A few years ago, Glenn Reynolds — for you young people, a prominent bloodthirsty pro-war blogger from the years 2001-4 inclusive — applied his violence fanaticism to political protestors in the U.S., urging people to run them down with their cars should they inconvenience them in any way. But for Donald Trump’s Republican Party, what were once the crank ravings of a third-tier winger pundit are now party orthodoxy:
Republican legislators in Oklahoma and Iowa have passed bills granting immunity to drivers whose vehicles strike and injure protesters in public streets.
A Republican proposal in Indiana would bar anyone convicted of unlawful assembly from holding state employment, including elected office. A Minnesota bill would prohibit those convicted of unlawful protesting from receiving student loans, unemployment benefits or housing assistance.
And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed sweeping legislation this week that toughened existing laws governing public disorder and created a harsh new level of infractions — a bill he’s called “the strongest anti-looting, anti-rioting, pro-law-enforcement piece of legislation in the country.”
The measures are part of a wave of new anti-protest legislation, sponsored and supported by Republicans, in the 11 months since Black Lives Matter protests swept the country following the death of George Floyd. The Minneapolis police officer who killed Mr. Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was convicted on Tuesday on murder and manslaughter charges, a cathartic end to weeks of tension.
But while Democrats seized on Mr. Floyd’s death last May to highlight racism in policing and other forms of social injustice, Republicans responded to a summer of protests by proposing a raft of punitive new measures governing the right to lawfully assemble. G.O.P. lawmakers in 34 states have introduced 81 anti-protest bills during the 2021 legislative session — more than twice as many proposals as in any other year, according to Elly Page, a senior legal adviser at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, which tracks legislation limiting the right to protest.
Some, like Mr. DeSantis, are labeling them “anti-riot” bills, conflating the right to peaceful protest with the rioting and looting that sometimes resulted from such protests.
Time for another round of fawning DeSantis profiles, because Donald Trump with a 20% larger vocabulary is definitely the hero this country needs.
I suppose it goes without saying that DeSantis is also firmly in the anti-anti-Chauvin camp:
Ron DeSantis on Chauvin’s jury conviction: “If that’s something that can potentially happen, where you have justice meted out because the jury is scared of what a mob may do — not saying that’s what happened here … [but] that’s completely antithetical to the rule of law.” pic.twitter.com/fBDDCxmiQd— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 21, 2021
I’m just grateful that Trump lacked the power to preemptively pardon Chauvin, because he would have.