“Woke” has been one of the top Republican refrains of recent months and even years, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis notably turning to it whenever he feels the need to score a point. Are. so it was shocking when the word was used Only once in the first Republican presidential debate, and not even once by DeSantis.

“There’s a lot of crazy stuff happening in schools,” former UN ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in the more than 90-minute debate, skipping a line in the middle of a reply that focused on attacks on trans athletes. Focused on reading therapy. And unless it was overheard in crosstalk and shouted at some other point, that was it. From catchphrase to dead and buried in record time.

May be the candidates have finally noticed this line polling is not working properly Even among Republicans, they realized they needed something new. They didn’t really come up with anything new, offering one tired, nasty attack after another on trans kids who just want to go to the bathroom and play sports. He constantly shied away from questions asked for raising his voice against China, migrants on the southern border and teachers’ unions. But he seemed to be moving ahead of the old pattern.

When asked about education, DeSantis said a favorite line: “We need education, not preaching.” Usually it brags about his crusade against “awakened ideology” in schools, but not in this debate.

This happened after DeSantis made Anti-Wockiness a private brand in April 2022 by signing the “Stop Wock Act” (Stop Mistakes for Our Children and Employees). Law Bans teaching critical race theory (translation: anything about race that right-wing white people don’t like), and bans the hiring of “awakened CRT consultants.” And DeSantis could not, would not, remain silent about awareness, a word he used to assign a meaning he did not like.

“We will never surrender to an awakened mob. Florida is where a man who wakes up goes to die,'” he said in his letter. opening speech In January — but apparently his first presidential debate was where the talking point ended.

DeSantis’s debate performance has been fairly flat, missing long periods of the proceedings, avoiding direct questions, and often seeming like his heart was not in it when he spoke. You would think that a line like “We’re going to use force and we’ll leave them stone dead” would be delivered with some fire, but not from DeSantis on Wednesday night. Who knows—maybe he was so busy reminding himself not to say “wake up” that he got distracted by the things he should have said. He may be feeling frustrated for not being able to expose his personal mantra. Or perhaps the knowledge that the attacks on the “Awakened” were failing was wrapped up in the knowledge that his entire campaign was failing.

Maybe Republicans will revive “woke,” or habit will take over and the word will keep slipping, but it was notable in the debate that this centerpiece of the Republican primary was almost entirely missing.

Sign the Petition: Say No to Ron DeSantis’ War on Education.

Everyone always talks about redistribution, but what is it like to actually do it? Oregon political consultant Kari Chisholm joins us on this week’s episode of The Downballot to discuss her experience as a member of Portland’s new independent District Commission, a panel of citizens who will select the city’s first electorate for its city council. Assigned the task of making the map. Kari explains why Portland wanted to switch from at-large elections to a district-based system; how new multi-member districts can promote diversity on the council; and the commission’s surprisingly effective efforts to divide the city into four equal districts with a focus on community input.

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