A far-right libertarian candidate won Argentina’s open presidential primary election on Sunday, a surprising showing for a politician who wants to adopt the U.S. dollar as Argentina’s official currency and embraces comparisons to Donald Trump.

Javier Milei, 52, a congressman, economist and former television pundit, secured 30 percent of the vote with 96 percent of the ballots counted, making him the front-runner for the presidency in the fall general election.

Polls had suggested that Mr. Milei’s support was at about 20 percent, and political analysts had predicted that his radical policy proposals — including abolishing the country’s central bank — would prevent him from attracting many more voters.

But the vote on Sunday made clear that Mr. Milei now has a clear shot at leading Argentina, a South American nation of 46 million with some of the world’s largest reserves of oil, gas and lithium.

“I think these results are surprising even to him,” said Pablo Touzon, an Argentine political consultant. “Up until now, he was a protest candidate.”

Argentina’s general election in October, which could go to a November runoff, will now become a new test of the strength of the far right around the world. Although hard-right forces have gained new influence in several powerful nations in recent years, including the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and Finland, they have also suffered some defeats, including in Spain and Brazil.

Mr. Milei has pitched himself as the radical change that the collapsing Argentine economy needs, and he could be a shock to the system if elected. Besides his ideas about the currency and the central bank, he has proposed drastically lowering taxes and cutting public spending, including by charging people to use the public health care system; closing or privatizing all state-owned enterprises; and eliminating the health, education and environment ministries.

Sergio Massa, Argentina’s center-left finance minister, finished second in the primary, with 21 percent of the vote. Patricia Bullrich, a conservative former security minister, finished in third place, with 17 percent.

The general election takes place on Oct. 22, but it appears likely that the race will be decided in a runoff vote on Nov. 19. The Sunday results showed that Argentina’s three separate coalitions have similar levels of support, making it unlikely that any candidate will exceed the 50-percent threshold necessary to win outright in the first round.

The center-right coalition’s candidates received a combined 28 percent of the vote on Sunday, while the center-left coalition received 27 percent — both slightly less than Mr. Milei’s total.

The incumbent center-left party has held power in Argentina for 16 of the past 20 years and has been controlled largely by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

“We’re not only going to end Kirchnerism, but we’re also going to end the useless, parasitic, criminal political caste that is sinking this country,” Mr. Milei told supporters in a speech on Sunday night. He then thanked his sister, who runs his campaign, and his five Mastiff dogs, each named after a conservative economist.

Argentina, which has weathered economic crises for decades, is in the midst of one of its worst. The Argentine peso has plummeted in value, annual inflation has surpassed 115 percent, nearly 40 percent of the population is impoverished and the country is struggling to repay its $44 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Milei has said that his economic policies would represent an austerity package that goes beyond even what the I.M.F. is requesting of Argentina.

He could also have a profound effect on other parts of Argentine society. He and his running mate, a lawyer who has defended the country’s past military dictatorship, have suggested they would loosen gun laws, reverse recent policies allowing abortion and even permit the sale of human organs, an example of commerce that Mr. Milei says the government has no business restricting.

Yet implementing such changes would lead to a major challenge. Sunday’s results suggested that Mr. Milei, if elected, would have limited direct support in Congress. His party, called Liberty Advances, said it would control just 8 of the 72 seats in the Senate and 35 of the 500 seats in the House, according to the results for its other candidates.

Mr. Touzon said Mr. Milei would have less institutional support than far-right candidates who were swept into office elsewhere in recent years, including Mr. Trump and former President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. “Bolsonaro leaned on the army. Trump had the Republican Party. Milei has nothing,” he said.

He added that Mr. Milei’s economic plan, while radical, is lacking in details and has been revised frequently. “His dollarization plan was changed 50 times,” Mr. Touzon said. “Today, he does not have a team to govern Argentina.”

Yet Mr. Milei has proved to be a skilled politician in the internet age, with a trademark scowl and head of unruly hair that have given him a larger-than-life persona and made him an easy subject of internet memes, much like Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolsonaro.

In a public video posted online ahead of the vote, Mr. Bolsonaro endorsed Mr. Milei and said they were political kindred spirits. “We have a lot of things in common,” he said, citing what he called their support for private property, freedom of expression, the free market and the right to self-defense.

And not unlike supporters of Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolsonaro, Argentines who voted for Mr. Milei said on Sunday that they liked him because he was a political outsider who would shake up a broken system and tell it like it is.

“The Argentine people have finally woken up,” said Rebeca Di Iorio, 44, an administrative worker celebrating at Mr. Milei’s election-night street party in Buenos Aires. “Argentina needs that. It needs a change.”

Santiago Manoukian, research chief of Ecolatina, an Argentine economic consulting firm, said that of the different scenarios for primary results that analysts had mapped out, Mr. Milei’s victory was the least expected.

Now Mr. Manoukian said he would have to rethink his predictions of the election, as Mr. Milei has a clear chance to reach the second round, which then could be a tossup.

“He was not seen as a competitive candidate for a runoff,” Mr. Manoukian said. “Now something very different is happening.”

After a recount in a remarkably close race, Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado, known for heckling President Biden during his State of the Union speech, arming herself on Capitol Hill and ignoring Covid mask rules, won her bid for a second term. Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold, announced the results on Monday.

Ms. Boebert, 35, staved off a fierce challenge from Adam Frisch, a Democratic businessman and former Aspen, Colo., city councilman, in the state’s Republican-leaning Third District.

Mr. Frisch, who faced a deficit of roughly 500 votes out of more than 327,000 cast, gained just two votes in the automatic recount. In the end, Ms. Boebert won with 50.06 percent of the vote, to Mr. Frisch’s 49.89 percent.

On Twitter on Sunday, before the recount was made official by the secretary of state, Ms. Boebert said: “Our conservative policies will help all Americans to overcome the challenges we face so each of us has the opportunity to live our very best life. Thank you for entrusting me to help lead the way. I’ll be working every day to prove I can get the job done right.”

Mr. Frisch had sought to cast Ms. Boebert as a flamethrower in an increasingly polarized Congress, saying she was focused more on placating the Republican Party’s far-right Trump wing than on reducing inflation and adding jobs.

He presented himself in a television ad as not a typical Democrat, saying that he would not vote for Representative Nancy Pelosi for House speaker and that he supported border security. He showed footage of himself hunting with a shotgun.

But a disadvantage in name recognition and the makeup of voters in the district proved too much for Mr. Frisch to overcome against Ms. Boebert, who has drawn national attention for her incendiary actions.

On Monday evening, he released a statement on his loss. “While we hoped for a different outcome,” Mr. Frisch said, “we defied incredible odds with the closeness of this race.” He added, “I am confident that the coalition of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters we built throughout this campaign to reject hate and extremism in Southern and Western Colorado will grow into the future.”

Along with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a fellow Republican also in her first term, Ms. Boebert brought a no-holds-barred brand of politics to the House, feeding off a social media echo chamber of loyalists who backed former President Donald J. Trump. That has put Ms. Boebert at odds with platforms like Twitter, which temporarily suspended her account after she spread the falsehood that the 2020 election was rigged.

Her rhetoric and her style of politics also made her a target of Democrats during the Republican primary, many of whom crossed party lines to support her Republican challenger, driven by fears of her extremism.

Ms. Boebert won her seat in Congress in 2020, when she unseated a five-term incumbent in the Republican primary before going on to win the general election. Until then, she had run a gun-themed restaurant in Colorado’s ranch country — the Shooters Grill — where she encouraged staff members to carry firearms and defied restrictions by staying open during the pandemic.

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party has signed its first coalition deal with the far-right Jewish Power party, giving ultranationalist leader Itamar Ben-Gvir the police ministry and a seat in the security cabinet.

“We took a big step tonight toward a full coalition agreement, toward forming a fully, fully right-wing government,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement on Friday.

Netanyahu’s Likud and its religious and far-right allies won a clear victory in Israel’s November 1 election, appearing to end nearly four years of political instability.

The agreement does not account for a full and final new government, as negotiations with coalition partners drag on. But it shows slow and steady progress towards the formation of a government that looks set to be the most right wing in Israel’s history.

Under the terms of the deal, Ben-Gvir – who until last year was best known as a fringe Palestinian-hating religious far-right provocateur – will take up the newly created role of national security minister.

He will also have control over the Israel Border Police’s division in the occupied West Bank, which currently falls under the defence ministry, the Times of Israel reported.

Additionally, he will take up several newly formed portfolios and roles, including one related to the development of the Naqab (Negev) desert, another as the deputy minister in the Ministry of Economy, and the chair of the Public Security Committee of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset.

The deal also includes an agreement to establish a national guard and expand reserve troop mobilisation in the Border Police, the Israeli newspaper reported.

There will also be a relaxation of laws around the southern border to permit opening fire against “thieves caught stealing weapons from military bases”.

It was not immediately clear what the effect of the legislative change would be, given that soldiers were already given more leeway to open fire last year.

Ben-Gvir’s record includes a 2007 conviction for racist incitement against Arabs and support for terrorism, as well as anti-LGBTQ activism.

He says he no longer advocates the expulsion of all Palestinians – only those he deems “traitors” or “terrorists”.

An illegal settler living in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, Ben-Gvir is opposed to Palestinian statehood.

He also supports Jewish prayer in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, going against the established status quo of the site, and traditional Orthodox Jewish opposition to prayer there.

The increased presence of far-right Jews attempting to pray at the site, protected by Israeli forces, has incensed Palestinians and led to violent confrontations.

The inclusion of far-right figures in the coalition government has worried Israel’s Western allies, according to Israeli President Isaac Herzog, whose words were caught by a microphone he apparently thought was off.

Since winning a Knesset seat, Ben-Gvir has pulled a gun on Palestinian parking attendants in Tel Aviv – over which he was interrogated by police – and got into a dispute with legislator Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, when Odeh blocked him from the hospital room of a Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike.

Last month, Ben-Gvir went to the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Israeli authorities are attempting to evict Palestinian families, with a group of settlers who slashed Palestinians’ car tyres and tried to storm one family’s home.

When Palestinians responded by throwing stones, he pulled out a gun, despite the police presence at the scene.

Ben-Gvir claims Israeli police officers’ and soldiers’ hands are tied and he wants to loosen the rules to allow them to shoot at Palestinians who throw stones – but not Jewish people who do the same.

As if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t make Sunshine State liberals cringe enough, they will now have a new reason to need a safe space. On Wednesday, he tweeted out the image of a new Florida license plate that depicts Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag depicted on it and the famous phrase, “Don’t Tread On Me.”

Despite the flag dating back to the colonial era, a new report from NPR claims that now, the flag is synonymous with “dangerous far-right extremist ideology.”

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NPR Agenda

Gov. DeSantis stated that all proceeds for the license plates would go to the Florida Veterans Foundation, and invited residents to pre-order them. But helping veterans was not a good enough agenda for NPR. 

The NPR report is quick to connect the flag to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, stating, “The imagery of the Revolutionary War-era Gadsden flag dates to Benjamin Franklin but has, for many, come to symbolize a far-right extremist ideology and the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement that sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.”

The report also quotes Rachel Carroll Rivas, who is the deputy director of research and analysis for the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. She stated that, “The state can’t claim a lack of knowledge about what this image represents to most of the public.”

NPR continues to quote Rivas, but also adds their own analysis, “She says it’s become clear that the flag has been used for some ‘really awful’ causes, most notably the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, where violent protesters attacked police as part of an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.”

RELATED: Republicans Demand Garland Brief Homeland Security On Trump FBI Raid, Slam ‘Politically Motivated Witch Hunt’

History Of The Gadsden Flag

Most Americans are no doubt familiar with the Gadsden flag. The flag was created in 1775 by South Carolina Congressman Christopher Gadsden. He created it for Esek Hopkins, the first Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Navy. It was flown over his flagship the USS Alfred, and was also the first flag of the U.S. Marines. It has even appeared on money.

In the run-up to the Revolution, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay that appeared in the “Pennsylvania Gazette,” under the pseudonym “An American Guesser.” In the essay, Franklin explained why he thought the rattlesnake depicted on the flag was a good symbol for Americans in their drive to oppose the oppressive British crown:

I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids. She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal. Conscious of this, she never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.

A picture says a thousand words, and the flag’s meaning is exceedingly simple and easy to grasp – unless one is deliberately attempting to graft their own, alien meaning to it.

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Gadsden Flag Renaissance 

Though long used by libertarians, the Gadsden flag made a comeback of sorts in 2010 during the Obama administration, and the attempt to pass the Affordable Care Act. Americans had had enough of government overreach and were speaking out about it.

They held rallies where the flag was displayed prominently. It was and is a symbol of freedom-loving Americans who were not going to be pushed around by their government. 

But once again, bad news for the left. The Gadsden flag and its “Don’t Tread on Me” motto are protected speech.

Eugene Volokh is a professor at the UCLA School of Law. He explained:

“We know that some people are upset by that slogan. The government is perfectly entitled to take controversial stands or in this case stands that have become newly controversial because some very small group of people have ended up using a symbol for purposes that are very different”.

As liberals travel Florida roads with their “coexist” bumper stickers securely in place, get ready for them to be triggered by “Don’t Tread on Me” license plates.

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In footage shared online, anti-vaxxer Michael Chaves ​is seen berating parents — some of whom are carrying infants — arriving for Drag Queen Story Hour UK, an event at which books promoting compassion and inclusion are read to children. Chaves goes on to falsely accuse Sab Samuel, who was performing that day as drag queen Aida H Dee, of being a pedophile. CNN has reached out to Chaves for comment; he has not responded. ​

As protesters unfurled a banner reading: “Welcome groomers” outside the library, two women who had pretended to be attendees disrupted the reading inside the building, calling Samuel an “adult entertainer” as they terrified parents and children in the process, according to Samuel. At least one mother was seen crying after the incident, Samuel said.

The term “groomer” is a homophobic stereotype used to falsely smear queer people and their supporters as child sex abusers.

At the end of the session, Samuel left the library with police protection as demonstrators hurled abuse.

​Recent angry confrontations around events involving drag queens in the United Kingdom follow a disturbing precedent from the United States, where right-wing extremist groups ambush similar events and conservative politicians have pledged to criminalize adults taking children to drag shows.
Seoul's burgeoning drag scene confronts conservative attitudes
It has coincided with a wider movement to curtail rights ​related to bodily autonomy, ranging from abortion access to gender affirming care​, punctuated by a wave of anti-LGBTQ bills and Justice Clarence Thomas questioning marriage equality as the US Supreme Court overturned the ​federal right to abortion ​in the United States.

“This is the same hate (as seen in the US) but just in a different context … the same disgust, the same homophobia and transphobia,” Samuel, who founded Drag Queen Story Hour UK, told CNN.

Extremist groups in Britain are now feeling emboldened amid “a broader pushback against (queer) identities existing in public,” according to Tim Squirrell, an online extremism expert and communications director at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) think tank.

“Even people who are reasonably progressive in their beliefs and politics have become quite radical ​[in their opposition to] this thing, which really, really worries me, not least to the actual risk of queer people existing in public, but in the US, we’ve seen it tied into a much broader attempt to rollback LGBT rights,” he told CNN.

The pushback against LGBTQ rights in the UK has largely affected trans people, say campaigners, where ​so-called gender critical activists and ​sympathetic British press have succeeded in curtailing efforts to make it easier for trans people to change their gender marker.

Britain’s Conservative leadership contest has seen hopefuls ​espousing anti-trans rhetoric, and promising policies that would impede on the rights of trans people.​

Trans people may potentially be left out of plans for a ban on conversion therapy ​in the UK, while some religious and ​other anti-trans groups campaign against the teaching of ​what they call “gender ​ideology,” or information about the existence of transgender and nonbinary identities, in school.

Drag queens have also been ​a target of some feminists, who criticize them for what they perceive as a mocking portrayal of women and for being over-sexualized.

Challenging expectations

Samuels, who performs as Aida H Dee at Drag Queen Story Hour, told CNN some of the young attendees of his event find "joy" when they see themselves reflected in his persona.
Drag culture has long centered around LGBTQ people, challenging traditional expectations and beliefs ​about the ways people of all genders and sexual orientations express themselves.

Samuel said this was what had inspired him to quit his job in marketing and start Drag Queen Story Hour UK three years ago. He said he wanted to provide kids with diverse role models, which he did not have growing up. But ​he says the death threats soon followed, and Samuel said that in 2020 he and his boyfriend moved homes because anti-LGBTQ trolls “found out where I lived.”

He said last week’s incident has pushed him to the brink.

Speaking to CNN, Samuel vociferously denied accusations that children attending his shows are exposed to sexual language. What he does is a public good, he said.

​Samuel, who is autistic and has ADHD, gave an example from the event in Reading of why he sees the story hours as so important. “Some autistic children and their parents had come specifically to see me because they knew I was autistic,” he said. When some of the young attendees realized that his drag queen persona, Aida H Dee, was a play on ADHD, a condition they also had, their faces lit up, he said.

“I could see the sparks in the synapses of their brain firing with joy… (they were thinking) that this person was amazing and like me,” he continued.

Yet as anti-drag queen protests ramp up, analysts are increasingly concerned about the hateful extremist discourse surrounding them.

Monday’s protest in Reading included anti-vaxxer Chaves as well as members of the anti-government, sovereign citizen group Alpha Men Assemble, said Joe Ondrak, head of investigations at threat intelligence organization Logically.

The term sovereign citizens emerged from the US, according to Hope Not Hate. It is based on a belief that government institutions are fraudulent, so followers do not have to abide by them. The FBI has noted that sovereign citizens operate in loosely affiliated networks without established leadership.

Alpha Men Assemble is described by anti-extremist advocacy group Hope Not Hate as “attempting to establish a hardcore of activists and has attracted the involvement of a number of far-right individuals.”

The group received a lot of media attention in recent months over fears it was evolving into a US-style private militia by its alleged recruitment of former veterans and military training sessions. CNN has been unable to reach the group for comment as it has gone to ground following media and governmental scrutiny.
An Illinois café was vandalized with hate speech ahead of a drag show
Ondrak is concerned that conspiracy groups, which gained large followings during the pandemic, are now pivoting towards LGBTQ targets using “groomer” narratives.

“I genuinely thought what would be happening next (is) some kind of opposition towards the green energy transition, but that kind of fell out of the public discourse — so unfortunately, the queer community has become their target,” he said.

CNN has seen at least four anti-vax Telegram channels, including one boasting more than 17,000 followers, sharing flyers and posts to protest against Drag Queen Story Hour.

When asked why groups that appear to facilitate hate speech are allowed to operate on their platform, a Telegram spokesperson said: “Telegram is a platform for free speech where people are welcome to peacefully express their opinions, including those we do not agree with.” The spokesperson added that “posts that glorify or encourage violence or its perpetrators are explicitly forbidden by Telegram’s terms of service and are removed by our moderators.”

As to the White nationalist groups attending the protests, such as Patriotic Alternative, Squirrell from ISD described them as “deeply homophobic.” ​

They believe that “White people are being systematically replaced by non-White people in Western countries,” he said. They say a “shadowy cabal of Jews” are encouraging White people to adopt queer identities as a way of reducing the White birth rate — views rooted in neo-Nazi ideology — Squirrell added.

In response to CNN’s request for comment, a spokeswoman for Patriotic Alternative said: “Drag queens are often highly sexualized caricatures of women and we believe that children should be allowed to enjoy their childhood and should not be subjected to LGBT indoctrination.”

Two days after the events in Reading, in the northern English town of Crewe, members of Patriotic Alternative picketed a library which was hosting a Drag Queen Story Hour UK event. The group’s leader ​later promised more demonstrations against Samuel’s summer tour of dozens of libraries across the country.

The protests continued last Thursday, when ​Samuel visited libraries in Bristol, a city in southwestern England known for its liberal attitudes.

Rosie, a local parent who asked CNN not to use her last name ​out of fear for her safety, told CNN she decided to take her young daughter to the event because she thought it was important to learn about inclusivity and different communities.

“I love drag queens, I think it is fun, it is art, it is a laugh, and something different that involves books and stories,” she said.

But Rosie said she was unprepared for the vitriol she encountered at the library, where protesters waved signs reading “Stop grooming children” and a line of police officers ushered parents into the building. At least one mother was crying inside as protesters played the theme song to British TV show “Jim’ll Fix It,” whose late host was a notorious ​child sexual abuser, on loudspeakers outside the library.

“It was just horrible. I was expecting it to be a joyous thing, considering it had been Pride a couple of weeks ago in Bristol.” Instead, she said the harassment by protesters was “very backwards and (I feel) naive to think there’s been any progress.”​​

WASHINGTON — For years, Texas Republicans tried to win the Hispanic vote using a Bush-era brand of compassionate conservatism. The idea was that a moderate’s touch and a softer rhetoric on immigration were key to making inroads with Hispanic voters, particularly in Democratic strongholds along the southern border.

Such was the Texas of old. The Trump age has given rise to a new brand of Texas Republicans, one of whom is already walking the halls of Congress: the far-right Latina.

Representative Mayra Flores became the first Republican to represent the Rio Grande Valley in more than a century after she won a special election last month and flipped the congressional seat from blue to red. She also became the first Latina Republican ever sent by Texas to Congress. Her abbreviated term lasts only through the end of the year, and she is seen as a long shot to win re-election to a full one.

But what is most striking is that Ms. Flores won by shunning moderates, embracing the far right and wearing her support for Donald J. Trump on her sleeve — more Marjorie Taylor Greene than Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Her campaign slogan — “God, family, country” — was meant to appeal to what she calls the “traditional values” of her majority-Hispanic district in the border city of Brownsville. She called for President Biden’s impeachment. She tweeted QAnon hashtags. And she called the Democratic Party the “greatest threat America faces.”

In an interview in her still-barren office the day after her swearing-in ceremony, Ms. Flores was asked whether she considered Mr. Biden the legitimately elected president.

“He’s the worst president of the United States,” she said.

When asked three more times whether Mr. Biden had been legitimately elected, she repeated the same nonanswer.

Two other Latina Republicans, Monica De La Cruz in McAllen and Cassy Garcia in Laredo, are also on the ballot in congressional races along the Mexican border. All three — G.O.P. officials have taken to calling them a “triple threat” — share right-wing views on immigration, the 2020 election and abortion, among other issues.

They share the same advisers, have held campaign rallies and fund-raisers together and have knocked on doors side by side. They accuse the Democratic Party of taking Hispanic voters for granted and view themselves, as do their supporters, as the embodiment of the American dream: Ms. Flores often speaks of working alongside her parents as a teenager in the cotton fields of the Texas Panhandle.

Ms. Flores, Ms. De La Cruz and Ms. Garcia grew up in the Rio Grande Valley, a working-class four-county region at the southernmost tip of Texas where Hispanics make up 93 percent of the population. All three are bilingual; Ms. Flores was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and the other two in South Texas. Only Ms. De La Cruz has been endorsed by Mr. Trump, yet they all remain outspoken advocates for him, his movement and his tough talk on restricting immigration and building the border wall.

The Rio Grande Valley has long been a politically liberal yet culturally conservative place. Church pews are packed on Sundays, American flags wave from their poles on front lawns and law enforcement is revered. Ms. Flores’s husband is a Border Patrol agent, a note she often emphasized on the campaign trail.

In 2020, the Valley’s conservative culture started to exert a greater influence on its politics. Mr. Trump flipped rural Zapata County and narrowed the Democratic margin of victory in the four Valley counties and in other border towns.

“Growing up down there, you always have closeted Republicans,” said Ms. Garcia, a former aide to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. “Now, the desire to embrace Republicans is really spreading. They feel a genuine sense of belonging.”

Other pro-Trump Latinas are running for House seats in Virginia, Florida and New Mexico, among other places.

Republican leaders and strategists say Ms. Flores’s win and the candidacies of other right-wing Hispanic women are proof that Latino voters are increasingly shifting to the right. More than 100 Republican House candidates are Hispanic, a record number, according to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Democrats view the situation much differently. Some Democratic leaders dismiss Ms. Flores’s victory as a fluke — the product of a low-turnout special election in which 28,990 people cast ballots — and a fleeting one.

Ms. Flores, who was elected to serve the last six months of a retiring Democratic congressman’s term, is running in November for a full term. She faces a popular Democratic incumbent who is switching districts, Representative Vicente Gonzalez.

Democratic leaders are optimistic that Mr. Gonzalez will defeat Ms. Flores, and that Ms. Garcia will lose her race against Representative Henry Cuellar, the conservative Democrat who narrowly beat a progressive challenger in a primary runoff.

Ms. De La Cruz, however, is running in the most competitive House race in Texas and will face Michelle Vallejo, a progressive Democrat.

Representative Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat who heads the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, dismissed Ms. Flores’s win as a “public relations coup” for Republicans.

“It does not mean she represents mainstream Hispanic voters,” Mr. Gallego said.

Mr. Gonzalez, the Democratic congressman, nearly lost to Ms. De La Cruz two years ago when she challenged him in Texas’ 15th Congressional District. He won by 6,588 votes. Now, he is challenging Ms. Flores in the 34th District.

“This was a profound message to the party,” he said of Ms. Flores’s victory. “It’s really woken up the Democratic base. I’ve never had so many people volunteer for free in all my years.”

As she moved into her congressional office across from the Capitol, Ms. Flores, an evangelical Christian, eyed the bare walls. She planned to put up a large photo of the SpaceX launch site in her district as well as images of Jesus.

She had campaigned with the support of evangelical churches; her pastor carried out a “Make America Godly Again” outreach effort and traveled to Washington for her swearing-in. “I do believe that pastors should be getting involved in politics and in guiding their congressmen,” Ms. Flores said. “Our pastors know our people better than we do.”

Ms. Flores wasted no time displaying a combative style with Democrats. Minutes after her swearing-in, Speaker Nancy Pelosi posed with Ms. Flores and her family for a photo. What happened next is a matter of debate. To Democrats, it looked as if Ms. Pelosi had brushed her arm against Ms. Flores’s 8-year-old daughter as the two stood side by side. To Republicans, it looked as if Ms. Pelosi had shoved her aside.

“No child should be pushed to the side for a photo op. PERIOD!!” Ms. Flores later wrote on Twitter.

To hear Ms. Flores tell it, her switch to the G.O.P. was inevitable.

Early on, she said, she had voted Democratic, primarily because everyone she knew did the same. The first time she cast a ballot for a Republican for president, she said, was for Mitt Romney in 2012.

After attending a Republican event for the spouses of Border Patrol agents, Ms. Flores began to volunteer for the Hidalgo County Republican Party in McAllen. By 2020, she was organizing pro-Trump caravans through the Rio Grande Valley.

She was also posting tweets using the hashtag #QAnon.

When asked about QAnon, Ms. Flores denied ever having supported the conspiracy theory, which claims that a group of Satan-worshiping elites who run a child sex ring is trying to control the government and the media. Hashtags have long been considered social media shorthand for expressing support for a cause or an idea, but Ms. Flores insisted her intention was to express opposition to QAnon.

“It’s just to reach more people so more people can see like, hey, this needs to stop,” she said of using the QAnon hashtag. “This is only hurting our country.”

Ms. Flores deleted the tweets about QAnon, but she did not refrain from expressing other right-wing views. After the 2020 election, she insisted on Twitter that Mr. Trump had won, writing in one post, “Ganamos y lo vamos a demostrar!” or “We won, and we will prove it!” Following the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, she retweeted a post falsely calling it a “setup” by antifa. She has called Mr. Biden “president in name only” and has demanded his impeachment. And as her own oath of office coincided with the hearings by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, Ms. Flores largely dismissed the proceedings.

“Honestly, my district doesn’t care about that,” she said of the hearings. “My district is struggling to pay their bills. That’s what we’re supposed to be focusing on.”

Like Ms. Flores, Ms. De La Cruz describes herself as a former Democrat who “walked away” from the party. She said she cast her first vote in a Republican primary for Mr. Trump in 2016.

“I believe that the president was bringing to light the terrible things that we were doing to our country,” Ms. De La Cruz said.

After she narrowly lost her challenge to Mr. Gonzalez in 2020, Ms. De La Cruz suggested, without evidence, that both she and Mr. Trump had been victims of voter fraud in the district.

Ms. Garcia, by contrast, said she has been a Republican her whole life. Raised conservative, she went to church three times a week and entered politics soon after college, working as the outreach director for Mr. Cruz in McAllen.

As a candidate, she has focused on religious liberty, school choice and abortion bans — issues on which she said the region’s Hispanic voters were increasingly like-minded.

“The red wave is here,” Ms. Garcia said.

  • Thousands of far-right Israelis gather at Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem to mark the so-called flag march in the Old City.
  • The march is held to mark what Israelis call the day of unifying Jerusalem, in reference to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967 and subsequent annexation which is not internationally recognised.
  • Israeli ultra-nationalist groups chanted racist slogans such as “death to Arabs”, as they marched through the streets of the Old City.
  • Tens of Palestinians injured in and around occupied West Bank city of Nablus amid confrontations between Palestinians and armed Israeli soldiers, medics say.

Here are the latest updates:

Palestinian President, PM, condemn flag march and warn of consequences

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has accused Israel of “playing with fire irresponsibly and recklessly”.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh condemned the march, and “attacks on Palestinian citizens in the occupied city of Jerusalem,” Wafa news agency quoted him as saying.

He warned of the dangerous repercussions of the march and its provocations of the feelings of Palestinian citizens.

Shatyyeh also called on the international community to “intervene urgently to stop the violations against the holy places in the city of Jerusalem”.

Members of Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian protester near Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem's Old City.
Members of Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian protester near Damascus Gate outside occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City [AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean]

Tens of injuries reported in and around West Bank city of Nablus

Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting from the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, said tens of Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces in and around Nablus.

The Red Crescent announced that the “majority of injuries are by suffocation of tear gas,” Ibrahim said.

“It’s. very, very heavy tear gas that usually the Israeli army uses,” she added.

“And the rest of the injuries … one Palestinian has been moved to hospital after being shot by live ammunition to his leg, while four people were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets,” Ibrahim said, adding that confrontations have been unfolding in several places.

Ultra-nationalist Jews stormed Al-Aqsa ahead of Israeli flag march

Hundreds of far-right Jewish nationalists entered Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, ahead of a provocative flag march that could re-ignite confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli forces have fired rubber bullets at Palestinians protesters in the compound, in an effort to disperse them.

Read more here.

Generation of ‘indoctrinated young Israelis’ in Jerusalem: Analyst

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said the scenes from occupied East Jerusalem, are telling of the “future generation of Israel” and the serious concerns that should raise for peace and security.

“This is a generation of indoctrinated young Israelis who have been taught to hate the Palestinians, to hate the Arabs,” Bishara said.

“They are almost genocidal in their education and their upbringing…they want to take over all of historic Palestine, and they want to push the Palestinians out. They believe all of historic Palestine is theirs.”


Jewish groups chant ‘death to Arabs’

Thousands of Israeli ultra-nationalists, some of them chanting “Death to Arabs,” paraded through the heart of the main Palestinian thoroughfare in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday during the so-called flag march.

The crowds of overwhelmingly young Orthodox Jewish men, gathered outside Damascus Gate, waving flags, singing religious and nationalistic songs, and shouting “the Jewish nation lives” before entering the Muslim Quarter.

One large group chanted “Death to Arabs,” and “Let your village burn down” before descending into the Old City.

Israeli police clear Palestinians out

“The crowds of overwhelmingly young Orthodox Jewish men, gathered outside Damascus Gate, waving flags, singing religious and nationalistic songs, and shouting “the Jewish nation lives” before entering the Muslim quarter of the old city,” Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan said.

“One large group chanted “Death to Arabs,” and “Let your village burn down” before descending into the Old City,” Khan reporting from Old Jerusalem said.

“Police cleared Palestinians out of the area, which is normally a bustling Palestinian thoroughfare.”

Israeli far-right parade

Each year, thousands of Israeli far-right groups participate in the parade, waving Israeli flags and singing songs as they pass through the narrow streets of the Old City’s Muslim quarter.

The march is meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. Israel subsequently annexed the area in a move that is not internationally recognised.

Palestinians, who have been forced to shutter their businesses and stay indoors, view the march as a blatant provocation as Jewish settlers flaunt their sovereignty over the occupied territory.

Europe’s once surging movement of nationalist populists suffered a significant setback in Slovenia on Sunday, in the formerly communist east, on the same day French voters rejected the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in their presidential election.

In parliamentary elections in Slovenia, a noteworthy test for the appeal of right-wing populism, preliminary results indicated that the prime minister, Janez Jansa, an ardent admirer of former President Donald J. Trump, lost to centrist rivals. Liberal democracy has come under particularly intense pressure in the region over the past decade.

With 95 percent of the vote counted in an election that the opposition called a “referendum on democracy,” results indicated that Mr. Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party, competing against 19 rival parties, had won around 24 percent of the vote. That is far behind the 34 percent of its main rival, the centrist Freedom Movement, meaning that Mr. Jansa is highly unlikely to keep his post as prime minister.

The results, showing that no single party won a clear majority, presage a period of political haggling as rival groups try to stitch together a stable coalition in parliament. That should be within reach of the Freedom Movement, led by a political newcomer, Robert Golob, a former energy company executive, with help from the Social Democrats and other smaller parties.

Under Mr. Jansa, who became prime minister for a third time in 2020, Slovenia followed a path set by Europe’s populist standard-bearer, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, who helped fund right-wing media outlets in Slovenia to support his ally. Mr. Orban viewed the sharply polarized Alpine nation as an important testing ground for his ambition to remake Europe in Hungary’s illiberal image.

Mr. Orban won re-election to a fourth term in early April, a victory that the Hungarian leader insisted was evidence that “Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics and patriotic politics” are “not the past” but Europe’s future.

That boast, however, came unstuck on Sunday in both France and Slovenia, a fellow member of the European Union and NATO which, under Mr. Jansa, replicated many of the features of Mr. Orban’s increasingly authoritarian system.

A report released last week by Freedom House, the Washington research group, put Slovenia above Hungary in its ranking of countries by political rights and civil liberties, but said that over the past year, “no country’s scores fell further than those of Slovenia.” Mr. Jansa, it said, had shown “illiberal intolerance of any and all criticism.”

But unlike Mr. Orban, a longtime admirer of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia who has refused to let arms for Ukraine pass through Hungary, Mr. Jansa criticized Mr. Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. Slovenia provided arms to Ukraine, and Mr. Jansa last month joined the first delegation of European leaders to visit Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, to show support for President Volodymyr Zelensky.

While he followed Mr. Orban in trying to control the media, Mr. Jansa never gained the stranglehold secured by Hungary’s governing party, Fidesz. Nor did Mr. Jansa manage to replicate Mr. Orban’s success in deploying the political power of corruption, the glue of a Hungarian system that has largely merged the economic interests of private business people with the political interests of Fidesz.

Mr. Jansa was convicted on corruption charges in 2013, after his second stint as prime minister, and has since favored friendly businesses while serving as prime minister. But he did not silence all his critics through economic pressure as Mr. Orban has largely done in Hungary. Instead, Mr. Jansa often alienated even potential allies with intemperate rants on social media aimed at rallying a small but loyal nationalist base.

Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia is the most prosperous and stable of the independent countries that emerged from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. But it has been bitterly divided in recent years between supporters and opponents of Mr. Jansa. His vitriolic attacks on his critics, particularly in the media, drew frequent criticism from the European Union and groups lobbying for media freedom.

He denounced critical female journalists as “prostitutes,” cut off funding for Slovenia’s state news agency and regularly picked fights with all but his most zealous right-wing supporters.

An ardent communist and admirer of Yugoslavia’s dictator Marshal Tito in his youth, Mr. Jansa, 63, embraced nationalism in the early 1990s, when he played an important role in securing independence for Slovenia, the first Yugoslav republic to break away.

Dubbed “Marshal Twito” by his critics, a reference to Tito, Mr. Jansa caused dismay across Europe, even among his allies, when he congratulated Mr. Trump on his “victory” in the 2020 election in the United States. “It’s pretty clear that the American people have elected” Mr. Trump, Mr. Jansa tweeted, accusing mainstream media of “facts denying,” a fact-free verdict that he never retracted.

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