A Florida burger joint is suing him for banning children from watching drag acts. African-American activists have issued a “travel advisory” when entering the state. As for Disney, a major employer, the company thinks he’s worse than all of his cartoon villains put together.
When it comes to enemies, even Donald Trump struggled to make so many so quickly. But endless friction is just the way Florida Governor Ron DeSantis likes it. And tonight, the self-proclaimed champion of anti-vigilance formally entered the 2024 race for the White House.
He presented himself as Trump’s successor in the role of the Republicans’ anti-establishment candidate, vowing to break the party’s “losing culture,” despite his own hiccups in recent polls.
And in what is seen as a sign that he intends to put a heavy emphasis in his election campaign on the culture wars over issues of sexuality, gender and education gripping the US, he announced his candidacy on the main battlefield of the conflict, Twitter. , via a chat with owner and fellow maverick Elon Musk.
Some American conservatives who see Trump as a failed flush think DeSantis represents their best hope of winning the presidency next year. They consider the Ivy League-educated, former naval officer, 44, a more reliable, more cerebral candidate.
Endless Friction is just the way Florida Governor Ron DeSantis likes it. And tonight, the self-proclaimed champion of anti-vigilance formally entered the 2024 race for the White House. Pictured: DeSantis with wife Casey DeSantis and children Madison, Mason and Mamie in November 2022
He presented himself as Trump’s successor in the role of the Republicans’ anti-establishment candidate, vowing to break the party’s “losing culture,” despite his own hiccups in recent polls. Pictured: Donald Trump greets Ron DeSantis at a rally in Florida in 2018
He has also, crucially, gained the backing of cable television giant Fox News and the rest of Rupert Murdoch’s powerful media empire.
Whether they anointed the right man remains to be seen. There are questions about everything from his political judgment – he has described the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” – to his table manners, particularly how he eats chocolate pudding (reportedly with three fingers).
His apparent determination to humiliate the mighty Disney Corporation, which has its largest theme park in Florida and employs 80,000 people, regardless of the economic cost to the state, has alarmed many.
He first clashed with the so-called “House of Mouse” after it pledged to fight DeSantis’ crackdown on the teaching of sexual identity to elementary school children.
It has since become the main target of his dogged charges against a corporate and political organization he says is destroying America.
The company retaliated by scrapping a $1 billion plan to build a Florida campus that would have lured 2,000 digital technology workers from California.
Polls of Republican voters dating back to Trump’s stunning 2016 victory suggest that a significant portion of party believers agree with DeSantis, with many putting the culture wars above other issues. But national polls suggest that many undecided voters and Democrats disagree.
They don’t think politicians should penalize companies for disagreeing with them on cultural or political issues. Pleasing Republicans enough to win the nomination without alienating the broader electorate is the tightrope DeSantis must walk. But Florida’s governor, a taciturn introvert — Trump has nicknamed him “Shy Ronnie” — is nothing but stubborn.
So can the man who was re-elected last year to lead the Sunshine State in a landslide victory win over the rest of America?
It is certainly true that many of the issues he fought for, such as parental rights in schools, tougher penalties for criminals, and a generally less intrusive government, strike a chord with many Americans.
And his less privileged background also appeals. The son of a TV technician and a nurse, DeSantis grew up Catholic in a working-class Florida neighborhood. He did well in school and went on to Yale University (where he was captain of the baseball team) and on to Harvard Law School. Inspired by the 1992 legal drama A Few Good Men, in which Tom Cruise plays a lawyer battling a corrupt system while defending two Marines accused of murder, DeSantis went on to practice law in the United States Navy. He was deployed to Iraq as legal counsel to special forces commandos, SEAL Team One.
DeSantis will try to challenge Joe Biden for president in 2024. Pictured: Biden gives a speech at the White House on Wednesday
His apparent determination to humiliate the mighty Disney Corporation, which has its largest theme park in Florida and employs 80,000 people, regardless of the economic cost to the state, has alarmed many. Pictured: A sign at the entrance to Disney World in Florida
In 2012, he was elected to Congress and seven years later became governor of Florida, with a small government electoral ticket and low taxes.
Donald Trump’s endorsement proved vital to his winning Florida, a fact that helps explain why the former president despises DeSantis now that he’s a rival.
As a college student, DeSantis reportedly had a bizarre dating technique where he told a young woman he wanted to go to a Thai restaurant, but pronounced it “thigh.” If she agreed with him, he wouldn’t go any further.
‘He didn’t want a girlfriend to correct him,’ says a fellow student. But today his glamorous wife, ex-TV journalist Casey Black, with whom he has three children, is said to be his closest adviser – copied in all his emails – and very supportive of his ambitions in the White House.
Talking about her successful battle against breast cancer is one of the few times he has shown emotion in public. (Ironically, the couple got married in view of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World.)
DeSantis showed early signs of being politically moderate as governor — raising teachers’ salaries and winning $1 billion for restoration projects in the Everglades, a wilderness of tropical wetlands. But then came the pandemic.
His radical response was to lift restrictions quickly and reopen schools after just four months of homeschooling, even as Covid-19 cases surged nationwide. This made him the darling of conservatives in the US, but earned him the nickname “DeathSantis” as Covid cases rose in the state.
Still, Florida’s economy held up better than those of other states that imposed tighter restrictions and suffered a higher number of fatalities.
He has since cemented his reputation as a right-wing Republican by expanding gun rights and extending the death penalty to child molesters. DeSantis has also curbed immigration and banned abortion in Florida after six weeks of pregnancy — one of the most restrictive laws in the country and one that could cost him female voters in elections.
His 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act — falsely denounced as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents who said it stigmatized LGBT people — banned elementary schools from teaching children ages five to nine about sexual orientation and gender identity.
It also led to his war with Disney, whose staff pressured executives to oppose it. DeSantis responded by terminating an agreement that had given Disney World huge advantages in effectively running business in the 25,000-acre district where it is located.
Calling his state the place where “wake up to die,” he has expanded “Don’t Say Gay” to all schoolchildren, and introduced legislation prohibiting people from entering bathrooms other than those dedicated to the gender they were assigned at birth, as well as banning children from watching drag shows.
He also enraged African-American organizations with last year’s Individual Freedom Act – better known as the Stop WOKE (the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act – which banned school classes or workplace training that teach people that they are “naturally racist being sexist. , or oppressive, consciously or unconsciously’.
Its main focus is “critical race theory,” a fashionable academic field that focuses on America’s supposedly embedded racism.
“We will not allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or hate each other,” DeSantis vowed.
Some warn that his greatest electoral weakness is that he is simply unlikable. But after four years of Joe Biden, supposedly the epitome of condescension but whose dismal assessments have since rivaled Trump’s, will that really be too much of a problem?