DeSantis Has Labored Mightily … But Only Brought Forth a Mouse
There is no doubt that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has hit a political headwind in his move toward a presidential campaign.
His drop in the polls is not solely due to a few political missteps. Trump is picking up support because he is being increasingly seen as a victim of prosecutorial excesses and abuse. His many court cases have the stench of politics – and a lot of Republicans do not like it.
Part of DeSantis’ decline is from the pitch and yawl of politics over time. Polling numbers constantly change over time. It would be virtually impossible for a candidate to sustain a lead over a year and a half – especially with Democrats and other GOP presidential contenders taking pot shots at DeSantis. Based on history, there seems to be no advantage in being an early frontrunner.
But … then there are the DeSantis missteps.
Allow me to preference my further comments by saying that I am a strict constitutional conservative. I believe the people should have the greatest voice and impact on policy – not the government.
I previously criticized DeSantis for interfering in school board actions. He was elected to set broad educational policies. That means his legislation to prevent the sexualizing of early public school education is a good and proper move. But I do not agree with micro-managing administrative issues at the local level that do not necessarily violate the broader policies.
Local officials are elected by the people. We should presume that they represent the collective view of the people who elected them. If not, it is up to the voters to remove them in the next election. That is why I pushed back on the Republican members of the Tennessee House for removing two members over actions that warranted nothing more than censure – and the banning of transgender member Zooey Zephyr of the Montana House for saying things that were clearly inappropriate in a civil forum. It is why I would not boot Congressman George Santos for his inexplicable lies during the campaign. Such actions disenfranchise the voters.
I applaud DeSantis for supporting a 6-week ban on abortion. That puts Florida more closely aligned with the view of the people. Oh yeah! I know leftwingers keep parroting the poll numbers that show 60 percent of Americans support abortion – but they omit that MOST Americans oppose abortions in later months – as high as 70 percent in the third trimester.
I believe DeSantis was right to amend the special status the Disney Company enjoyed under Florida law – essentially making a private corporation an autonomous zone. That kind of legislation is not a good idea … period.
Where DeSantis went off the conservative rails was in seemingly – or really – going after Disney for taking a position against the proposal to protect young students from sexualized content and even gender determination. Disney was wrong on the issue, and politically tone-deaf in taking it up. BUT … that is their right.
Businesses lobby. Corporations are constitutionally considered to be “people” … “citizens.” That means a right to free speech. They also have responsibilities to employees and fiduciary responsibilities to stockholders. They should not do things – or say things – that damage their businesses and violate their responsibilities – things that offend their customers. But … if they do, it is NOT up to the government to intervene or punish them. That is up to their stockholders and customers.
We had recently seen a good example when Anheuser Busch featured a transgender influencer on the Bud Lite cans. AB ran across the grain of public sentiment, and customers responded. AG had an organic $6 billion drop in valuation and a 17 percent decline in sales – picked up by Coors and others. I say “organic” because it was not the result of a formal boycott – which I generally oppose.
DeSantis should have let the people speak with their feet and their money. Disney has suffered from a decline in ticket sales as reaction to woke policies. DeSantis can – and should – speak out against Disney. He can be the counterpoint to their lobbying positions – but not use legislation as a cudgel.
The power of the people not only rests in their votes – but in their purses and their shoes. We need to respect that power – not thwart it or circumvent it with oppressive government power.
DeSantis is not yet an official candidate for President. He is in the evolving mode. What he needs to work on is HIS message – and how to best get it across to the American people. Regardless of his current standing, it is way too early to suggest that his dip in the polls is anything more than a fleeting reality – to be relegated to insignificance by future events.
DeSantis remains the leading potential candidate to take on President Trump. Unless DeSantis flounders badly – or does not throw his hat in the ring – the 2024 GOP contest is a two-man race.
So, there ‘tis.