PantherNOW Editorial Board
Florida’s undisputed “culture war” champion, the prime mover of the anti-woke nonsense and failed presidential contender, Ron DeSantis, suspended his bid for the top political job in the nation after he failed to come out on top in the New Hampshire primaries.
The DeSantis train seemed at full speed as the governor signed a barrage of mean-spirited laws aimed at bolstering his position in the Republican political field. Now that the train has completely derailed, was any of the madness necessary?
At PantherNOW, we believe that it was not.
For the past years, Tallahassee worked in harmony with DeSantis with the single objective of transforming Florida along extreme conservative ideals – “where woke goes to die”.
But Governor DeSantis with his facilitators in the Florida Legislature has ushered in a frightening era that saw the rise of a very radical political brand that tramples the ideals of individual freedom.
That brand picks its favorites along the lines of sexual orientation and ideology. It harbors the highest contempt for academics whose opinions don’t fall in line with theirs, and it restricts women’s freedom –to name just a few.
As his dreams of securing the Republican nomination died, the morbid picture he helped paint in Florida lingers.
DeSantis’ ascent to national notoriety is an example of what blind ambition and opportunism can give birth to.
What’s scandalous about the governors’ actions is that they’re performed with little regard for their subsequent repercussions or historical facts. Minority rights in this country have always been fragile, and it’s hoped that the government would be the shield protecting them – not the sword against them.
It’s also baffling why the governor would think his preposterous war, advanced through a litany of shallow policies, was a winning strategy.
After all, there was no guarantee that state policies of this kind would win national appeal since GOP voters never cared much for it. Plus the MAGA crowd, whose support he sought, was sold on the Donald Trump craze, whose support grew as his indictments were revealed.
DeSantis made these marginalized communities a sacrificial lamb, a mere footstool catapulting him to national fame. All this was done so that he could drop out of a race that all the relevant polls showed he could never win.
It is important to keep in mind that all this was undertaken as several parts of Florida are reeling under the effects of a distressing housing market affecting lower-income individuals the most. If the governor wishes to show his legislative prowess, it will not hurt to give his undivided attention to this issue.
As we scan the political landscape DeSantis helped draw, his campaign exit may be a reason to make a sigh of relief, if only for now.
Let us not forget that besides his bizarre obsession with the culture wars, he also proposed to repeal the “First Step Act”, which might be former President Trump’s single most prominent legislative accomplishment.
In a country where the incarceration rate is scandalously high, we can all appreciate a legislative effort that aims to reduce the number of inmates in our prisons based on some reasonable standards, if only modestly.
To want to track back on those efforts shows he doesn’t care about law or order at all– only looking tough against opponents. His work isn’t aimed at his constituents at all, but is instead entirely performative.
We should expect him to throw his hat in the ring once more since that is the way with ambitious people. That is of course, if he does not lose his political glow. If and when this happens, we should cast a glance at his accomplishments and repudiate his policies across the board.
We can only hope that the days ahead bring calm to these tempestuous times. We must have faith in our unabashedly diverse community to bounce back from the things we witnessed as a community in the past few years.