Republicans gone woke: Where Haley and DeSantis now agree with AOC

GOP leaders are creating a new cancel culture.

Woke not only means denouncing others’ ‘hate speech’, but also canceling them.

Nikki Haley is woke as hell right now.

The Republican recently said, “We do need to make sure on these college campuses that we hold these universities accountable. They get the right to freedom of speech… but that doesn’t mean they get the right to freedom of hate.”

Actually, yes they do, Nikki. Hate speech, extreme speech, even most types of violent speech, are all protected by the First Amendment. 

But Haley sees these students’ speech as such a menace that she would revoke their constitutional rights.

She gets to decide what hate speech is.

Ron DeSantis is woke, too.

The governor recently forced Florida’s public universities to “deactivate” the student group Students for Justice in Palestine and said in a speech that the group’s claims “are part of what Hamas is doing” and that amounts to “material support to terrorism and that is not going to be tolerated in the state of Florida.”

DeSantis has provided no material evidence that this group has given “material support” —weapons, money, resources—to Hamas. He has just described their speech, and even if they are speaking in disgusting ways about faraway violence, that is still protected by the First Amendment.

But DeSantis sees these students’ speech as such a menace that he is suppressing their constitutional rights.

He gets to decide what hate speech is.

Haley and DeSantis are not alone.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agrees with both Haley and DeSantis. Not necessarily on the subject of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but on what the threshold should be for restricting free speech.

During an MSNBC interview in April about Fox News’ multi-million dollar defamation settlement, the Democratic congresswoman said Americans need to think more “about how we navigate questions, not just of freedom of speech, but also accountability for incitement of violence.”

Interviewer Jen Psaki asked, “Do you think media organizations or social media platforms should be accountable for the role, for being platforms for ‘incitement.’”

AOC replied, “I believe that when it comes to broadcast television, like Fox News, these are subject to federal law, federal regulation, in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t.”

“And when you look at what Tucker Carlson and what some of these other folks on Fox do, it is very, very clearly incitement of violence,” she added.

AOC finished, “That is the line that I think we have to be willing to contend with.”

She sees Tucker Carlson’s’ speech as such a menace that he should be “subject to federal law, federal regulation,” in other words, his constitutional rights shouldn’t apply due to his hate speech.

And she gets to decide what hate speech is.

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The Supreme Court takes a very narrow view of what constitutes ‘incitement’ to violence. A landmark 1969 caseBrandenburg v. Ohio – decided that encouraging imminent violence was not protected, but most other similar forms of speech—including calls for violence—are protected. 

In other words, you can hold a sign saying ‘kill all Eskimos.’ But if you and a mob of others who hated Eskimos saw an Eskimo, and you said kill THAT Eskimo—that would be an incitement to violence that is not protected speech.

Carlson’s speech doesn’t do that. Remotely. It is constitutionally protected. Like AOC, DeSantis believes the pro-Palestinian student groups’ speech is an incitement to violence, but the governor has shown no evidence of the Court’s definition of this. Haley sees similar behavior in the hate speech of the same groups.

While the Left believes what they call racist, homophobic or transphobic language is too dangerous to be allowed, some on the Right now see the pro-Palestinian student groups’ speech as incitement. Like Ocasio-Cortez, Haley and DeSantis are just as eager to cancel, using the government to punish people for speech they don’t like.

We have a First Amendment precisely to protect citizens from government leaders who might trend authoritarian, as these three clearly have. Can you imagine the kind of unconstitutional dictums a woke President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might attempt to get away with?

We don’t have to imagine much. She told us in that interview.

We also don’t have to imagine what kind of tyranny a president Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis might attempt—they are telling us now in real time. 

After years of fighting against cancel culture, Republicans are now creating their own with Haley and DeSantis leading the way.

Ron DeSantis once said that Florida is “where woke goes to die.” 

This week he proved it’s where it lives.

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunter
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for