It’s been clear for some time that Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is using his constituents as pawns and his gubernatorial powers as props to prep his national image for a 2024 bid.
While each of his various policy proposals and attacks on public education, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, the media, etc. have been projected as the hardline governor’s humble war on woke-ism in his state, he knows quite well how to appeal to the MAGA crowd. And he’s been using his tenure as governor to boost his national relevance ahead of what is shaping up to be a nasty GOP primary.
And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is following his lead.
The two have been in some unofficial race to out-MAGA each other for several years, a sad frenemyship made most obvious when DeSantis beat Abbott at his own game and shipped undocumented immigrants in Florida to Martha’s Vineyard — taking the cake for the most cruel twist on the two’s migrant-shipping one-upsmanship
Compared to DeSantis, there have been fewer solid indications of what Abbott has planned for 2024, but in an interview with Fox News late last month, he left the door for a potential bid subtly ajar.
Now it appears he is ripping yet more pages from DeSantis’ messaging playbook, using his pulpit as governor to appeal to most far-right, rabid members of the Trump base, the ones who buy into Fox News headlines that suggest every mention of race in the classroom is destroying the fabric of our nation.
You can get the goods yourself here at the Texas Tribune, but the topline is this: Abbott is seemingly working to make Texas also the place where “woke goes to die.” Per the Tribune:
Gov. Greg Abbott’s office is warning state agency and public university leaders this week that the use of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives — policies that support groups who have been historically underrepresented or discriminated against — is illegal in hiring.
In a memo written Monday and obtained by The Texas Tribune, Abbott’s chief of staff Gardner Pate told agency leaders that using DEI policies violates federal and state employment laws, and hiring cannot be based on factors “other than merit.”
Pate said DEI initiatives illegally discriminate against certain demographic groups — though he did not specify which ones he was talking about.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
In case you missed it last night: Biden’s Powerful, 2023 State Of The Union Address In Pictures