Ron DeSantis wields unprecedented power as the Republican Governor of Florida. The Florida Legislature and Supreme Court are completely in his thrall and will obey his every whim. With his recent landslide victory, his mastery of Florida is so total that there are no checks and balances on his ability to single-handedly act as the single Ruler of the state.
DeSantis and his minions control Florida’s executive, its law enforcement, school systems (both public and higher-ed) and health care systems. While claiming to support freedom, he has used and abused the power of his office to punish local schools, locally elected officials, and private individuals in ways that violate norms and the rights of others with impunity.
He is a very smart and very ambitious person. He has his sights set on the White House, and is rapidly becoming the first choice of the huge numbers of GOP voters who have become disenchanted with Donald Trump and his losing ways. Although the GOP nomination is by no means automatic, DeSantis is clearly in the driver’s seat and biding his time while Trump flails as his legal challenges overwhelm him and his campaign collapses. With a recession potentially looming, the possibility of DeSantis being elected President in 2024 is very real.
The recent actions taken by DeSantis show us what kind of a President he would be. He is completely opposed to the rights of the LGBTQ, black, or other minority communities (other than anti-communist Cubans). He has stifled public protests by limiting free speech, taken revenge on Disney for opposing him, flown unknowing immigrants to MA, appointed an unqualified anti-vax Surgeon General, destroyed a liberal arts college, crippled public schools, and shown an unwillingness to protect the vulnerable people of Florida against natural disasters because “that’s liberal stuff”. He recently started a grand jury investigation aimed at criminalizing Covid vaccines. The bulk of these actions (with more every day) are in complete defiance of the wishes of the majority of Floridians. He cares nothing for the people who elected him – rather his actions are all designed to gain him plaudits on Fox News and financial supporters for his ambition to become President.
His version of the cult of personality has taken hold within the Christian right so much so that he (and they) are starting to see him as the second coming of Jesus – albeit an evil Jesus who stands for everything Jesus preached against.
Given the degree to which he has used and abused the Governor’s office, if DeSantis were elected President his powers would be virtually unchecked. Trump, despite his massive incompetence, has shown that laws and norms are no stronger than the people who are elected to enforce them. DeSantis, a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, is infinitely smarter than Trump.
With a willing Supreme Court at his side, he would find ways to eviscerate democratic norms and safeguards and bypass any Democratic controlled legislatures or state governments, ruling – as he does in Florida – with an iron fist. Anyone in any field – Government/Corporate/Technology/ Entertainment/Education/Sports – who would dare stand up to him would be crushed under the heel of his dictatorial boot.
DeSantis would remake public education at all levels to be an indoctrination into his Christian white supremacy cult of personality – creating an American version of the “Hitler Youth”. He would eliminate freedoms for everyone: the press, voting, the internet, women, public health records, corporations, educators, entertainers, and more.
With the willing help of cooperative Republicans, he would, over a very short period of time, assume dictatorial powers with virtually unchecked authority. Florida has been the test run. DeSantis has succeeded in becoming the Emperor of Florida. The United States is next. He must be stopped.