Larry the Cable Guy made the phrase "Git-R-Done" his signature. A new breed of young Republicans and populists has its own message for their establishment elders: Get it right.
This new strategic alliance refuses to clap like trained GOP seals at any shiny vehicle masquerading as a free speech rescue because their very lives and livelihoods are on the line. This is not a drill.
In Florida, conservative GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis has earned lavish praise and attention for backing anti-censorship legislation that he claims will reign in Big Tech's power to exercise "clear viewpoint discrimination." Among the DeSantis-backed statehouse bill's key features: fines of between $25,000 and $250,000 per day for social media platforms that "censor, shadow ban, deplatform, or apply post-prioritization algorithms" to Florida candidates, users or residents; a ban on public contracts with social media entities found guilty or civilly liable for antitrust violation; and requirements to disclose standards and definitions used by the tech overlords to censor and stifle dissidents.
DeSantis asserts that the bill, sponsored by Republican state house Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (H.B. 7013/S.B. 7072), which passed the state Senate on Monday, would protect "negatively impacted Americans who dissent from orthodoxies favored by the big tech cartel." As the bill notes, states have substantial interests in protecting their citizens from "inconsistent and unfair" internet companies that "have become as important for conveying public opinion as public utilities are for supporting modern society."
That's exactly the right message and every red-state governor should be sounding it. But if you are going to take on the Silicon Valley overlords and protect free speech, you've got to make them pay. You've got to close gaping loopholes. And you've got to leave no deplatformed victims behind.
Citing Facebook and Twitter's bans of former president Donald Trump, DeSantis has rightly blasted the immense control of "monopoly communications platforms" who now act as "enforcers of preferred narratives." But the bill would not retroactively protect Trump or former Florida GOP congressional candidate and free-speech warrior Laura Loomer. As Loomer (who is running again for Congress in Florida's 21st district) has warned for weeks, the bill only covers future state-level candidates, not federal candidates like her or the former president. A mechanism for review and restoration of already-canceled accounts is key. "The future of all of our future elections in Florida is dependent on this tech bill passing with the strengthening amendments," Loomer told me. "In order to restore integrity to our elections in America, we must first hold Big Tech accountable for their discriminatory and anti-competitive behavior, as well as their illegal election interference in the form of deplatforming candidates."
The bill would also only protect journalists working for large corporate entities and leave independent citizen media in the cold. Moreover, the Florida anti-social media censorship law fails to cover a wider universe of internet-based companies and financial institutions beyond Facebook, Twitter, Google and Instagram that are punishing conservative users for their political views. These include multinational banks, rideshare companies, payment processors and telecom companies. Loomer knows of which she speaks, having been banned by Paypal, GoFundMe, Patreon, Lyft, TeeSpring, Uber and even Uber Eats, among dozens of other companies, for her no-holds-barred journalism and anti-jihad activism.
Similarly, "America First" host Nick Fuentes has been banned by all the usual Big Tech suspects, along with livestream service DLive, Coinbase, "and every payment processor" for his forceful advocacy of populism, an end to mass migration and protection of the nuclear family. He was scheduled to join Loomer, former Delaware GOP Senate candidate Lauren Witzke (banned from Twitter for calling a pedophilia-flirting transgender activist "demonic"), and me in Palm Beach Tuesday at a rally to push for loophole-free legislation holding Silicon Valley accountable for discriminatory deplatforming.
But Fuentes never got off the ground, because two airlines and Joe Biden's TSA informed him that he didn't have "clearance" to fly. He has been charged with no crimes and was blocked from exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.
"The United States is now a country that persecutes its own citizens for political dissent. My placement on the no-fly list constitutes a grave escalation by the federal government against American conservatives," Fuentes told me. It's "all the more reason why our Republican representatives in state and federal government must get serious and pass strong legislation that protects the civil liberties of the 75 million people that voted for Donald Trump."
I've fought the deplatforming tyrants for 15 years as an internet entrepreneur and will do all I can to protect and support this new generation of free speech warriors from the globalist speech-squelchers and thought crime police. If you care about the future of this crumbling sovereign nation, you should, too.
First, send this message to DeSantis and every Republican governor and state legislator purporting to oppose Big Tech: Get it done, GOP. Get it right.