So we all know by now, attacking transgender people has become the GOP’s latest weapon to rile up their base and making it an issue to win their primaries:
Dr. Mehmet Oz leans in to ask a little girl, “Do you remember when your parents thought you were a boy?”
The question was but a few seconds of a full 2010 episode of “The Dr. Oz Show” that focused on the experience of raising transgender children. But the clip now appears in an attack ad aired by a super PAC supporting one of Oz’s Republican primary opponents in the crowded and high-stakes race for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
Another campaign ad, from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Vicky Hartzler in Missouri, targets transgender people in sports and has her referring to an NCAA athlete — Ivy League championship-winning University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas — by her “deadname” and saying “women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women.”
And on Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who is running for reelection, ordered the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of gender-confirming care for kids as abuse.
Derision and disparagement of transgender people, and even of those perceived as their allies, are proliferating on the airwaves and in statehouses across the country as 2022 election campaigns heat up. It’s a classic strategy of finding a wedge issue that motivates a political base, observers say.
“They are just weaponizing the fact that most everyday Americans don’t yet realize that they know someone who is transgender,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It is easy to fall for a myth about a group of people you don’t know, and that’s just human. ... It’s just really unfortunate to now see a group of politicians try to use that to their own advantage.”
Republicans use it because public opinion is on their side, said Neil Newhouse, a veteran Republican pollster.
The idea of restricting transgender athletes resonates with parents of high school athletes, motivates the Republican base, and carries swing voters by 2 to 1, Newhouse said.
In primary elections, Republican candidates can use it to establish their conservative credentials and to come out first or forcefully enough to own the issue, Newhouse said. Or it can be used to push a rival to the left, he said.
Asked for comment on the ad, which does not mention sports, Oz’s campaign — using inaccurate terminology to describe transgender women — said only that the celebrity surgeon doesn’t believe that “biological males should compete in women’s sports.”
The Super PAC backing McCormick and going after Oz is just another wealthy asshole trying to buy a Senate seat for another wealthy asshole:
How filthy rich is Chicago hedge fund trader Ken Griffin? Well, for starters, the man recently bought the U.S. Constitution! To be clear, the 53-year-old billionaire actually owns a copy of the foundational American document framed here in Philadelphia in 1787, one of only 13 originals from that year.
Griffin said he was minding his own business last fall when his son called him up and said, “Dad, you have to buy the U.S. Constitution,” in reference to an upcoming auction. Based on not much more than that, Griffin went out and bid $43.2 million for the 235-year-old parchment, defeating and deflating the rival bidder, a confab of cryptocurrency investors. Is this a great country, or what?
Don’t answer that.
This thing is, once you’ve bought the U.S. Constitution, it’s not a big deal to buy one or two actual U.S. senators — especially when they can be had for a fraction of the cost. Griffin has already spent roughly $50 million on almost exclusively Republican political candidates in the current election cycle. But arguably nothing he’s spent has made a bigger difference than his $5 million donation to a political-action committee backing a fellow mega-rich hedge fund dude running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania — David McCormick, who has spent much of his recent life in Connecticut.
Unless you’re a CNBC groupie, you’ve probably never heard of Griffin and his Citadel Securities before. But then, almost no one here in Pennsylvania had ever heard of McCormick, until he started spending those Wall Street dollars on a blizzard of TV ads, building himself up with his own fortune while the Griffin-backed PAC demolishes his chief GOP rival.
In the ads, we see Dave McCormick decorating a Christmas tree. Dave McCormick bragging that as an Iraq War vet he’s “battle tested, Pennsylvania true” — this after spending most of the 21st century in the Nutmeg State. Dave McCormick taunting President Biden with a “Let’s Go Brandon” chant — during the Super Bowl. He’s spent more than $8 million — more than any other candidate running for any office in America in 2022. And it’s worked, spectacularly.
The latest Fox News poll of the Pennsylvania race shows that the anonymous out-of-state mega-rich guy. McCormick, has now pulled ahead of the out-of-state well-known TV celebrity, New Jersey’s Mehmet Oz, 24%-15%. In a year when the normal political trends and voter worries about issues like inflation point to a strong GOP surge, any Republican candidate might have the edge in November over Democrats like Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta who actually live here and hold political office.
But Roger Sollenberger at The Daily Beast pointed out that the Super PAC backing McCormick and making transphobia an issue doesn’t mention this:
As the former CEO of the largest hedge fund in the world, Bridgewater Associates, McCormick boasted about his company’s inclusiveness, which extended to full paid coverage for gender transition surgery and earned a perfect score as an LGBTQ-friendly workplace. McCormick also wrote at length about Bridgewater’s diversity and inclusion programs more broadly, which he took credit for spearheading and nurturing.
Bridgewater’s website, which lists “the ability to be who you are” as one of its three “core values,” also showcased its diversity and inclusion programs, including transgender affirming groups. A dedicated diversity and inclusion team reported “directly to CEO David McCormick,” and in 2021 those issues became a “Top Strategic Priority.” (McCormick stepped down in January 2022.)
“Given our mission to have the deepest possible understanding of global economies, we seek to find, retain, and grow the best talent across gender identity, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gained experiences, and more,” reads Bridgewater’s “diversity and inclusion” landing page, archived from November 2020.
The diversity and inclusion page continues that Bridgewater has a “dedicated diversity and inclusion team reporting directly to CEO David McCormick, several affinity groups to empower our diverse communities, and a senior council charged with continuing to make Bridgewater a vibrant, inclusive community.”
McCormick is a shameless low-life who will do anything to win the GOP primary. Including courting the wife strangler vote:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick held a rally Tuesday night in Homestead, where he was joined by Sean Parnell, the former GOP front-runner for the most-watched Senate race in the country.
The two U.S. Army veterans campaigned at Rock Bottom Restaurant on how they believe Mr. McCormick could help redirect a country they said is “completely falling apart” by using Mr. McCormick’s plans to restart U.S.-Mexico border wall construction, utilize Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry and more.
“It’s not about electing Republicans anymore,” Mr. Parnell said. “It’s about electing the right kind of leaders, people who take an oath to protect the Constitution, and not a political party.”
Tuesday night’s rally was Mr. Parnell’s first public appearance since he dropped out of the race last year following a court battle in which his estranged wife alleged that he physically abused her and two of their three children.
Health and Democracy are on the ballot this year and we need to get ready to keep Pennsylvania Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate of your choice along with these Pennsylvania Democrats campaigns:
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