Rightwing extremists fare poorly in school board elections

Rightwingers in the US have made schools and libraries the focus of their culture wars, seeing those venerable institutions as somehow indoctrinating children with liberal values, when in reality they are largely providing fairly ideologically neutral services. What has happened is that rightwingers have lost the culture wars as the zeitgeist has shifted under their feet, resulting in the public at large more accepting of those groups that were formerly invisible or marginalized because of their gender identity or sexual orientation or ethnicity. As a result, the rightwingers have become the fringe but still see themselves as upholding mainstream values, and have launched an assault on schools and libraries in their effort to take control of what they think they have lost.

But it looks like becoming ever more extreme, as often happens with groups fighting culture wars, may be a losing political strategy because it makes their toxic views more public and alarms those do not agree with them. Those who may formerly have been somewhat passive politically have now become more active in trying to stop the extremists and we are seeing some evidence of that as rightwingers have recently lost in many school board elections.

Scores of rightwing US extremists were defeated in school-board elections in April, in a victory for the left and what Democrats hope could be effective for running against Republicans in the year ahead.

Republican-backed candidates in Wisconsin also fared poorly. Moms for Liberty, a rightwing group linked to wealthy Republican donors which has been behind book-banning campaigns in the US, said only eight of its endorsed candidates won election to school boards, and other conservative groups also reported disappointing performances.

Teachers’ unions, including the Illinois Education Association, endorsed candidates in school board elections around the state. The IEA backed candidates in about 100 races, and about 90% of those candidates won, said Kathi Griffin, the organization’s president.

“I would hope that the tide is turning, to make sure that people who want to have those [school board] positions because they want to do good for our kids, continue [to get elected],” Griffin said.

Let’s hope the trend continues.


  1. billseymour says

    There was a school board election on my ballot, and I was careful to vote against a guy who had “parental rights” as one of his issues.  That was almost certainly code aimed at the extreme right-wingers.

    Let’s hope the trend continues.


  2. moarscienceplz says

    Mano, the first paragraph of the quote is duplicated.

    [Corrected. Thanks! -- Mano]

  3. lanir says

    I live in a suburb of Chicago that has a depressingly Republican voting record for local positions. The result here was 2 reasonable people and 2 people with sketchy ideas. If locales that were similarly solid red ten years ago are seeing results like this the next couple election cycles might have very interesting results.

  4. says

    I’m in Canada but a couple of elections ago I decided I should start paying attention to my school board votes and make an informed vote, and we don’t even seem to get as many of the far righters as you do down south.

  5. says

    @1 Billseymour

    Yes, “parental rights” is just one more code word/dog whistle. Also, I am always wary of so-called “grassroots” groups which include words like “freedom”, “liberty”, or “patriot” in their names. 99% of the time they stand for none of those things.

    And seriously, do you really want a group of parents who most likely have no training in the field of education or child psychology to be calling the shots on what gets taught? Heck, it’s easy to find parents who are upset that schools aren’t teaching cursive anymore! When was the last time any of them wrote a longhand letter?

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