Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shot down Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) plan to win the 2024 Republican presidential primary on the back of his anti-“woke” agenda.
Psaki’s MSNBC show debuted yesterday, and she set her sites on Florida’s anti-LGBTQ+ governor. In addition to attacking any education about LGBTQ+ issues as “woke” – he signed his state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill last year to restrict discussions of LGBTQ+ people – he has been attacking academic freedom at state universities and education about racism in schools – with a law literally called the “Stop-Woke Act” – in order to prove his anti-woke bona fides.
“We reject this woke ideology,” DeSantis said in January. “We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy. We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.”
Widely believed to be running for president next year, DeSantis’s approach to attracting swing voters in the general election seems to be his strident opposition to “wokeness,” and Donald Trump has even been blaming his legal woes on “woke” district attorneys. Psaki laid out exactly why she doesn’t think it’ll work.
“For Republicans, wokeness is public enemy number one,” she said. She then noted that “most people don’t think of the term ‘woke’ in the way that Republicans would like them to. “It’s simply not the bogeyman they’d have you believe.”
She cited a recent USA Today poll that found that most Americans think “woke” means “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices,” while only 39% say that it means “to be overly politically correct and police others’ words.”
Psaki then discussed a focus group of swing voters in Florida where participants were asked what they think about “woke.” Many people couldn’t even describe what the word means.
“If the Republican anti-woke message is supposed to resonate with anyone, it’s them!” Psaki said.