether that proves any sort of obstacle to the justices is the key question, though the appellate courts could also rule—as the U.S. Supreme Court regularly has in cases that disfavor Republicans—that it’s too late for Florida to change its map this year. Practically speaking, however, the state has three and a half months to prepare as Florida’s primary is not until Aug. 23.

The remedial plan adopted by Smith leaves the rest of DeSantis' map intact, but several other districts are still being challenged as partisan gerrymanders, which are also barred by the Fair Districts amendment.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

#Endorse This: John Oliver Rips DeSantis Over Disney -- And Explains Why

John Oliver has slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his knee-jerk repeal of Walt Disney Company's special district and tax breaks over the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

“Yeah, it’s true: In the part of central Florida where Disney World is, the company technically functions as a self-contained government, providing essential services — except, crucially, a morgue,” Oliver joked, before noting that the new law repealing its district may violate the contract clause in the Florida constitution. The new Florida law also requires that the surrounding county assume the district’s debt, which is estimated to be upwards of $1 billion for Orange and Osceola counties where Disney World is located.

Previously, DeSantis accused Disney of going “woke” after denouncing “Don’t Say Gay.”

Watch The Entire Segment Below:

Authoritarian DeSantis Tramples On Disney’s Free Speech

When Elon Musk bought Twitter, conservatives were ready to hold a ticker-tape parade. "Free speech is making a comeback," proclaimed Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Fox News host Tucker Carlson exulted in this victory over liberals who are "trying to control what we say and think." Gloated Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, "The Left is terrified of free speech."

But the right's unquenchable ardor for unbridled expression depends on who is speaking and who is trying to stop them. When Twitter de-platformed Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, that was censorship. When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis punishes Disney for daring to oppose his "Parental Rights in Education" law, though, that's what Disney should expect for opening its big mouth.

The law he signed stripped the company of the special self-governing status it has had for 55 years, which enables Disney to handle many functions and obligations normally assigned to municipal governments. A conservative could see that privilege as a commendable way of preventing local bureaucrats from over-regulating an innovative corporation. But Florida Republicans were willing to do that only so long as Disney didn't step out of line.

On the day DeSantis signed the "Don't Say Gay" bill, Disney said the law "should never have been passed" and that it should "be repealed." The governor took great offense at the spectacle of a company that has long enriched the state presuming to question his wisdom.

Not that he minds big corporations involving themselves in political matters. He did not object when Disney contributed more than $100,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis political action committee. But if the company is going to make its views known, they had better align with his.

In their applause for DeSantis, conservatives have been unwilling to consider whether the anti-Disney measure contradicts the basic principles of free expression — and whether it violates the First Amendment. If they did, they would realize the new law is guilty on both counts.

The government does many things for its citizens that it is not required to do and is free to stop doing. Congress could abolish Pell Grants, which pay for college expenses. States can set conditions for eligibility for certain programs, such as requiring anyone getting unemployment compensation to look for work.

But once the government has extended certain benefits, it may not withdraw them from a beneficiary for exercising a constitutional right. The federal government may not revoke a student's Pell Grant, or a worker's unemployment benefits, for making a speech in favor of, or in opposition to, abortion rights or gun control or Joe Biden's immigration policy — any more than it may put them in jail.

The Supreme Court made this clear in a 1958 decision, among others. Back then, California granted property tax exemptions to military veterans, but only if they signed an oath that they did not advocate the use of force to overthrow the state or federal government. The court ruled the loyalty oath unconstitutional.

In language that could have been written with the Disney episode in mind, the court said: "To deny an exemption to claimants who engage in certain forms of speech is, in effect, to penalize them for such speech. Its deterrent effect is the same as if the State were to fine them for this speech."

DeSantis and his accomplices made little effort to conceal their illegitimate motives. "You're a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you're going to marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state?" he said. "We view that as a provocation, and we're going to fight back against that."

Said GOP Rep. Randy Fine: "It's time for them to remember that we are not California. And they are a California company. And we're not interested in their California values here in this state."

But the First Amendment says Californians can preach their values in all 50 states. Same goes for Floridians who venture beyond their own borders.

You can't pretend to be a champion of free speech while deploying the power of government to exact vengeance against people who disagree with you. Florida never had to grant a special taxing district to Disney. But having chosen to do so, it may not revoke it in political retribution.

DeSantis and Co., who regard the guardians of Mickey Mouse as woke, immoral and hostile to Florida values, are entitled to trumpet their views till their tonsils fall out. But here's the thing about freedom of speech: Disney gets to do the same.

Printed with permission from Creators.

Why DeSantis' Disney Vendetta Enrages True Conservatives

On Friday, April 22, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ended the special tax and self-governing privileges that Disney has enjoyed in the Sunshine State for 55 years — a move designed to punish Disney for coming out against the state’s homophobic, transphobic “Don’t Say Gay” law. DeSantis’ vendetta against Disney is drawing criticism not only from Democrats, liberals, and progressives, but also, from some Never Trump conservatives —including journalists David French and Charlie Sykes.

French, in an article published by The Atlantic on April 22, slams the support that DeSantis’ actions are getting from fellow MAGA Republicans as a total flip flop for the GOP. And Sykes, in his April 24 column for The Bulwark, argues that DeSantis’ anti-Disney campaign isn’t about “working class populism” as some are claiming — it’s about revenge.

French recalls that when San Antonio Democrats went after Chick-Fil-A in 2019, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was quick to rise to the company’s defense — in contrast to all the Republicans who, in 2022, have no problem with DeSantis punishing Disney.

“One of the bewildering things about being a conservative in a populist age is the sheer speed at which populists will shift their opinions, including on allegedly bedrock constitutional values, to satisfy the popular bloodlust of the moment,” French writes. “I’m old enough, for example, to remember all the way back to 2019. In March (2019), the San Antonio City Council voted to bar Chick-fil-A from San Antonio International Airport. The reason? It opposed Chick-fil-A’s alleged ‘legacy of anti-LGBT behavior.’”

French continues, “Republicans were rightly furious at the decision…. Texas acted quickly to protect liberty, and in July 2019, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called Save Chick-fil-A bill into law, declaring that ‘Texas protects religious liberty,’ and ‘no business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization.’”

French, known for his work with the National Review, argues that Abbott’s defense of Chick-F-A in 2019 is quite a contrast to DeSantis and other Republicans wanting to “punish” Disney in 2022.

“Let’s fast-forward three short years and move states, from Florida to Texas,” French writes. “The Florida legislature raced to pass a law revoking the Walt Disney Company’s special tax status. The reason? Florida, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is overtly and explicitly attempting to punish Disney for the company’s opposition to Florida House Bill 1557, which bans ‘classroom instruction’ on ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ in kindergarten through third grade and in a manner that isn’t ‘age appropriate or developmentally appropriate’ in all grades, K–12. Florida became San Antonio, except on a much bigger scale, to thunderous online right-wing applause.”

French notes that the Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and radio host Hugh Hewitt are among the right-wing media figures who have been applauding DeSantis for attacking Disney, arguing that they are “dead wrong” on this issue.

“In their crackdown on ‘wokeness,’ they’ve become exactly what they once opposed — fierce partisan warriors who’ll forsake the Bill of Rights to reward their friends and punish their enemies,” French says of Republicans. “With the passage of Florida’s bill targeting Disney, it’s unambiguous now. As the right cheers Ron DeSantis, it is forsaking the First Amendment.”

Like French, fellow Never Trumper Sykes is vehemently critical of DeSantis’ anti-Disney move. Sykes, in The Bulwark, argues that it “massively misses the point” to say that DeSantis’ willingness to go after Disney underscores the GOP’s shift to a more “populist” outlook.

“Florida Republicans made no secret of their motivation here: it was payback, and a mailed-fist threat to other businesses who might engage in wrongthink,” Sykes stresses. “Until about five minutes ago, conservatives were not merely pro-free market, but were adamant in their belief that corporations had constitutionally protected free speech rights; see Citizens United. Conservatives were rightly outraged when illiberal progressives kicked Chick-Fil-A out of airports because of the political activities of the restaurant’s owners.”

Sykes continues, “The cases of Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cake Shop were rallying points for the defense of conscience, and both businesses were vindicated in court. But the New Right has executed an extraordinary pivot: It is now fully on board with state retaliation against private companies who engage in disfavored political speech.”

Printed with permission from Alternet.

‘Pro-Business’ Wingnuts Laud Vindictive Crusade Against Disney Company

Right-wing pundits and figures lauded Republicans in the state for passing a bill designed to financially punish the company for its opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill

Republican lawmakers in Florida followed through with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ threat to strip Disney of its special self-governing status in the state, passing Senate Bill 4-C along party lines as part of their onslaught against the company for opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. Conservative media pundits and figures celebrated DeSantis “laying waste to Disney,” saying SB 4-C, which could potentially cost taxpayers in the state $1 billion, was the result of the company “completely hew[ing] to the demands of the woke universe.”

The measure was signed into law by DeSantis on Friday, with DeSantis saying he was “not comfortable having that type of agenda get special treatment” in Florida. It will eliminate special tax districts in the state established before 1968 — a designation limited solely to the district in which Disney World has operated since 1967. Prior to 2022, Republicans did not oppose tax incentives for Disney in Florida, with DeSantis approving more than half a billion dollars in tax breaks for the company. That changed following the company’s eventual opposition to the Republican Party’s drive to eliminate discussions of LGBTQ topics from public education.

Some journalists have remarked on the apparent hypocrisy of Republicans — a party historically associated with corporate interests that regularly bills itself as pro-free speech — attacking a company for taking a stance on civil liberties. Appearing on CNN, Business Insider’s Linette Lopez remarked that this “punitive punishment for Disney not agreeing with Ron Desantis” showed the “GOP is changing its tune” on the issues once central to its identity.

In reacting to SB 4-C passing, right-wing media and figures placed blame for this latest escalation on Disney, a company that is listening to its employees by standing up for LGBTQ youth, rather than on the party bent on escalating its feud with one of the state’s largest employers. The same commentators continued their anti-trans and homphobic campaign of labeling supporters of LGBTQ inclusion in education and the media as “groomers,” falsely claiming Disney and its supporters thought “kids should be learning about sex changes and gender fluidity at the age of 8.” The vague wording of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law means that it could be applied to teachers and students well beyond age 8.

  • On Fox News’ Jessie Watters Primetime, guest host Brian Kilmeade claimed Disney had a “problem” with DeSantis because he “doesn't think kids should be learning about sex changes and gender fluidity at the age of 8.” Watters said DeSantis was “not backing down” and Florida was “punching back even harder” by stripping Disney of its special status, calling it a “stunning blow to the company.”
  • Later in the show, right-wing radio host Clay Travis said Disney had “just completely hew[ed] to the demands of the woke universe” by opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, adding that “there's no reason for them to be trained in sexual orientation or taught it.” Travis said DeSantis was “going to throw a punch back at you, Disney, and you're going to have to take it.”
  • In an op-ed for Townhall titled “Laying Waste to Disney,” senior columnist Kurt Schlichter said Disney was “follow[ing] the urges and urgings of a bunch of blue-haired weenies with weird piercings who want to groom your children to make them gender non-binary, otherkin weirdos,” adding, “Ron [DeSantis] is not having it. Ron does not play that. Ron exercised his own kind of power.”
  • Matt Walsh opened an episode of his Daily Wire podcast by saying, “Now that the anti-groomer bill has been passed in Florida despite the pro-grooming efforts of Disney, Republicans in the state have moved on to punishing and exacting revenge on Disney. Some milquetoast conservatives are uncomfortable with this, but I think it's great.” Also during the episode, which is titled “It’s Time To Take Revenge On Disney,” Walsh claimed the company was “fully in favor of and committed to the sexual indoctrination of children” and had “proved itself to be an enemy of Florida parents and parents across the country and around the world.”
  • Right-wing radio host Joe Pags tweeted, “Maybe Disney should stop pushing sex, sexual orientation, sexual preference and gender ID. Kinda what got them to where they are to begin with right? Act like Walt is still alive.”
  • Brittany Hughes of the Media Research Center, a right-wing organization opposed to LGBTQ representation in the media, tweeted that “Disney chose to vocally and publicly side with radical leftists who want to teach other people's kids about sexual attraction and gender-bending,” adding, “Take them down.”
  • On the April 21 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said Disney had “ruined the greatest deal, the sweetest deal, ever” as part of the “clash between Gov. DeSantis and Disney over gender and sex education.” Doocy later chastised Disney leadership for opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, saying, “If you are a stockholder of Walt Disney, you got to be wondering why have they gone so woke because this could impact my savings and stock holdings in your company.”
  • Later in the episode, Fox & Friends brought on Turning Point USA’s Rob Smith, who said, “Gov. DeSantis is really putting Disney, and by extension a lot of these other woke corporations, on notice that they really should not be involved in these sort of culture war issues that the left always wants to drag them into.” Smith claimed Disney’s vocal opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was “really, really damaging Disney's brand” and claimed that “a lot of corporations are going to be looking at this and saying, when the next thing comes around, I'm not getting involved.”
  • Joseph Backholm, a senior fellow for the extremist anti-LGBTQ group Family Research Council, suggested that the bill was passed “all because they aren’t allowed to talk to six year-olds about sex.”
  • Federalist Senior Editor John Daniel Davidson wrote an article titled “Gov. DeSantis Is Right To Attack Disney. Republicans Everywhere Should Follow His Lead” in which he wrote Disney “should be prepared to pay a heavy cost” for “[coming] out publicly as a very real threat to Florida parents who don’t want their second-graders instructed about sexual orientation and gender identity.” Later Davidson applauded the state’s GOP lawmakers, adding, “Finally, DeSantis and Florida Republicans have taken the enemy at their word, and responded in kind.”
  • On the April 21 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Fox News contributor Guy Benson claimed that “the left” had “bull[ied] institutions and corporations into following [its] will on various things” and asked if SB 4-C was “a way for Republicans in Florida to remind Disney, ‘Actually, hey, we have clout, too. And if you’re going to just, you know, thumb your nose at us, things might happen that you might not like.”

Printed with permission from Media Matters.

Randy Rainbow Has A Very Brief Word For DeSantis

Randy Rainbow has a message for Ron DeSantis that could upset the trying-to-be-trumpier-than-Trump governor's fragile sensibilities. Another brilliant -- and may we say beautifully sung -- video from America's favorite satirist. He gives the Florida Governor all the respect he deserves. DeSantis' attempts to exploit homophobic bigotry and fear are certainly not going unanswered.

As Randy says, "Let's bask in the splendors of all shades and genders!"

Watch 👇🏼 and enjoy.

The Right-Wing Scam Mafia Comes For Mickey Mouse

When Disney responded to internal dissent by publicly condemning Florida’s passage of its discriminatory Parental Rights in Education law, the company ran into a right-wing media buzzsaw following a familiar strategy.

Here’s how their approach works. The right-wing propagandists first aggressively smear an existing institution — in this case, Disney — as excessively liberal in order to drive conservatives away from it. That incentivizes the institution to move to the right to preserve its customer base and prevent political blowback from Republican politicians. The right-wingers pair their demagogic critique with the creation of new, explicitly ideological counter-institutions to capture the business — and money — of the wayward conservative customers.

The right has used the same set of tactics against a variety of institutions and companies, notably the press and social media platforms. As I’ve written before about this right-wing “con culture”:

Outlets and personalities use ideological, often paranoid, political coverage to build connections with their audiences. They convince those audience members that mainstream information sources that present contradictory narratives can’t be trusted. And then they bilk those marks for all they are worth.

Now, this right-wing apparatus has come for Disney. All this week, right-wing media outlets have overwhelmingly focused on the company as they try to extract a price for its call for the repeal of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. While conservatives dishonestly portray the law as enacting a narrow ban on teaching “sex-stuff” in kindergarten through third grade, its deliberately vague language could implicate a wide array of discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity across grades. Groups like the Trevor Project have criticized the bill for its potential to silence teachers and have a chilling effect on LGBTQ youth.

Fox mentioned “Disney” more than 350 times and in over three hours of coverage this week. Its commentators claimed the company is “grooming” and “sexualizing children” in order to push a “progressive LGBT agenda.” Neither the bigoted anti-LGBTQ animosity nor the strategy was particularly subtle:

The second shoe dropped Thursday when The Daily Wire, the right-wing digital, streaming, and podcasting empire fronted by Ben Shapiro, announced that it was investing $100 million over three years in animated and live-action children’s entertainment. The announcement had been moved up in response to Disney’s criticism of the “Don’t Say Gay” law, Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing told an employee town hall.

“Americans are tired of giving their money to woke corporations who hate them,” Boreing explained. “They’re tired of giving their money to woke media companies who want to indoctrinate their children with radical race and gender theory.”

Two things stand out about this move.

First, when right-wing media figures like Shapiro denounce Disney, they are building a potential audience of conservatives who will instead give their money to Shapiro’s employer. That creates an obvious incentive for those commentators to blow every perceived difference with Disney wildly out of proportion for profit.

Second, while the critique of Disney has little to do with its content, the new alternative is explicitly right-wing. Boreing isn’t saying there’s something wrong with features like Encanto or Moana; he’s trying to harness resentment over the company’s public statements to garner an audience for his competing product. The Daily Wire’s programming for children, however, promises deliberate right-wing messages.

Conservatives frequently deploy this strategy of tearing down a nominally nonpartisan institution as excessively liberal while offering up an explicitly right-wing alternative.

Republican activists, politicians, and conservative media outlets spent decades telling conservatives that the mainstream press is liberal and deceitful, with a particular inflection point during the civil rights era, when journalists were condemned for producing critical reporting about segregation. GOP political operative Roger Ailes took advantage of the opportunity created by the ensuing conservative distrust of the mainstream press when he co-founded Fox News and explicitly branded it as a “balance” to other, presumably leftist, outlets.

Fox and its political and media allies relentlessly highlight supposed excesses of the mainstream press. This is in part an often-successful effort to “work the refs,” criticizing those outlets in order to secure from them more favorable coverage of Republican and right-wing figures and causes. But it is also a business strategy: By presenting other media outlets as corrupt and liberal, explicitly right-wing outlets like Fox help secure a hammerlock on right-wing audiences. Indeed, the greatest threat to Fox’s market share comes from right-wing competitors who try to run the same strategy against it.

The right ran the same play against social media platforms. Right-wing commentators at Fox and elsewhere and Republican politicians baselessly claimed that Facebook and other platforms were biased against conservatives. By turning that lie into a universally held belief on the right, they were able to pressure those companies to take favorable actions. The Daily Wire in particular took advantage of that ref-working to get special dispensation to break Facebook’s rules and become much more influential than it otherwise would have been.

Meanwhile, right-wing entrepreneurs spun up explicitly right-wing alternatives to the major social media platforms, albeit with varying degrees of success. Twitter analogues like Trump’s Truth Social, Trump aide Jason Miller’s Gettr, and white nationalist hangout Gab have been failures to varying degrees. Rumble, a video-sharing platform that functions as a right-wing alternative to YouTube, has been much more successful, thanks in part to financing from the billionaire Peter Thiel and support from right-wing commentators like Fox’s Dan Bongino.

Right-wing media are creating a new type of consumer who builds their lifestyle around “lib-owning” by driving their audiences away from legacy brands and toward explicitly right-wing ones. These “lifestyle conservatives” favor Fox News over CNN and Rumble over YouTube. They buy right-wing razors and right-wing children’s books. Instead of listening to medical experts and taking COVID-19 vaccines, they take ivermectin; instead of making more traditional investments, they buy gold.

It’s all a con designed to channel culture war issues into Republican votes so the party can redistribute wealth upward, while also funneling cash to the party’s propagandists. And now that con is coming for Disney.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters for America.