by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
As Republicans grapple with the future of their party in the post-Trump landscape, one issue appears to be animating GOP officials and voters across the Right: opposing so-called “wokeness.”
Pushing back against the perceived cultural overreaches of the Left has become a calling card for candidates from the local level to those eyeing the White House.
With the midterm elections more than a year away, many Republicans have not yet honed the precise message they will feature in ads and on the campaign trail when their races get underway in earnest.
But standing up to liberal pieties on issues of race and identity has already started to bear fruit for some Republicans.
A slate of candidates for local offices in the Dallas suburb of Southlake won with an overwhelming share of the vote in an election on Saturday after campaigning on a platform to block instruction of “critical race theory” in classrooms.
The candidates — two for the school board, two for City Council seats, and one for mayor — all won resoundingly despite their opponents characterizing their stance on the curriculum as racist. The pop star Demi Lovato had even condemned local resistance to the racial teaching requirements as “horrifying” and accused parents who opposed the teaching as “literally FIGHTING to uphold white supremacy.”
“Wokeness is no longer about challenging the system. Wokeness is the system,” Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and author of the forthcoming book Woke, Inc., told the Washington Examiner. “That creates an opportunity for a new movement of rebels relative to the new power structures of wokeness.”
Ramaswamy said big business is a major driver of a woke worldview that sees everything through the lens of race.
“There’s two phenomena; one is the underlying content of wokeness itself and two is the method by which wokeness spreads — most notably, woke capitalism,” he said.