Florida governor DeSantis marks victory after productive legislative session

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was elected in 2019, pledged to unite his state and prioritize environmental protection, the economy and education in an op-ed piece during his inauguration that year. This time last week, DeSantis concluded a legislative session that has been hailed as one of the most accomplished and aggressive among conservative governors in recent times. He has emerged as a top rival to former President Donald Trump in the Republican Party, ahead of the 2024 presidential contest. In recent weeks, DeSantis has been involved in divisive cultural battles over a wide range of topics including abortion, LGBTQ rights, sex education, guns, immigration, and diversity. Most of these battles have resulted in him winning legislative support backed by Republican supermajorities in Florida’s legislature.

These recent actions feature DeSantis signing laws that institute a ban of abortion at six weeks of pregnancy, legislation that permits carrying concealed guns without a permit, and an update of his “Don’t Say Gay” law that now limits classroom instruction centered on sexual orientation and gender identity for all grades. He also put an emphasis on banning diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in state colleges and preventing individuals such as students or teachers from being obliged to use pronouns that do not correspond to the sex of the individual in question. As Twitter and Facebook grapple with managing content for their users, DeSantis took the opportunity to use his position of authority to undertake the partial control of Disney World, which is among the largest employers in the state, after it spoke out against his “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Despite seemingly being eager to celebrate his accomplishments, De Santis’ unrelenting focus on cultural issues more than economic ones is causing trepidation among some of his potential supporters. Republican donors, party officials, and moderate Democrats have all voiced concerns to his team, stating that his crusade to boost conservative culture might alienate as many people as it attracts. However, DeSantis’ team remains optimistic that his conservative accomplishments will still appeal to voters, who are often fiercely partisan when it comes to GOP presidential primary contestants, and who may be willing to move on from the Trump era. Some potential supporters like former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan says that “Ron DeSantis is more of a conservative than Donald Trump has ever been” but, nonetheless, some believe that his fight with Disney has gone too far, and he should be focusing on more critical issues.

DeSantis was largely ignored by the media at the beginning of his tenure as Florida Governor. Still, he has since emerged as a leading voice in the nation’s cultural divisions, primarily due to his handling of the pandemic. After initially agreeing to COVID-19 shutdowns, DeSantis, in contrast to the public health measures that were taken by some states, instead promoted what he called the “free state of Florida.” Over his term, he carried out his promise to focus on education funding and environmental protection, backing it up with a yielding of billions of dollars towards Everglades restoration and other water protection projects. He has consistently pushed for and achieved salary raises for teachers in Florida’s state budget.

The Florida Governor’s team objects to the suggestions that he has solely focused on his more conservative polices; they cite his spending on education and the environment, in addition to recent moves to reduce taxes on everyday household items such as diapers. De Santis’ super PAC stated that: “Gov. DeSantis’ robust record of legislative accomplishments includes enacting a Parents Bill of Rights and standing up to draconian COVID mandates to supporting law and order and pursuing the death penalty for child rapists.” Ahead of the 2024 presidential contest, DeSantis’ catchphrase “Florida is where woke comes to die” has become more widely used, and he has done as much as any other Republican governor in America to use the levers of government to lean into cultural fights. Nonetheless, he appears to have attracted critics such as Republican donor Bobbie Kilberg, who believes that a Republican nominee stands a better chance of being elected in a general election if they were less divisive and more willing to work together with people in dedication to the public good.

In conclusion, DeSantis, who has been identified as perhaps the most accomplished conservative governor in the country’s bitter culture wars, has been able to cement his position amongst a group of fiercely partisan GOP primary voters through his recent legislative session while preparing to enter into the 2024 presidential contest. Nonetheless, some believe that his focus on boosting conservative culture might estrange as many people as it attracts. Still, his team maintains that his conservative accomplishments will continue to appeal to primary voters. As DeSantis sets to launch his candidacy next week amid media and audience attention, he must balance the tensions of both these concerns and the possibility of emerging as the Republican nominee and potential next U.S. President.

Related Articles

Back to top button