Former Florida Governor and failed presidential Candidate Jeb Bush was on Fox News last month, where he told interviewer Brian Kilmeade that he would endorse current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for President in 2024, and that he “has shown that Florida can be a model for the future of our country.” (As of the writing of this column, DeSantis has yet to officially announce his candidacy.)
Indeed, if DeSantis is to run and win next year, we can certainly look to Florida for a model of what we should expect him to try and build throughout the United States. And what a model that would be.
In the cadre of self-styled culture warriors that have made their way into politics over the last eight years, DeSantis stands out as a latter-day Mussolini, such is his deeply autocratic nature. His focus has been laser-intent on marginalized groups, particularly the LGTBQIA+ community, which he has been pursuing relentlessly, thanks to things like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill which is designed to basically obscure the idea that people of that community even exist. In exceptionally broad language, the bill allows parents to sue school districts for even the perception of discussion of anything related to LGTBQIA+ identities for students up to 4th grade.
“We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,” was DeSantis’ quote when he signed the bill.
Of course, he’s also set on perpetuating the ideal of white supremacist American exceptionalism that Trump’s MAGA movement found strong footing upon, thanks to his “anti-woke” stances and attacks on anything remotely pertaining to discussion of race and racism.
The clearest example is DeSantis’ attack on a new AP course on African-American History slated to launch in the 2023–2024 school year. DeSantis said the course “lacks educational value,” which prompted the College Board to release a strongly worded rebuttal on Feb. 11 calling DeSantis’ claims “slander.”
To say the Overton Window has been moved to the right since 2016 would be a massive understatement.
The Donald Trump era heralded a cultural shift in the political stratosphere of the American populace. We discovered that nearly half of the nation would rather elect an autocrat and risk descent into fascism than evolve to embrace a cultural awakening as Zoomers and younger Millennials came of age, bringing a renewed sense of empathy for marginalized groups with them. And perhaps even a worse transgression as far as the Boomer establishment was concerned: The challenging of the very entrenched “Rugged American Individualist” fictional character they’d come to believe was their own archetype.
As a result, today’s GOP would have run Ronald Reagan out of town on a rail for his soft stances on things like immigration. Today’s GOP appears to care nothing about the actual size of the government or fiscal responsibility, just so long as the country agrees that there are no gay or trans people, that slavery wasn’t really all the bad, and that immigration be restricted to only whomever marries Donald Trump next.
Ron DeSantis is definitely their candidate.