Commentaries about Last Night’s Republican Debate

  • Various reactions to the Republican debate, with its themes of science denial, and lying to a base that feeds on lies;
  • Robert Reich on Republicans’ denial of climate change.

I watched bits of it. I’m relying on the commentaries published today. Beginning with some headlines. And subtitles.

Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 24 Aug 2023: Why do Republicans even bother with this whole farce?, subtitled “Trump wasn’t there, but we saw why he’s leading: GOP voters don’t care about substance, just unjustified grievances”

Vox, Rebecca Leber, 24 Aug 2023: The first GOP debate reveals a disturbing level of climate change denial, subtitled “The party’s tactics to deny and deflect reality are more polarizing than ever.”

Media Matters, 23 Aug 2023: Conspiracy theorists and right-wing media fabricate evidence that Lahaina fire was deliberate, subtitled “YouTube and Meta are making money from content amplifying these conspiracy theories”

Slate, 24 Aug 2023: Texas Says a Fetus Is a Child, Except When a Parent Sues a Negligent Doctor or State Official

Slate, 22 Aug 2023: Texas Takes Attacks on Austin to New Level With “Death Star” Law

This I’ll have to explain; it’s more about Republicans attacking democracy. In Texas the Republican-led statehouse is passing bills to prevent cities and counties (especially the Democratic ones) from passing their own laws and regulations.


This one I’ll quote from.

Robert Reich, 24 Aug 2023: The GOP and the crises of climate change and democracy, subtitled “The lowest point of last night’s debate”

After DeSantis’s attempt to avoid talking about climate change last night, Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old entrepreneur who presents himself as a non-political outsider who can tell the truth, then piped up: “The climate-change agenda,” he declared, “is a hoax.”


Donald Trump, who did not attend the debate, has done whatever he could to impede climate action. As president, he rolled back nearly 100 climate regulations, according a New York Times tally, and backed out of the Paris Accord.

Meanwhile, rightwing groups have been working with the Republican Party to boost the fossil fuel industry while undermining the energy transition. Project 2025, a $22m endeavor by the climate-denying thinktank the Heritage Foundation, has developed a presidential proposal that lays out how a Republican president could dismantle US climate policy within their first 180 days in office. The proposal was made in collaboration with several former Trump officials.

Friends, the twin crises of the climate and democracy are intertwined. Climate change threatens life on earth. But without a working democracy, there’s little we can hope to do about it. The Republican Party — with Trump in the lead, and DeSantis and others trailing behind in the GOP presidential primaries — seems dedicated to destroying both.

Are these people stupid? Or so power-hungry they will lie to their voters about the nature of reality in order to win elections? Whichever, they are dangerous, immoral, even — for the longer-term consequences they seen intent on, or unconcerned about, bringing about — evil. History will not treat them kindly.


I have two or three links to articles and essays concerning the supposed disintegration of the “nuclear family” in the US. Presumably how the MAGA folks think everyone should live in. But which in fact has been an historical anomaly, of the past century or so; multi-generational families living under the same roof have been far more common in previous centuries. I’ll get to these tomorrow maybe, unless something else turns up.

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