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Our View: Musings on state of the presidential race


With Donald Trump secured as the Republican nominee, and Joe Biden perky and energized after his State of the Union address, the particulars of the presidential race are reshaping and molding around these two. Already, we’re seeing some shifts.

Noticed the quiet around the culture wars lately?

We haven’t heard much about the revamping and whitewashing of school curricula or the banning of books or the word “indoctrination” tossed around. The amplification cranked down as soon as Ron DeSantis exited the national stage and his bid for president.

Even Florida seems to be shedding proposals close to DeSantis’ heart. A bill banning rainbow flags from public buildings didn’t move beyond a subcommittee and an initiative prohibiting the removal of Confederate monuments was rejected. Another bill that died forbid local and state government officials from using transgender people’s pronouns.

In September during a visit to Durango, Darcy Schoening, former leader of the El Paso County chapter for Moms for Liberty, a Florida-formed conservative parental rights group focused on education, drew demonstrators who lined north Main Avenue in front of the VFW. This DeSantis-backed group has been criticized for its views on the LGBTQ+ community, critical race theory and attempts to remove books from school libraries.

Former chairwoman of La Plata County GOP Shelly Shaw led a demonstration against The Durango Herald’s news coverage and opinion about Schoening’s presentation.

Since then, Schoening left the organization. Then Shaw resigned and we haven’t heard a peep from her.

Times are changing. Fairly quickly. And we have eight months ahead before we elect our president.

Culture wars put other efforts in motion. Miami-Dade County founded Moms for Libros as an antidote to Moms for Liberty. In Colorado, lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 24-049 to slow down how schools and libraries remove controversial books.

Legislation would require a process for students, parents or community members to formally object to materials. A committee, named by either the local superintendent or a library director, would decide whether items are pulled, using specific standards outlined in the bill.

The bill would also expand protections for library workers.

Of course, the “anti-woke” movement could resurface with a loud vengeance if Trump tapped DeSantis for vice president, with like-minded followers in tow. But we don’t see that happening.

Trump will probably select a woman as running mate. We don’t know whether Vegas odds favor this bet, but it makes sense. A woman who is anti-abortion but has some elasticity around the issue. Like Trump does.

And as this race ramps up toward the finish line, the southern border will zoom into wider focus. More Biden’s concern than Trump’s, the president needs to clean up policies and become crystal clear about what he wants to happen. Voters have eyes on this, along with the war in Gaza, and how they are managed. At the very least, the humanitarian crises in both places must be addressed first.

Other points. How will Vladimir Putin be handled? What’s next for reproductive rights? Will we do something about gun massacres or continue to dig into our tired stances?

Much ahead as issues narrow, and determine Trump and Biden’s odds of winning.

Ann Marie Swan is Opinion Editor at The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez. These opinions are her own and don’t represent the editorial board’s.