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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is reliably extremist with a few more moderate ideas woven in.
Noem, a rising star in the Republican Party, talks about freedom a lot. Her version of freedom apparently involves criminalizing abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest, opposing marijuana legalization, suppressing protests of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and outlawing critical race theory.
Maybe she’s confused about what freedom means, like when she was “shocked” that Biden’s infrastructure package included, well, infrastructure.
On the subject of the many things Noem opposes, she’s also proudly anti-TikTok. Yes, TikTok.
Noem made national news this week for banning TikTok for the South Dakota state government—because, doncha know, China is watching.
That may be true, but it’s also true that the hashtag of her name on the platform is peppered with vicious takedowns and her decision inspired fawning coverage from right-wing media. Surely neither of these factors contributed to her decision to ban TikTok.
The move prompted a few people to point out that her mother did a TikTok dance in one of her recent campaign videos.
As governor, Noem memorably launched an anti-drug campaign that used the slogan, “Meth: We’re on it.” I’m sure South Dakota taxpayers were thrilled to pay $450,000 to become a meme.
That wasn’t Noem’s only curious use of public funds. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation in 2020, Noem used $5 million of funds earmarked for coronavirus relief for a tourism campaign even as her state was a hot spot for the deadly virus.
Noem’s loudest when she’s blaring extremist conservative policies, like when she said this summer that she opposes same-sex marriage. And who could forget her vow to “protect” South Dakotans from vaccines?
But hidden beneath the folds of her cookie-cutter right-wing stances lie (albeit very few) more progressive ideas.
Noem wants to improve mental healthcare, make childcare more affordable, expand broadband access, and even—gasp!—diversify our energy sources to include wind, solar, and other renewables. But don’t go calling her a greeniac. Noem supports drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, in federal lands, and opposes regulating greenhouse gasses.
Online, you can find her on Gettr, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Truth Social.