Tag: turning point usa
If Black Voters Abandon Biden, What Will They Get Instead?

If Black Voters Abandon Biden, What Will They Get Instead?

Should Donald Trump win the presidency in November, he will probably owe his victory to Black and Hispanic voters. If that prediction startles you, then perhaps you haven't been reading the most recent polls. Trump is maintaining a small but persistent lead over President Joe Biden in national averages — and the apparent reason is that those minority voters, who voted overwhelmingly Democratic in 2020, show much less enthusiasm for Biden in this election.

Waning support for the incumbent among his own partisan base appears to cross racial, generational and geographic lines, with many asking whether he should have stepped aside by now. Others blame him for inflation, although prices spiked across the developed world after the pandemic. But the dramatic decline in Black support for Biden is deeply puzzling — especially when the only alternative is returning Trump to power.

Exactly how Biden has disappointed those voters remains mysterious, given his own political history and behavior. He was the loyal vice president of America's first Black president and chose a Black woman as his running mate. He has named many Black appointees to top positions in government, including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Other than Barack Obama, he is the most outspoken opponent of white supremacy ever to occupy the Oval Office.None of that appears to have made any impression on a substantial segment of Black voters, however, especially among the youngest — whose alienation is now growing because of Biden's support for Israel in Gaza. (One wonders what they, or anyone planning to abandon the Democrats over that conflict, believe Trump would have done or will do in such circumstances.)

But let's ask the question a different way and forget about Biden for a moment. What would happen to Black America — and other minorities in this country — if Trump regains power in 2025?

Begin by glancing back to the time when Trump entered presidential politics, even before he came down the escalator in his gilded tower to slander Mexicans as rapists and murderers. He first signaled those ambitions with his conspiratorial campaign claiming that Obama was not a native-born citizen, and therefore ineligible to be president, but a secret immigrant from Kenya. It was a big lie, the precursor of many more to come, culminating in the very Big Lie that the 2020 election had been "rigged" against him. And it was a racist falsehood, calculated to evoke the ugliest kind of hostility among the Tea Party Republicans who later swarmed into Trump's MAGA cult.

Since then, Trump has demonstrated repeatedly how he uses racial tension to promote himself and his politics. It is a habit that recalls his aggressive campaign to execute the since-exonerated Central Park Five, young Black men falsely accused of a gang rape, and continues today when he ridiculously proclaims that he could have "negotiated" the Civil War, a conflict over human bondage that was not subject to compromise.

The future that a Trump presidency would portend is bleak indeed for a diverse and multicultural democracy whose citizens hope to move forward together, not backward in division. Turning Point USA, the MAGA "youth wing," will mark Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday this month with an expensive campaign to demonize him and to persuade Americans that the landmark civil rights legislation he helped to win was "a huge mistake," according to its leader Charlie Kirk.

Kirk has used his organization and his close connection with Trump to enrich himself and his cronies, but that is hardly the worst of his offenses. His forthcoming crusade to roll back civil rights will be overseen by someone named Blake Neff, a Turning Point staffer who once worked on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show — until the exposure of his voluminous racist and misogynist online messaging. Try to imagine how bad those had to be for a Fox executive who described them as "abhorrent" when the network announced Neff's dismissal.That the Trump movement would aspire to repeal the Civil Rights Act, after everything their leader has done to undermine the rights of minorities and women, shouldn't surprise anyone who has been paying attention. "Make America Great Again" always carried a dubious undertone, loudly hinting this county was better when we lived under the stale hierarchies of a bygone century.

Come November there will be only one effective way to reject that mentality and its implications for us and our children. No American of good will, regardless of race, creed or color, should harbor any illusions otherwise.

Joe Conason is editor-in-chief of The National Memo and editor-at-large of Type Investigations. He is a bestselling author whose next book,The Longest Con: How Grifters, Swindlers, and Frauds Hijacked American Conservatism, will be published in 2024.

Women's Leadership Summit

Right-Wing Career Women Urge Girls To Drop Aspirations -- And Marry Now (VIDEO)

I’m fascinated by Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit for the same reasons I watch ABC’s The Bachelorette. The dating show tries to awkwardly reconcile fundamentally opposed interpretations of gender roles in a woman’s pursuit of an opposite-sex partner. The woman crowned as the bachelorette each season represents a certain type of conformity. She is feminine, unattainable, a prize to be won, flirty, and non-threatening to masculinity -- the ideal future wife. At the same time, her role is highly subversive to traditional norms of courtship -- she’s “dating” 25 men at once. This scenario totally boggles the normative masculinity of the contestants pursuing her.

Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit, which targets college and high-school age girls, grapples with these same contradictions in a much darker and more prescriptive way. Speaker after speaker emphasized to the audience that they should become wives, mothers, and accessories to the astroturfed conservative movement rather than pursuing a demanding career. These themes were nearly identical to last year’s YWLS.

Yet this conference exists because of the labor of women on the right who clearly value their careers. Speakers like TPUSA influencer Alex Clark, Fox host Laura Ingraham, and The Daily Wire’s Candace Owens both covertly and overtly discouraged the audience of young women from pursuing high-powered careers — but it takes a lot of work to build an audience as a woman in right-wing media. Behind the scenes, Turning Point USA’s events and marketing leadership are also populated by women. Chief Marketing Officer Marina Minas’ biography says nothing of her achievements in the domestic realm. The same goes for the vice president of events, Lauren Toncich.

Forgoing a career in pursuit of marriage and motherhood is not something the women delivering this message can speak about from personal experience. This tension drew me to attend the event in person in Grapevine, Texas, from June 9 to 11.

Much to my surprise, the first thing I saw when I pulled up to the venue was a massive pride flag. In his opening speech, TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk described his unsuccessful efforts to have the flag taken down: “I tried my best to take down the flag everybody,” he said. The crowd responded with cheers. “I failed, OK? I’m sorry. I tried my best. I know you were all thinking it, right? What is that all about? By the way, this hotel better do something or we’re going to find another hotel because I’m not going to come back, this is ridiculous.”

The conference featured an exhibition hall with booths selling “dump your liberal boyfriend” sweatshirts from a right-wing dating app founded by a former Trump White House staffer, career recruitment for Turning Point USA and Turning Point Faith, and bedazzled purses shaped like guns. The bathrooms were decked out with advertisements for a gender-exclusionary tampon brand. Virtually all surfaces, including the elevator doors, were covered in the themed TPUSA aesthetic.

Alex Clark, host of Turning Point USA’s podcasts directed at young women and the face of this event, opened the conference with what can only be described as an angry, judgmental lecture, titled “The Top 4 Lies of Modern Feminism.” She opened by asking, “Young Women’s Leadership Summit, are you ready to see this degenerate rotten culture that we’ve been living in get a makeover?” After applause, she praised the audience’s themed outfits. Fair is fair -- there were some good ones out there.

For the next 30 minutes, she launched into a winding, pseudo-academic diatribe about the four lies of modern feminism, which according to Clark are birth control, abortion, fertility care, and day care. She has staked her brand in part on spreading misinformation about birth control -- it’s a regular feature of her podcasts POPlitics and The Spillover, as well as her prolific Instagram presence.

She asked the audience, “Who in this room has decided to ditch hormonal birth control?” Very few hands went up. “Wow,” she responded, following up by asking, “How many of you are considering ditching hormonal birth control?” Even fewer hands went up. Just a few minutes into her speech she lost the room, and it got worse from there.

Attacking abortion and fertility care are not unique to Clark’s brand, but her opposition to day care is both a new and relatively isolated stance, and it didn’t land with the YWLS crowd. It was on this topic that her speech veered from sleepy to bizarre. She described it as her “spiciest take,” saying that “a lot of mothers in the ‘70s” (the decade was the conference’s theme) “who desired freedom and flexibility or who didn’t necessarily have a support system were oblivious to the fact that the solutions presented to them as safe, liberating or harmless were anything but. And one of those solutions was day care.” After an awkward pause, she added, “It just got real uncomfy. Did you feel that shift?”

Clark claimed, “The feminist movement is in large part to blame for the fracturing of the traditional home, where women were coerced outside of their natural roles as mothers into the workforce.” She went on: “The feminist movement gave way to the notion that a woman could have her cake and eat it too. You can have the career you want and you can raise your children in a positive, educational environment, aka day care.” She described it as “a lie to tell women that we can have it all.” Just because day care is “normal or common doesn’t mean it’s right,” according to Clark.

Not only is Clark a highly successful political commentator with two podcasts and the face of a yearly conference, she is also, as she noted in her own speech, not a mother. Even more bizarrely, she was not giving opening remarks to a conference for mothers.

Kirk spoke next, telling the audience that women have a tendency to be “cliquey” and “mean,” unlike men, to encourage networking at the event.

The TPUSA founder then pivoted to the normal slop that someone hears if they have the misfortune of tuning in to his daily radio show, railing against a “social contagion that is spreading the country at a rapid pace that disguises itself as transgenderism and it is accelerating, it is not slowing down.” He told the audience, “We have seen an all-out, deliberate, concentrated, non-stop, relentless assault on women in this country” by “creepy, narcissistic freaks who think they are men wearing dresses to compete in sports against many of you.”

After establishing that “women are more agreeable than men,” Kirk told his audience they must “be disagreeable” in attacking the humanity of transgender people, who he called “creepy men that have deep-seated mental problems that need treatment.”

Throughout the weekend, attacks on transgender people consistently garnered the loudest and most enthusiastic cheers.

Lara Trump and Laura Ingraham finished up the first day of the conference. Lara Trump skirted around the massive elephant in the room -- her father-in-law’s stunning indictment on espionage charges relating to his handling of classified documents in his post-presidency. Her only remarks on the topic consisted of boilerplate talking points about some amorphous authority persecuting her father-in-law to stop him from becoming president again.

Like virtually every other speaker, Lara Trump attacked transgender athletes, and used the topic to draw attention to her own body: “I’ve been an athlete for most of my life. You might notice my legs are very muscular. I still do a little working out on the side, you know, I’ve got to stay in shape.”

Laura Ingraham’s remarks barely merit a mention, except for her puzzling comments on supermodel Gisele Bündchen. “It’s far easier to live in a society that encourages modesty than to live in a society that encourages women to show it all, flaunt it all, all the time,” she said. “Who can ever keep up with that? By the way, other than maybe Gisele Bündchen, who really does look good in a thong bathing suit on the beach? Sorry, you’ve got to be a special type of person who looks good in that.”

Fundamentalist podcaster Allie Beth Stuckey opened day two of the conference. She, unsurprisingly, struck a notably more pointed Christian extremist tone than the other speakers, though religious rhetoric was ubiquitous throughout the conference. “I can tell you what your highest calling is,” she said. It’s not to have a career, “it’s not even to be a wife and a mom, as wonderful as those things are. Your highest calling is to glorify God.”

Podcaster and Turning Point USA personality Benny Johnson followed, and used much of his time to tell the audience of college and high school girls to “become a woman of value.” Calling out women who say they have trouble finding a partner, he asked, “Have you behaved like a great woman that would attract a great man?”

“Have you been a great woman? There ain’t nothing wrong with being a trad wife. Being a trad wife’s based. Men love this.”


Naturally, the idea that elections are being stolen from Republicans also permeated the conference. Real America’s Voice host Gina Loudon sympathized with the young audience about how much they have “endured” in recent years: “You’ve had your country stolen, you’ve had an election stolen, you’ve had your restrooms taken over by men who say they’re women and you’ve had your entire gender completely, just, undermined.”

The only person who spoke more than once at the Young Women’s Leadership Summit was Kirk, who returned to the stage on day two for a Q&A session. One question during the session came from a college student involved with Turning Point USA on her campus, who said she is working toward her dream career in orthopedic surgery.

The exchange almost perfectly distilled the overarching message of the weekend. The audience member told Kirk that she is career-driven and has not thought much about marriage or starting a family. She asked if he had advice to give to “somebody who so badly wants to succeed in surgery,” but will be 30 years old before she has time to think about “settling down.”

Kirk’s answer was straightforward and clear: “You’re going to have to choose which one matters more.” He then told her to spend a couple of days with infants and see how she feels afterward, and stressed that she may run out of time to find a husband if she focuses on her career throughout her 20s.

Kirk told her that “there are a lot of successful, 35-year-old orthopedic surgeons that have cats, and not kids, and they’re very miserable."

This is one of the fundamental contradictions of the Young Women’s Leadership Summit and Turning Point USA’s recruitment of young women overall. If the main message for this audience — many of whom identified themselves as leaders of campus TPUSA chapters — is that they should leave politics to men, seek fulfillment exclusively in the domestic sphere, and focus on indoctrinating a litter of children into an ideology of hate and victimhood, then most of the organization’s activity is irrelevant to its female members.

In the early evening, Owens closed day two. Her walkout was met with the loudest cheers and applause of the entire weekend.

She framed her remarks around the idea that women have a biological predisposition to sentimentality, motherhood, and nurturing.

“Your emotions and your nurturing are meant for those relationships in your life that mean the most,” Owens said. “You will see it — you will become a tiger, you will become a bear when you have children,” adding bleakly, “The reason that you fight, the reason that you get up in the morning, the reason that you breathe will become so clear. You will never be more sure of yourself when you realize that there is something inside of you that just knows what to do with a child.” She assumed that members of the audience “already experience that.”

According to Owens, the left has used the media to manipulate these natural female instincts. Her message to this group of “young women leaders” in the conservative movement: “Every ill that we are fighting right now in society has been brought forth by women.”

Setting aside Owens’ extremely misogynistic message, we can look at the pillars of her own life for a moment. She is a woman who you might say “has it all”: a career, a public platform, and a family. But she presents herself as if she appeared on stage to roaring adoration by accident, her authority stemming from her status as a model mother, and not because of a single-minded ambition to get famous through a Faustian bargain with conservative media.

As I write this, the third day of the conference has begun. The speakers are the weekend’s afterthought: failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, anti-trans former swimmer Riley Gaines, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), among others. By now the narrative of the weekend is clear: there is a very narrow vision of what a fulfilled woman's life can consist of and an extremely limited set of acceptable aspirations. If you don’t want to give up everything else to have children and marry a Christian man, something is fundamentally, biologically, biblically wrong with you. Charlie Kirk recommends you pray about it.

The things that went unsaid were notable, too -- former President Donald Trump’s indictment on federal charges, perhaps one of the biggest stories of any post-presidential period in American history, was hardly mentioned, despite the massive reaction in the broader right-wing universe. Current events, news, politics, struggles over justice and power -- these things were not deemed relevant to the audience at the Young Women’s Leadership Summit. It was all identity, all the time -- no substance, just aesthetics and grievance.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

'Turning Point' Student Group Promotes White Nationalist Speakers

'Turning Point' Student Group Promotes White Nationalist Speakers

The Turning Point USA chapter at the University of Alabama has enlisted two associates of notorious white nationalist Nick Fuentes as featured event speakers on campus next month.

Fuentes is a white nationalist, Holocaust denier, and anti-Semite who attended the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection also subpoenaed Fuentes this year for his role in organizing “Stop the Steal” rallies that led to the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol in 2021.

Turning Point USA is a right-wing student organization that was co-founded by far-right pundit Charlie Kirk. The group’s upcoming event at the University of Alabama, which is scheduled for October 26 and billed as a discussion with “selections from the rising young right,” will feature Kai Schwemmer, Tyler Russell, and Brandt Wiggins, all of whom are tied to Fuentes’ “groyper” movement of young white extremists.

Schwemmer is an alt-right influencer who has espoused white nationalist views; he previously spoke alongside alt-right troll and YouTuber John Doyle during a Turning Point event in April near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus. Russell, another speaker at the event, is a Canadian white supremacist who reportedly has “the aim of securing a white ethnostate in Canada.” Wiggins, another Fuentes associate poised to speak at the event, is the vice president of the University of Alabama Turning Point chapter. Wiggins is a white nationalist, anti-Semite, and anti-LGBTQ bigot.

On Telegram, Fuentes promoted the Turning Point event:

As Political Research Associates’ Ben Lorber explained in a recent Twitter thread, groyper leaders and influencers are increasingly positioning themselves to be leaders on college campuses with the assistance of Turning Point.

Although Turning Point has attempted to distance itself from white nationalists, the University of Alabama chapter’s decision to host these speakers continues a pattern of Turning Point closely aligning with white nationalists and other far-right extremists – including Fuentes himself:

  • In 2019, a Las Vegas Turning Point leader was caught on camera uttering racial slurs and celebrating “white power!”
  • Turning Point previously listed the alt-right social media platform Gab as a sponsor for its Student Action Summit. Gab is a haven for violent white nationalists and antisemites.
  • Neo-Nazi aligned figures appeared at Turning Point’s 2021 “AmericaFest.”
  • Turning Point defended a Florida professor and chapter faculty adviser for having ties to a white nationalist organization.
  • An Iowa Turning Point chapter invited Fuentes to speak on campus in 2019, where he spoke on “preserving the ‘European texture’ of the United States.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

How Republicans Learned To Stop Worrying And Love January 6

How Republicans Learned To Stop Worrying And Love January 6

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

As the nation approaches the one-year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a disturbing trend has emerged in the right-wing media ecosystem: the open approval and valorization of the event.

Such thoughts first emerged that very day, when far-right commentators like former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka and right-wing site The Gateway Pundit cheered on the “patriots” who had “taken over Capitol Hill.” But after the coup attempt failed, right-wing media proceeded in the following days and months to come up with other explanations of what had happened. While they painted various conspiracy theories of left-wing infiltration or claimed there had been no insurrection at all, they also urged strongly against any attempts to investigate the event further — which did not exactly demonstrate much confidence in the alternative hypotheses.

But more and more, conservative media outlets are collectively ending up right back where they started, with a full embrace of the event, consistent with former President Donald Trump’s claims that “the insurrection took place on November 3rd,” and that January 6 was a “protest of the rigged election.” (This has also spread through official Republican circles, such as the local Republican Party in suburban Cobb County, Georgia, which is preparing to hold a “Candlelight Vigil for J6 Patriots.”)

This right-wing media campaign to excuse the Capitol attack is seemingly reflected by views among the rank-and-file GOP: A recent CBS News/YouGov poll finds that Republican voters have become less disapproving of the events of January 6 than they once were. While the vast majority still say they disapprove, a deeper look finds that this opinion has become spread between those who “strongly disapprove” and a plurality who only “somewhat disapprove.” Moreover, only 21 percent of Republicans will describe the riot as an “insurrection,” while 47 percent describe the people who entered the Capitol as having been motivated by “patriotism,” and 56 percent say they had been “defending freedom.” Moreover, 38 percent of Republicans say that political violence could be justified over election results.

Indeed, much of the response to January 6 has depended on the source’s view about whether such an event could succeed — or only result in ignominious defeat. Far-right activist and talk show host Charlie Kirk, in the days following January 6, deleted a tweet in which he had boasted that his organizations were sending “80+ buses full of patriots” to Washington in order to “fight for this president.” A Turning Point Action spokesperson claimed that the organization had sent only seven buses, but it also later emerged that at least one suspect in the Capitol insurrection had traveled to D.C. on one of Turning Point Action’s buses.

It is also worth looking at what Kirk now has to say about political violence. When an audience member at one of Kirk’s events asked this past October, “How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” Kirk responded that the questioner was “playing into all their plans,” because their opponents were “trying to make you do something that will be violent that will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties.” (Others pointed out that Kirk’s supposed objection to violence was based on its high probability of failure instead of any moral qualms.)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has created a propaganda series claiming that the attack was a false flag operation mounted by government elements in order to persecute conservatives, has also for long time cultivated a parallel narrative in which the insurrectionists were just regular citizens who “talked about the Constitution, and something called their rights.” Moreover, Carlson has claimed, they “were correct” that the 2020 presidential election had been rigged against Trump — and “if a mass of people show up angry at the Capitol, you should at least pause for a second,” and “maybe we should address their concerns.”

And on New Year’s Eve, right-wing site American Greatness — whose contributors have spread lies about the 2020 election and attacked Capitol Police officers — upped the ante with a piece titled “Of Reichstags and Bastilles.” Repeating a series of false claims that there was “overwhelming evidence of widespread voter fraud in multiple swing states,” contributor Eric Lendrum declared that “thus, the protesters were justified.”

The piece also claimed that Ashli Babbitt, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who was killed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to climb through a broken window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby, was “an actual hero … who was willing to give her life for her country—and ultimately did just that, albeit in a far more tragic way.” (Babbitt had posted online the day before the Capitol attack that “Nothing will stop us,” further adding: “They can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours… dark to light!”)

Lendrum concluded his piece with a declaration that conservatives should “stop trying to qualify their stances on January 6 with an obligatory disavowal,” and instead openly celebrate the actions of that day as “a reaction to a long train of abuses and usurpations perpetrated against the American people by an entrenched elite class that has infected our institutions.”

"The only course of action at this point is to be just as firm in our stance as the Left is. If they truly want to address January 6 by making dramatic historical comparisons, then so should we. If their aim is to make January 6 their Reichstag Fire, then we should go forward celebrating the events of that day as our Storming of the Bastille; a day where a symbol of the degeneration of our ruling class into total corruption and tyranny was challenged, and the elites were shown just what happens when millions of freedom-loving citizens finally grow sick and tired of a boot perpetually stomping on their necks."

Another peculiar set of visuals and commentary came Monday night on the far-right One America News.

OAN host Natalie Harp interviewed right-wing author Lee Smith about how the events of January 6 had supposedly been used to defame Trump supporters in general, with Harp calling the date a “plot against the people.” (This phrasing was in contrast to a book that Smith published in 2019, The Plot Against the President, denouncing the Trump-Russia investigations.)

While OAN aired B-roll photos and video of the January 6 attack itself, Smith claimed that the investigations were “effectively the demonization and in some cases the criminalization of opposition” to the Obama and Biden “faction” in American politics. “It’s despicable, but that's what we're up against. We're up against a very, a very ugly faction of the American public sphere.”