Nearly a week after the NCAA victory, the GOP is still using University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas as a stick for defeating her political rivals.
Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history by winning the women’s 500-yard freestyle. Her appearance at the event faced opposition and opposition from parents, fellow athletes and conservative personalities.
A few days later, it appears that Republicans have added the debate over transgender players to race theory, critical to the list of hot-button issues for parents, with Thomas the GOP’s new target in the “culture wars” Could hurt Democrats in the mid-term.
On Tuesday, Mississippi GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn cited Thomas in the investigation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who has been named to the Supreme Court.
After asking President Joe Biden if she could define what a woman is, Blackburn then asked Jackson “what message do you think this sends to girls” when they competed at the NCAA Swimming Championships as “organic men.” to compete and defeat a biological woman”.
potential legal issues
Jackson responded that she wasn’t sure what message it sent before asking if she wanted answers in relation to potential legal issues that the court may have to decide.
Blackburn interrupts Jackson to explain why he brought the swimming competition to a hearing about a Supreme Court nominee.
“I think it tells our girls that their voices don’t matter. I think it tells them they are second-class citizens,” Blackburn said. “And parents want a Supreme Court justice that is committed to upholding parental autonomy and protecting the children of our country.”
That same day, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Emma Weynt, who finished second behind Thomas in the 500-yard freestyle on March 17, was the real winner of the race.
DeSantis tweeted, “By allowing men to participate in women’s sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, mocking their championships and perpetuating cheating.” “In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota’s Emma Weynt as the best female swimmer in the 500y freestyle.”
Seeing an advantage over Democrats in focusing on these issues, the GOP has been involved in the culture wars for some time.
During last year’s Virginia gubernatorial election, for example, eventual winner Glenn Youngkin resented the teaching of important race theory in K-12 schools, making it his major campaign issue.
Youngkin’s Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, dismissed the debate as a “racist dog whistle”.
Seeing America as Weak
A few weeks ago, some on the GOP’s arch-right were suggesting that Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine because America’s focus on issues like gender-neutral toilets led the Russian president to see America as weak.
Thomas Gift, founding director of the Center on US Politics, University College London newsweek That there is “little doubt” that Republicans will continue to wage the “culture wars” mid-term.
“The agenda not only broadens the base in a way that other policy sectors cannot – it also has relatively broad support from swing voters,” said GIFT, adding that Youngkin’s gubernatorial victory showed that “the most extreme expression is ‘wake up. Politics” doesn’t play well among moderates in the suburbs.
“Agree or disagree with these positions, the reality is that America remains a center-right country on cultural issues – and Republicans benefit more from placing them in the spotlight,” Gift said.
Katherine Wininger, an assistant professor of political science at Western Washington University, agreed that Republicans would use Thomas and others “anti-trans rhetoric and policies” for the foreseeable future because it helped draw support from one of their key demographics. Is.
trans women in sports
“Efforts to exclude trans women from women’s sport are being framed as ‘pro-women.’ We continue to see rhetoric that portrays anti-trans initiatives as ‘protecting’ women’s sport, And Republican women are often the ones to deliver that message,” Wininger pointed out. Greeley Tribune.
“This, along with the anti-CRT rhetoric, is a strategic messaging decision aimed at targeting and mobilizing white female voters.”
The debate over whether transgender women should compete with women in competitive sports is complex, attracting vigorous arguments on both sides. In fact, even within the GOP, it appears not everyone is willing to discuss it with widespread outrage.
In the space of two days, two Republican governors vetoed bills that would have banned transgender women from participating in girls’ school sports, suggesting that such laws are unnecessary and people’s concerns. has been thrown out of proportion.
In a letter explaining his decision, Utah Governor Spencer Cox acknowledged that he is not an expert on transgender issues but will always try to err on the side of “kindness, kindness and compassion.”
Cox also noted that in the entire state of Utah, there are currently only four transgender students playing high school sports, with only one participating in girls’ sports.
“Four kids and only one of them is playing girls’ games. That’s all,” Cox said. “Seldom has so much fear and anger been directed at so few people.”
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb also vetoed a similar bill on Monday, saying the state has not registered any cases of transgender students trying to join girls’ teams.
newsweek Have tried reaching out to Thomas for comment.