Florida Sen. Rick Scott kicked off the 2024 2022 campaign on Tuesday by releasing an 11-point plan “to rescue America.”
“If Republicans return to Washington’s business as usual, if we have no bigger plan than to be a speed bump on the road to America’s collapse, we don’t deserve to govern,” Scott wrote in the plan’s introduction. “We must resolve to aim higher than the Republican Congresses that came before us. Americans deserve to know what we will do.”
Scott’s decision to put his name to a series of specific proposals for what Republicans could and should do if they retake the Senate and House this fall stands in direct contrast to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has pointedly refused to offer an alternative policy agenda.
When asked last month what the GOP’s agenda would be if they took control of Congress, McConnell told reporters: “That is a very good question and I’ll let you know when we take it back.”
Scott seems to acknowledge the fact that he is rebelling against his party leadership, writing: “Like the ‘Contract with America’ before it, the Washington insiders will hate this plan.” (The Contract with America was the Republican agenda unveiled during the 1994 midterms, when the GOP won control of the House.)
Why did Scott do it then? Well, at least in part (a large part) because of politics. Scott, the former governor of Florida who was elected to the Senate in 2018, has his eye on bigger prizes. He’s currently serving as the chairman of the Senate Republican campaign arm and has done very little to knock down talk that he would be interested in a presidential bid down the line.
This plan feels like the sort of thing that could become the basis of a Scott presidential run, whether in 2024 or 2028.
So what’s actually in the plan? A fair amount of it is just red-meat rhetoric sure to make the base of the party happy. But amid the spin – and the attacks on Democrats, “wokeness” and the media – there are some actual policy proposals. Let’s go through them.
1. Kids in public schools would say the Pledge of Allegiance and be required to stand for the National Anthem. They also would have to “honor” the American flag.
2. The Department of Education would close. “Education is a state function,” wrote Scott.
3. The government would never be able to ask you to disclose your race, ethnicity or skin color “on any government form.” (On a related note, the US Census Bureau is on line one, Sen. Scott.)
4. The US military would engage in “ZERO diversity training” or “any woke ideological indoctrination that divides our troops.”
5. If a college or university uses affirmative action in admissions, it would be “ineligible for federal funding and will lose their tax-exempt status.”
6. “Strict” mandatory minimum sentences would be required in every case in which a police officer is seriously injured.
7. Any “attempt to deny our 2nd Amendment freedoms” would be strongly opposed.
8. The wall along the US southern border would be completed and named after former President Donald Trump.
9. Immigrants to the US would not be able to collect unemployment benefits or welfare until they have lived in the country for seven years.
10. So-called sanctuary cities would be stripped of all federal funding.
11. The federal budget would be balanced and, if not, members of Congress would not be paid.
12. All Americans would pay some income tax “to have skin in the game.” (At present, roughly half of Americans do not pay taxes because their taxable income doesn’t meet a minimum threshold.)
13. Federal debt ceiling increases would be prohibited unless accompanied by a declaration of war.
14. All federally elected officials, as well as all federal workers, would be subject to a 12-year term limit.
15 All federal legislation would have a sunset provision five years after it passes. (People currently on Social Security or Medicare might be particularly interested in that one.)
16. Funding for the IRS, as well as its workforce, would be cut by 50%.
17. Politicians would be banned from becoming lobbyists when they leave office.
18. Voter ID would become the law of the land. “All arguments against voter ID are in favor of fraud,” according to Scott.
19. Same-day voter registration would be banned.
20. “No federal program or tax laws will reward people for being unmarried or discriminate against marriage.”
21. No government form would offer options related to “gender identity” or “sexual preference”
22. Biological males would be banned from competing in women’s sports.
23. “All social media platforms that censor speech and cancel people will be treated like publishers and subject to legal action.”
24. No tax dollars could be used for “diversity training or other woke indoctrination that is hostile to faith.”
25. No dues would be paid to the United Nations or “any international organization that undermines the national interests of the USA.”
26. “The weather is always changing. We take climate change seriously, but not hysterically. We will not adopt nutty policies that harm our economy or our jobs.”
There’s more in there, but those are the main points.
It’s an attempt – both rhetorically and from a policy perspective – to make permanent many of the changes that Trump ushered in during his four years in office. It’s a promise of all the things you liked about Trump without some of the bombast and unpredictability. It’s a blueprint for Trumpism without Trump.