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What happened to ‘Woke’? How the right’s rallying cry faded away

Mod: 'Woke' as a MAGA battlecry vanished as quickly as a Donald Trump bucket of hotwings. 

What happened to ‘woke’? How the right’s rallying cry faded away (Semafor link): As his presidential campaign sputtered, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., could sound like a candidate unstuck in time.

In June, he spent days responding to a dismissive comment from Barack Obama questioning his commitment to racial justice, saying America was a “land of opportunity, not a land of oppression.” In September, he rolled out an “empower parents” plan by explaining that children “need the ABCs, not CRT.” Wherever he campaigned, he invoked his race and biography as the ultimate rebuke to race-obsessed progressives fixated on a “culture of grievance” instead of personal achievement: “My life disproves their lie.”
Republican primary voters, who liked Scott personally, were unmoved. The conservative backlash to progressive ideas about race and gender — a war on “wokeness” that powered the rise of Gov. Ron DeSantis and boycotts of some major brands — has faded as an issue in an increasingly uncompetitive primary. 
In three primetime GOP debates, the word “woke” was mentioned just twice; once as an aside from Nikki Haley, once when Vivek Ramaswamy plugged his book, “Woke, Inc.” DeSantis, whose early speeches focused on his fight against wokeness — “We will fight the woke in our legislature, we will fight the woke in education, we will fight the woke in our businesses” — now mentions it sparingly.

And in last week’s elections, the conservative movement to win control of school boards had more disappointments than victories. Moms for Liberty-backed candidates picked up just 50 seats around the country. In some of their highest-profile races — an Iowa school board whose transgender inclusion policies were opposed by GOP presidential candidates, and another school board in the suburban Virginia county where a 2021 sexual assault powered a political backlash that year — progressives held on to their seats.

The decline of “wokeness” as a catch-all Republican message that spoke to intense fears of progressive ideas taking over institutions had been happening for a while. It faded for three reasons — Trump’s return to the national spotlight, the middling electoral impact of anti-wokeness messaging, and the legislative victories that local Republicans achieved before the presidential race got underway.
In Trump’s case, there were strategic reasons to push “woke” out of the conservative conversation early. The less seriously Republican voters took the concept as a threat, the less tempted they might be to consider a candidate like DeSantis running to protect them from it. At the end of May, DeSantis entered the race, and within two weeks Trump was using a speech in suburban Des Moines to demean his rival’s defining issue.

“I don’t like the term woke, because I hear woke, woke, woke,” Trump told conservatives in Urbandale. “It’s like, just a term they use. Half the people can’t even define it.”

Mod: More on the death of 'Woke' at the link.

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