Amanda Marcotte in Salon:
It’s early, but Republicans have already seized on their strategy for winning the 2022 and 2024 elections. Of course, it does not depend on mundane tactics like “running on their record” or “making robust arguments about how their policies are better than their opponents.” The GOP is instead returning to the well that has, time and again, paid off handsomely: feigning umbrage over culture war flashpoints, usually ones wholly invented by the right or propped up with lies, to distract from substantive policy debates that actually impact American lives.
And it will probably work — again— because Democrats, hamstrung by their own inability to end the Senate filibuster, will not be able to pass substantive legislation they can tout as accomplishments in future campaigns. And so the election will come down to the Great Potato Head and Dr. Seuss Wars of 2022. Even more unfortunate, truly vulnerable people — like those who are part of the trans community — are also in the crosshairs, as the favored target for the culture wars that Republicans want to wage ahead of the next election. For those of you blissly unaware of what some 20th century children’s artifacts — Dr. Seuss and Potato Head — have to do with politics, well, let me briefly explain.
Conservatives are fanning out on Fox News and other right-wing media, as well as in the hallowed chambers of Congress, to spread lies about these childhood mainstays being “canceled” due to imaginary liberal censorship. It’s not true, of course, but that’s never stopped the right-wing noise machine before and it won’t now.
With Dr. Seuss, the issue comes down to the children’s book author’s estate deciding not to continue publishing some of the more obscure titles because they include racist imagery that runs against the childrens’ author’s own lifelong commitment to progressive politics. Importantly, most of his titles, especially the ones that are most beloved by the public, such as “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” will continue to be published. But conservatives took this nugget as an excuse to go buck wild with lies about Dr. Seuss being “canceled.”