Yeah, there’s no question we need to take America back! Among Trump’s many challengers for the Republican presidential nomination are numerous fresh faces, but upon closer inspection they all support the interests of the Republican’s aging, predominantly white “base.” None of them address issues important to the majority of young voters, and make no mistake, given the chance, this “new generation” of Republicans would take us back to the days before Trump. I’d like to focus on two of the most insidious in the group:
- Doug Burgum (the exceedingly wealthy governor of North Dakota)
- Vivek Ramaswamy (an exceedingly wealthy pharmaceutical entrepreneur)
Doug Burgum is a Fossil Fuel Industry Whore.
According to Burgum’s website: “The economy needs to be the absolute top priority. It’s the main thing. A strong American economy propels everything else and is the key to unlocking the best of America.”
Translation: Ever since the “trickle-down” economic policies of the Reagan administration (cutting taxes for business and the rich) decimated the middle class and sparked inequality not seen since the 1920s, Republicans have claimed that economic growth represents “the best of America,” everything else be damned.
The site goes on: “His top priorities: the economy, energy, and national security.
Translation: “Energy” means energy produced by the fossil fuel industry, an industry that all but runs North Dakota, any impact on the environment and climate change be damned. (It’s implied that the fossil fuels are necessary to national security, but I’ll get to that next.)
Further, it says, “Make no mistake, Doug is a conservative on other important issues too, but he knows if he get the economy, energy and national security right, we will unlock the best of America and improve every American life.”
The fact is, Burgum takes a far-right position on every social issue, including women’s reproductive rights. As a result, the only American lives likely to be improved are those with a direct economic interest in the fossil fuel and defense industries.
Continuing, the site says, “Innovation has always been America’s best weapon. Innovation over regulation is how you solve the challenges we face today. Regulation looks backward and innovation looks towards the future. It’s provided an opportunity for a better life to Americans willing to reach for it. All that is now at risk.”
Translation: Anything that threatens fossil fuel industry profits is the very definition of “risk” and nothing threatens its profits more than “regulation!”
Finally, the site reveals itself for what it is, a propaganda piece for the fossil fuel industry, plain and simple: “A key reason we need to empower American innovation is to dramatically increase energy production. Energy has to be our second priority [after the economy]. Doug knows we need to stop buying energy from our enemies and start selling energy to our friends and allies. America produces energy cleaner and safer than anywhere else in the world. When America becomes truly energy independent and supports our allies, we prevent wars like Putin started in Ukraine. We stabilize the globe and restore America as the leader of the free world. Doug understands the future is going to be won at the intersection of innovation and energy.
Translation: Fossil Fuel Lobbyists on Steroids!
Burgum is a Fossil Fuel Whore, but Vivek Ramaswamy is a Total Whack Job.
According to Mr. Ramaswamy, the nation, and especially the younger generation, has lost its spiritual center, which he claims is being filled by “secular cults” — racial “wokeism,” sexual and gender fluidity, and the “climate cult” — all of which, fortunately, can be “diluted to oblivion” based on the rediscovery of the American ideals of patriotism, meritocracy, and sacrifice.
Among his bizarre proposals, Ramaswamy wants to end birthright citizenship—a longstanding American policy codified in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution—and take away young people’s right to vote. Instead of making the citizenship process easier to navigate, he wants to make it harder to become a citizen, laying out citizenship tiers—a matrix in which, until one passes this test, they would be a second-class citizen. While this country already treats scores of people—immigrants, laborers, the homeless, and LGBTQ and young people—as lesser citizens, Ramaswamy seeks to formalize their inferior status.
Ramaswamy’s Proposals Pose a Radical Threat to the Rights and Freedoms of Young Voters.
“Just because someone was born in this country,” he told CNN, “even if they’re a sixth generation American, they shouldn’t automatically enjoy all the privileges of citizenship until they’ve earned it. Every high school graduate should have to pass the same civics test that immigrants have to pass in order to become a citizen.” According to Ramaswamy’s website, this would mean raising the voting age to 25, while “allowing people to vote at age 18” provided they serve at least six months in the military, as a first responder, or “pass the citizenship test.”
As for where he stands on social issues, it’s almost too frightening to discuss. After George Floyd’s murder in 2020, Ramaswamy began publicly castigating corporations for speaking out on social issues like Black Lives Matter, voting rights, and E.S.G., including authoring a book entitled “Woke Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.” Unlike Burgum, however, Ramaswamy accepts the established science that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet, but his answer is to “drill, frack, burn coal” and use more fossil fuels, which will supposedly unleash economic growth and somehow pay for mitigation efforts to shield us from climate change.