Florida Governor Becomes Trump’s Rival

Ron DeSantis is a Republican hero after his re-election as Florida governor. He is considered the most promising challenger to Donald Trump in the presidential election in 2024. The ex-president is already trying to intimidate DeSantis.

Following his victory, Ron DeSantis addresses supporters at his election party.

Marco Bello/Reuters

He’s a big winner in the midterm elections: Ron DeSantis secured a second term as Florida governor with an impressive nearly 60 percent of the vote over his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. Even in Miami-Dade County, which has always been a Democratic stronghold, he won by a wide margin.

Donald Trump, who strongly supported DeSantis in his first election, played no role this time. He did not give him his blessing; DeSantis didn’t ask for it either. He is already dealing with demarcation and is likely to stand as a candidate for the presidential election in two years.

DeSantis has a good chance. Like Trump, he is positioned on the far right of the Republican Party, but is seen as more intelligent and balanced. However, he largely lacks charisma and charm. The governor likes to present himself as an official who acts and delivers, but often comes across as wooden and fake.

Trump threatens DeSantis mob-style

Conservative newspaper “New York Post” headline on Wednesday after his election: “Ron DeFuture.” So far, the Murdoch newspaper sympathizes with Trump, who probably doesn’t find it funny. The former president promised to make a “very big announcement” next Tuesday. He is likely to announce his renewed candidacy, but the poor performance of many of the candidates he supports in the midterm elections is likely to dampen the enthusiasm of many Republicans. Now DeSantis is also positioning itself as an increasingly strong competitor.

“If he starts, he starts,” Trump said, according to the Wall Street Journal. To then continue in the style of a blackmailing mafia godfather: “But he could be hurt. Because I can say things about him that are not very flattering. I know more about him than anyone except maybe his wife, who runs his campaign.” He mocked him as “Ron DeSanctimonious.”

Democrats will laugh at the thought of the two taking each other apart.

He’s all about the Kulturkampf

In Tuesday’s acceptance speech, DeSantis indicated that he would continue to support Kulturkampf. “Florida is where vigilantism goes to die,” he said. It is often said that the Democrats are too focused on current issues, leaving the really important things like economic policy to the Republicans. At least not on DeSantis. For him, it is the leftist ideology that is destroying the country. Wakeness makes people knock down statues of Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson and think men can get pregnant, he said recently.

DeSantis supporters in Tampa cheered when the election results were announced.

DeSantis supporters in Tampa cheered when the election results were announced.

Marco Bello/Reuters

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Act, which opponents dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” because it prohibits educators from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity until third grade. As the Walt Disney Group voiced criticism, DeSantis accused him of trying to indoctrinate children and announced that the company would withdraw its previous tax privileges in Florida.

He also took advantage of the fact that Florida had few protective measures in place during the pandemic. He styled the state as an island of freedom not only in the United States but around the world. There is probably no American politician who uses the word “freedom” as often as DeSantis. However, Florida recently banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and has banned nearly 570 books from public schools — second only to Texas.

The committee convened for this purpose examined 132 textbooks and ultimately rejected 71 percent of elementary school mathematics textbooks and 41 percent of textbooks for all other grades because they contained “prohibited content and topics.” Books may no longer be used in the future.

Graduate from a top university and fight against the elites

In September 2022, DeSantis transported dozens of migrants to the Democratic state of Massachusetts on Martha’s Vineyard, a vacation island popular with prominent Democrats. DeSantis’ office described the move as part of a “relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to safe havens” and argued that open border policies in states like Massachusetts encourage illegal migration.

This media-savvy coup sent his results skyrocketing in the polls. However, the event brought him charges of human trafficking and cost more than $12,000 for each of the 50 migrants.

Forty-four-year-old DeSantis studied at the elite universities of Yale and Harvard. From 2005 to 2010, he worked in the Navy’s legal department and was stationed in Iraq for seven months. He served as a member of the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2018 before being elected Governor of Florida in 2019.

Like other Republican graduates of top universities — like JD Vance or Blake Masters — DeSantis likes to present himself as a “man of the people” and anti-elite. He presents himself as anti-intellectual and less educated than he is – akin to Trump, who likes to brag about his barely any education. But when it comes to ideological control, DeSantis surpasses the former president.

Here and there in the US you can already see flags with the slogan “Ron DeSantis 2024 – Make America Florida”. This means: If DeSantis is elected president, America will soon look like Florida.

“Florida must remain free,” these DeSantis supporters demand on signs and flags.

Marco Bello/Reuters

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