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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Although we haven’t even gotten through this year’s midterm congressional elections, it’s still not too early to start examining some of the characters who hope you’ll make them president in 2024. 

Corporate elites have already chosen their favorites, and they intend to use massive sums of money, lies, more money, PR slickum and even more money to slide their toady into the Oval Office, hoping you don’t discover until it’s too late that their chosen one really is a toad.

How about Ron DeSantis? The GOP’s far-right, power hungry, narcissistic Florida governor is the new darling of the right-wing media, funders and other establishment powers who’re pushing him to be your next president.

“Ron DeSantis is the new Republican Party,” gushed one arch-conservative media maven. That’s odd, since what characterizes Ron’s tenure (and is causing a collective swoon for him within the rightist hierarchy) is his Big Government authoritarianism. Just yesterday, these same so-called conservatives said such use of government power was evil. But here comes DeSantis, who puts the bull in bully — bellowing “culture war” hooey, demonizing immigrants, fabricating claims of voter fraud, promoting COVID lies, and so forth. Then he imperiously asserts government power to bully local communities, workers, the poor, Florida’s environment, truth, fairness, honesty and democracy.

 

DeSantis promises to be the next Donald Trump — only more effective and not as nice. For example, his favorite gubernatorial hobby is the Orwellian practice of monitoring and censoring people’s speech and thoughts, culling out ideas he deems objectionable.

“Don’t Say Gay,” is his most infamous dictate to the state’s teachers, but he has also outlawed any teachings that might “denigrate the Founding Fathers.” Nor will he tolerate the study of institutional racism in America. Indeed, he has even mandated that social studies textbooks (get this!) must not include concepts of social justice. Ron adamantly opposes what right-wingers call a “woke” society — he wants one that’s asleep.

Sound asleep. He recently rallied his right-wing cadre to ban some math textbooks. Yes, math! They screech that some real-life topics like wage disparities are being used to make math problems relevant to today’s students — so it was Fahrenheit 451 for those books. Thus far, DeSantis’ censorship binge has nixed 42 math books for “incorporat[ing] prohibited topics.”

Imagine what he could ban as president! Did I mention that DeSantis is also forming his own gubernatorial military force — a state army he can deploy in “emergencies”? What’s an emergency? He says he’ll decide.

And then there’s his maneuvering to overturn the people’s democratic will. Like most other Republican-run states, DeSantis’ Florida keeps trying to block African Americans from the polls. In 2018, however, Floridians themselves rebuked the suppressors by approving a ballot measure to expand the electorate. A whopping 65 percent said YES to eliminating a vindictive lifelong ban on voting by ex-felons — people who had served their time. This long-overdue measure of simple justice (approved, in fact, by a much bigger margin of voters than DeSantis got that year) re-enfranchised about 1.4 million former felons.

But wait — DeSantis had old Jim Crow up his sleeve! In 2019, he rammed a technical gotcha into state law, preventing former felons from voting until they pay in full all court fines (many arbitrarily and unfairly assessed years ago for things like marijuana possession). The fines can run thousands of dollars, so DeSantis’ new law created a partisan poll tax to price a big percentage of these newly eligible voters out of democratic participation.

Remember, Ron DeSantis is the “new” Republican Party.