With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, Republican candidates around the country are rallying to compete for the GOP presidential nomination, including the failed President Donald Trump.
Though Trump skipped the first debate (likely due to his plans to surrender for arrest on charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election), there was no shortage of extreme policies and hurtful comments during the first formal gathering of the GOP hopefuls.
Seven other conservative candidates took the stage, including:
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
- North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
- Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
- Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
- Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
- Former Vice President Mike Pence
- Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy
- Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina
As expected, the candidates used the debate to tout conspiracy theories, reject climate change, celebrate the end of Roe v. Wade, and threaten Americans with a nationwide abortion ban.
Listening to hateful and out-of-touch conservatives on the podium can be exhausting. So we listened and took notes so you don’t have to.
Here are three terrifying takeaways from the first Republican presidential debate:
Americans can expect a nationwide abortion ban if a Republican is elected as president
Americans grieved when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the fundamental right to abortion,which is why the conservatives on stage celebrating the end of constitutional abortion rights and touting plans for a nationwide abortion ban felt like salt in a wound.
Many of the conservative candidates on stage were even responsible for enacting some of the strictest abortion bans in the country in their home states.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed a six-week abortion ban into law immediately following the end of Roe v. Wade, defended his actions and suggested he would support a nationwide abortion ban as President.
Conservative Governor Asa Hutchinson attacked President Joe Biden’s efforts to strengthen reproductive rights while bragging that he signed THIRTY pieces of anti-choice legislation as governor of Arkansas.
Former Vice President Mike Pence crowned himself a “champion for life” while pushing an extreme plan to ban abortion across the country if elected as president.
And Republican Senator Tim Scott advocated for a minimum of a 15-week ban nationwide.
In summary, every candidate on stage opposes the fundamental right to abortion, has taken severe action to restrict access to reproductive health care, and would sign an abortion ban if given the opportunity. That’s unacceptable.
The GOP presidential candidates couldn’t care less about public education
When asked about his call to abolish the Department of Education, Ron DeSantis doubled down while bragging about the hurtful and divisive policies he forced into Florida public schools.
Ron DeSantis wasn’t the only conservative who called for defunding and eliminating the Department of Education. Vivek Ramaswamy echoed the sentiment and even called to abolish teacher unions.
Candidates like Nikki Haley and Mike Pence preached about “school choice” and ineffective policies like “school vouchers” that cut funding from public schools and send it to unaccountable private schools.
And Doug Burgum touted his extreme conservative agenda in North Dakota designed to hurt and humiliate LGBTQ+ students and educators.
Climate change is laughable to the Republicans running for president
The candidates were asked if human behavior causes climate change, something we know is true from decades of science. Shocker: None of the candidates spoke up in defense of the climate.
And from California wildfires to the recent devastation in Hawaii, more and more Americans know firsthand the terrifying reality of climate change.
Not only did the candidates fail to take climate change seriously, Vivek Ramaswamy even claimed that “the climate change agenda is a hoax.”
The response from the GOP candidates, though disappointing, was not surprising.
Ron DeSantis previously said that taking action against climate change is “left-wing stuff” and that he’s not a “global warming person.”
The effects of climate change are becoming more visible every day. And Americans deserve a president who will stand up for the climate and the generations to come.
It’s just getting started
These plans to ban abortion, eradicate public education, and ignore climate change while our communities pay the price are unacceptable.
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Together, we’ll hold conservatives accountable and rally for a better Minnesota.