Can Anti-Wokeism Be the Glue That Holds the GOP Together? | Opinion

A funny thing happened en route to a brawl between nationalist-populist MAGA world, MAGA-averse conservative groups, and GOP establishment organs heading into 2024.

Despite the internecine warfare in which these cohorts competed against one another in key races from Ohio to Pennsylvania to Arizona during the 2022 midterm elections, in at least one significant contest early in this cycle, the parties called a truce.

Contrary to corporate media predictions—or was it wishcasting?—of a coming GOP civil war in Indiana over a U.S. Senate seat set to open in 2024, the likes of Donald Trump, the Club for Growth, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee all set aside their differences in endorsing Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) to succeed incumbent Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who is now running for governor.

Banks, a Hoosier congressman now in his fourth term, established himself as a force on the Hill as chairman of the Republican Study Committee—the largest caucus of House conservatives.

While there, he notably argued in a memo to then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that Republicans ought to cultivate the working-class constituency that President Donald Trump had delivered them by building on the politics and policies that had so greatly appealed to such voters.

Pivotal to Banks' argument was the idea that Wokeism was a direct affront to the values and interests of everyday Americans of all races, colors, and creeds, and that it was incumbent upon Republicans to fight Wokeism in these voters' defense.

It is in this battle—against Wokeism—perhaps above all others, that Rep. Banks has distinguished himself. Just days before declaring his run for the Indiana Senate seat, the congressman announced he would be establishing the first ever Anti-Woke caucus. Wokeism, Banks argued last month, poses the "greatest domestic threat to America today." In a subsequent interview, Banks called Wokeism "a cancer in the federal government and American culture. We need to identify it and uproot it." The impending U.S. House Anti-Woke Caucus would therefore aim to expose Wokeism's march throughout every federal agency, and to defund it. "No bill that spends taxpayer dollars on leftist activities should pass out of committee without a recorded vote on an amendment to defund wokeness," he said.

With Congressman Banks making fighting Wokeism a central theme of his Senate candidacy—a unique aspect of a candidacy that has garnered support across the entire GOP spectrum—this raises a question: Could anti-Wokeism be the glue that holds the Republican Party together?

On the merits, it certainly should be.

Wokeism, at its core, is a Marxian tool of power and control achieved through dividing—by creating an ever-expanding number of identities to be pitted against each other—and conquering. The sole identity that Wokeism does not abide is our uniting one: That of American, which the Woke treat as irredeemably evil.

The Woke anti-religion of the state, which has come to pervade virtually every influential institution in our country, threatens peace and prosperity by breaking our common bonds and eviscerating the liberty and justice on which our republic stands in the name of false virtue and righteousness.

The Woke purport to right our historical wrongs by re-engineering society—for example, in seeking proportional representation by race in every aspect of American life—in ways that require running roughshod over our most basic human rights.

We are compelled to submit to the Woke's ever-growing dictates or face the consequences.

As Rep. Banks writes, under Wokeism:

all the so-called oppressor groups must be punished for their past and present alleged sins. There are many steps to punishing them: inducing self-hatred through indoctrination, stripping away their rights by not enforcing the laws on their behalf, public humiliation, hatred, expropriation, and ultimately violence.

By contrast, the "oppressed" retain "privileged status, exemption from certain laws and norms, and the public recognition that their views are unimpeachable—they cannot be contradicted by reason, they cannot be doubted, but must be believed."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican of
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, and Representative Jim Banks (R), Republican of Indiana, holds a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 9, 2022. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Under Wokeism, Americans therefore are held to different standards based on in-born characteristics over which we have no control, and which have nothing to do with our character, capabilities, or personal conduct. Little could be more unjust and un-American than such unequal treatment in the name of "equity."

Millions have been mugged by Wokeism's unreality.

They feel it in basic assaults on the American way of life—not just in challenges to morality or tradition, but to plain common sense and decency—and see a grim future for their children under its jackboot.

Wokeism is at work in every "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" (DEI) initiative at the office, every Maoist struggle session in the classroom, and every drag queen story hour at the local library.

It is inextricably linked to the surge in violent crime, the overrunning of our borders, and the targeting of engaged parents and the faithful as domestic terrorists.

It is exemplified by our military's embrace of racist anti-racism and our transportation secretary's decrying of white laborers while our infrastructure crumbles; in a U.S. Supreme Court nominee's unwillingness to define what constitutes a "woman," while our medical establishment promotes the mutilation of young girls and boys alike; and in states' racial rationing of medical treatments.

It is codified in executive orders, and protected via our mass public-private censorship regime—part and parcel of a budding social credit system with American characteristics—that has aimed to excommunicate anyone who would dare talk openly about these and a million other issues.

In short, Wokeism makes man God, violates nature, perverts justice, and transgresses morality. It is an invitation to dissension and disaster.

Seen as the existential threat to the country that it is, and with one political party totally in hock to it, it would be both unconscionable and political malpractice of the highest order for Republicans not to defend the un-Woke, unwashed masses against the onslaught of Wokeism by aggressively targeting Wokeism in all its manifestations.

This begins, as Rep. Banks has highlighted, with purging the state itself of Wokeism. Not a single tax dollar should fund an ideology of national self-immolation.

Targeting Wokeism in this vein has proven politically effective for candidates as diverse as Donald Trump nationwide in 2016, to Glenn Youngkin in Virginia in 2021, to Ron DeSantis in Florida in 2022.

To be sure, these figures may have targeted different aspects of Wokeism and attacked it in different ways. Each of them brought their own talents to the table, and with their own tenor. Politicians as a matter of prudence must tailor their agendas, rhetoric, and tactics to meet their constituencies where they are—and at their best, move them to where they ought to be.

But despite their differences, these men understood at very minimum that a sizable silent majority of Americans knows in their hearts that on the most fundamental things in life, the Woke elites are wrong—dangerously so—and Americans are going to bear the brunt of it.

Rep. Banks recognizes this. Accordingly, a diverse coalition of Republicans has backed him.

Whether we can draw a line from Trump to Youngkin to DeSantis to Banks is yet to be determined.

Intra-party divisions remain.

But if the republic is to endure, at a bare minimum it is incumbent upon the GOP to unite around combating an ideology, in Wokeism, that threatens to not only put Republicans, but the whole country, out of business.

Ben Weingarten is deputy editor for RealClearInvestigations. He also contributes to The Federalist, the New York Post, The Epoch Times, and other publications. Subscribe to his newsletter at, and follow him on Twitter: @bhweingarten.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.