When Ed Thelander, a GOP congressional candidate in Maine, touted the litter-boxes-in-schools myth, he learned soon after the stories were nonsensical. The Republican then did the obvious thing: Thelander acknowledged his mistake.
Joe Rogan, a prominent podcast host, recently claimed that he has an unidentified friend who’s married to a woman who works at an unidentified school that installed a litter box for a student who “identifies as an animal.” This week, Rogan admitted that the story wasn’t true.
Republican Senate hopeful Don Bolduc, however, is approaching this story in a far different way, and in the process, the New Hampshire candidate is offering a classic example of post-truth politics.
“Guess what? We have furries and fuzzies in classrooms,” Bolduc told a group of voters last week. “They lick themselves, they’re cats. ... And get this, get this. They’re putting litter boxes, right? Litter boxes for that.” He concluded, “I wish I was making it up.”
In theory, Bolduc could’ve done what Thelander and Rogan did, and backed off the bogus claims. In practice, the Senate candidate went in a different direction.
NBC News’ Ryan Nobles caught up with the New Hampshire Republican this week, and the candidate again said, in reference to the discredited litter box myth, “It is happening in the schools.” Nobles explained that educators have already explained these claims are “completely false.” At that point, Bolduc argued:
“Well, you know they came out and said they didn’t mask children. They came out and said they didn’t do a lot of things, right? They don’t teach [critical race theory], which they do. They don’t teach transgender, which they do. I’m not backing down. Okay? You’ve got the wrong guy. Just because they say it, they need to prove it. Prove it. I’ve got parents and kids telling me they need to prove it to us. I don’t need to prove it to them.”
For now, let’s put aside the Republican’s strange ideas about what else is going on in New Hampshire schools. I don’t even know what “teach transgender” means.
Instead, let’s consider Bolduc’s contention that it’s his job to promote ridiculous myths, and it’s educators’ job to “prove” that his ridiculous myths aren’t true.
Among grown-ups, there’s generally an understanding that asking people to prove negatives is foolish. If someone were to accuse Bolduc of having been born on Mars, he’d deny it. If the accuser then said, “Oh yeah? Well, Bolduc says a lot of things, and it’s up to him to prove that he wasn’t born on Mars,” the candidate would probably think that that was bonkers — and he’d be right.
But that’s effectively the approach he's taking with this offensive litter-boxes-in-schools nonsense. It also helps explain why Bolduc has spent two years pushing bewildering conspiracy theories about the 2020 elections: The Senate candidate doesn’t seem to appreciate how logic works.
As we discussed the other day, the broader significance is the sort of thing that might matter to Granite State voters: The Republican Senate hopeful doesn’t just believe strange things, Bolduc also appears to struggle to tell the difference between good information and bad. Given the powerful office he’s seeking, that’s a rather important flaw.
Is it any wonder that New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, conceded a couple of months ago that Bolduc is “not a serious candidate”?
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