At Tuesday’s State of the State address, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis positioned himself as the designer of a new conservative agenda for the country. They defended his combative views in the economic and culture wars as a model for Republican leadership.
The speech was given at the beginning of the 60-day legislative session, which has political significance because it is anticipated to serve as a platform for DeSantis’ highly anticipated presidential candidacy. DeSantis told lawmakers in Tallahassee (as reported by Yahoo News) –
“We defied the experts. We bucked the elites. We ignored the chatter. We did it our way, the Florida way. And the result is that we are the number one destination for our fellow Americans who are looking for a better life.”
The Republican supermajority in the Legislature is keen to advance DeSantis’ electoral prospects. It is anticipated to approve almost all of his agenda, filled with topics like race, immigration, and gender that may do well in a GOP presidential primary.
DeSantis opened a session where the GOP will push issues like telling teachers which pronouns they can use for students, making guns more accessible to Floridians, keeping immigrants who are in the country illegally out of the state, and criminalizing some drag shows, as Tennessee recently did.
Instead of focusing on rising rents and costs of living, a distressed property insurance market, and preparing for rising sea levels in a state vulnerable to climate change, DeSantis opened the session with a focus on rising sea DeSantis went over the conservative achievements of his term to date in his speech.
They emphasized impending policies that will be well-liked by some Republican primary voters, like a plan to do away with concealed weapons permits. A Republican congressman on Tuesday filed a bill to outlaw abortions beyond six weeks, sending a message about future Republican policy.
Shortly after DeSantis ended his statement, Democrats criticized the decision. Before, DeSantis said he would support such legislation. Even though it’s unclear that the governor would formally launch a presidential effort before the Legislature adjourns in May, he’s already taking significant steps in that direction.
Last week, he participated in a prominent donor retreat in Florida before heading to California to deliver a speech criticizing liberal excesses. He will visit Iowa later this week, playing host to the country’s first Republican presidential caucus in 2024 for the first time this year.
DeSantis is quickly establishing himself as a formidable rival to fellow Floridian and former President Donald Trump, who has already declared his third run for the White House despite not having a formal campaign. The fact that DeSantis won his reelection by nearly 20 percentage points in a state known for its notoriously close elections last year contributes to his strength.
To achieve this, he has restricted the way that subjects like race and s*exuality can be taught in schools, barred transgender girls and women from participating in school athletics, redrawn the state’s political boundaries in favor of Republicans, dismantled a congressional district that supported Black voters, attacked privately owned companies that don’t share his views, and cracked down on Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Republican state Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said Tuesday (as reported by Fortune.com) –
“Our governor is truly America’s governor. He has defended our conservative values, challenged the individuals and institutions who pose threats to others, and posed innovative solutions to better our state. It is often said that states are laboratories for democracy. Under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, Florida is more than a laboratory. We are a model.”
DeSantis admits that he doesn’t always follow popular opinion when making judgments as governor; instead, he bases them on what he believes to be correct. He claimed that’s how he increased his margin of victory from a 32,000 vote victory in 2018 verified by recount to a 1.5 million vote victory in 2018 — the biggest margin of success for a Republican governor in the state.
DeSantis said Tuesday (as reported by ABC News) –
“November’s election results represent a vindication of our joint efforts over these past four years. The results also vest in us the responsibility to lead and provide us the opportunity to shoot for the stars. Boldness be our friend in this endeavor, we have a lot we need to accomplish.”
The governor has frequently been the punchline on late-night programs like “Saturday Night Live” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Still, the more DeSantis’ detractors ridicule him, particularly those he labels the “liberal elite,” the more his constituency rallies behind him.
DeSantis still has $70 million in a political committee just four months after his reelection, unlike most candidates who get into a presidential race two years away and spend early campaigning days soliciting money, traveling the country garnering support, and increasing their name recognition.
The subtitle of DeSantis’ book, “The Courage to be Free,” which was published this week, foreshadows his goals for 2024: “Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Restoration.” Instead of the Trump slogan of “Make America Great Again,” DeSantis is developing the case to make the nation seem more like Florida and less like places such as California and New York.
DeSantis said in his speech:
“We have the opportunity and indeed the responsibility to swing for the fences so that we can ensure Florida remains number one. Don’t worry about the chattering class. Ignore all the background noise. Keep the compass set to true north. We will stand strong. We will hold the line. We won’t back down and I can promise you this. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Democrats, meanwhile, saw it as intolerance and a case of misplaced priorities. They cite initiatives to expand on a recent regulation, “Don’t Say, Gay,” which restricts discussions of gender and s*xuality in schools. A recent GOP plan would limit the use of gender pronouns in schools, while another would make some drag shows illegal.
You may find it fascinating to read the posts that are linked to Desantis that are mentioned below:
- 2024 Republicans Are Becoming Critical of DeSantis
- Florida’s Desantis Increases the Pressure on Disney World
- Ron Desantis Re-elected Florida Governor
Democrats are worried that their Republican counterparts have delegated the duty to DeSantis and accepted that the GOP supermajority would prohibit them from voting down anything they detest.
Democratic House Leader Fentrice Driskell claimed that although Republicans have had both the governor’s office and the legislature for 24 years, she has never before witnessed a governor exert a such strong influence over legislators. She said:
“All of this being driven by his ambition. I think there are those in leadership who want to be close to this governor because they view him as rising in power. But the people who pay the cost and the brunt of all of this is everyday Floridians. Every one of the governor’s culture wars has an economic cost built into it. Every single one of them.”
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