Tag Archive for: RonDeSantis

DeSantis Goes to War

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

On election night, I was half-watching Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s victory remarks when something quite extraordinary and encouraging caught my attention. DeSantis evoked Churchill’s “fighting on the beaches” speech, in which Churchill stirred the resolve and patriotism of the British people in anticipation of the invasion of their homeland by the Nazis. DeSantis, of course, was not warning against Nazism: he was warning against wokeism, which he was implicitly equating with Nazism. I had never heard a national political figure treat wokeism with such (deserved) gravity.

Before rephrasing Churchill, DeSantis said:

States and cities governed by leftist politicians have seen crime skyrocket. They’ve seen their taxpayers abused, they’ve seen medical authoritarianism imposed, and they’ve seen American principles discarded. The woke agenda has caused millions of Americans to leave these jurisdictions for greener pastures.

People do not uproot themselves and leave the rhythms of home “for light and transient causes.” These people are not coming to Florida just for the weather. They are fleeing the woke regime of blue America—an abusive, lawless, totalitarian regime which is waging war against American principles and the American way of life.

DeSantis continued:

Now, this great exodus of Americans, for those folks, Florida, for so many of them, has served as the promised land. We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers, and we reject woke ideology. We fight the woke in the legislature. We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.

In evoking Churchill’s speech, DeSantis lets us know that the woke regime is bearing down on America. In the urgent cadences of war, DeSantis tells us that America will not survive unless she defeats the woke regime. He believes this regime is so evil and powerful that he can, without bathos, compare it to the Nazi regime.

Some Unsolicited Advice

DeSantis has made a good start. He has told us that we are at war with a deadly regime, the woke regime. You cannot win a war unless you know you are in one.

But at some point soon, he must go further. He must show a voting majority of Americans that wokeism is the challenge of our generation, as Nazism was the challenge of the WWII generation and Communism for two generations thereafter.

And he must back up his claim. He has given us at least one piece of substantial evidence: in large numbers, people are fleeing their homes. Still, we need more. We shall not address the problem with the right strategies and people or the necessary resolve until we believe the country’s life truly is at stake. DeSantis needs to put America on a war footing.

In today’s environment, where there is a keen and deepening generalized awareness of danger, I think there is a hunger for a reasoned account of that danger. DeSantis’s most important role—the role of any statesman who is to rise to the historic challenge of this crisis—is to give such an account, one that calls a morally indifferent nation back to the principles of the founding.

So far as I can tell, there is no national Republican elected official who fully understands the threat except for Trump and DeSantis. The national figure not in politics who best gets it probably is Tucker Carlson. Night after night, in artful, insightful monologues, Carlson flays some aspect of the woke regime. He is the best we have, but he is not going to lead a major political movement. For that we need a statesman. That could well be DeSantis. And so I presume to offer him advice he hasn’t asked for:

He should make defeating wokeism his central purpose, with the goal of making it the central purpose of the Republican Party (which currently has no central purpose). Presumably DeSantis will run for the presidency. But even if he doesn’t, his first goal should be the mobilization of America. He should make anti-wokeism (and its opposite, pro-Americanism) the theme of the next Republican administration, whether it is his administration or not.

To develop an anti-woke (pro-American) agenda, DeSantis must first help us understand the woke regime, the woke way of life. He must explain that this way of life cannot possibly coexist with the American way of life. The two regimes have utterly irreconcilable understandings of a just society.

For the American regime, a just society is one in which free men and women pursue happiness according to their abilities and according to nature. Such a society is one where merit rules. For the woke regime, on the other hand, a just society is one where the regime imposes identity group quotas based on victimhood rankings. Such a regime makes war on merit.

It’s one regime or the other. You can’t offer admission to college (or anything else) according to group quotas and, at the same time, offer admission according to merit. I suggest DeSantis frame the debate accordingly: the merit regime vs. the group quota regime (or simply, merit vs. group quotas).

DeSantis should be very clear: woke revolutionaries attempt not to improve our culture, or remake aspects of it, but to destroy it or lead us to destroy it ourselves—not partially but completely. Like (crazed) revolutionaries everywhere, they believe the world must be purified, no matter the cost.

But DeSantis should not overestimate the threat either. The woke regime is a totalitarian regime in the making. Our side is outgunned almost everywhere, but there is still room to maneuver. America is not yet a one-party state; we still have some open communication channels; our intelligence agencies can (conceivably) be reformed; wokeness in the military can probably be reversed by a strong president, and businesses (one must hope!) will come around if they see America gaining the upper hand on woke tyranny. Even in education, where the woke revolutionaries have us tied to a chair, our hands are still free.

In addition to a framing, we need a simple theory or model of the woke regime: its composition, its goals, and the means for achieving those goals. Without a model we cannot anticipate where the woke revolutionaries are going next, and so we are always playing whack-a-mole, each new woke initiative catching us by surprise.

DeSantis might use the 2020 riots as an example of the woke regime in action. Radicals, intellectuals, media, businesses, Democratic politicians, and the criminal justice system conspired to create mayhem. They ignited, justified, hid, funded, fanned the flames of, and freed the rioters. There is no overarching organization. There is some informal coordination among players, but mostly the regime is a revolutionary cabal of the anti-American elite, who want us to believe they are liberating innocent victims.

The objective of the woke regime—group quotas—requires the woke revolutionaries to make Americans deeply ashamed of their past, thereby making them inclined to trade in the merit regime for the group quota regime. This requires a big lie. Every totalitarian regime has one. The woke regime’s big lie is that America is systemically racist and about to be overrun by racists, a.k.a. Trump voters. (That Trump voters are racist is, regrettably, a view also held by many neoconservatives.)

DeSantis should call this the “Big Lie” and, like Trump, dismiss it without apology or qualification. DeSantis should explain that the phony white guilt of the elite is killing the rest of us, black and white, that racism is low on the list of problems confronting black citizens, and, as Frederick Douglass counseled, the way to help blacks is to encourage them to help themselves.

DeSantis must tell Republicans they should forget about defending themselves against charges of “racism” (it cannot be done). Instead Republicans need to explain that the central problem facing the nation is not racism, but the trumped-up charges of racism that hound us from morning to night. The goal of conservatives should be, as David Azerrad has pointed out, “not to solve the race problem but to prevent the race problem from crushing the country.”

DeSantis needs to explain that the doctrinaire egalitarianism of wokesism denies the natural differences in abilities among people and so is evil. DeSantis should say just that: “evil.” Although the elite will cringe, as it did when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “evil,” most Americans will find it both bracing and reassuring.

In addition to telling lies, the woke revolutionaries must, as most everyone knows by now, censor anyone who challenges the lies. In a totalitarian regime there can be no space for dissent. This requires, among many other things, erasing from memory totalitarian regimes and their evil. DeSantis gets it. To his great credit, he signed a bill last year that requires the teaching of “communism and totalitarianism.”

Republicans recognize the Big Lie, censorship, and the corruption of education, but like many pieces of the woke regime, these are not usually seen as part of the larger woke strategy. We see the pieces but not always the picture. That’s DeSantis’s role: to put the pieces together.

DeSantis should make us understand all the woke regime’s actions through this totalitarian lens. Take, for example, Biden’s decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The woke revolutionaries tell us this has to do with climate change, but it is difficult to see how destroying American energy independence can be other than part of an attempt to destroy America. Whether done with conscious intent or simply allowed to happen, the result is the same.

Or take open borders. We usher in millions of illegal immigrants, distribute them around the country, encourage them not to assimilate, and sometimes even allow them to vote. This too is an attempt to destroy our country with the additional benefit for the woke revolutionaries of swelling Democratic voting rolls. Another example is the breaking of the country into identity groups (tribes), each competing for the highest ranking in the victimhood sweepstakes. This will almost certainly lead to tribal warfare. When has it not?

Yes, Republican politicians usually object to such policies. But they don’t generally identify and denounce them as parts of the woke strategy for destroying our country. Unless they do, we will lose our country without even a fight.

A Time for Statesmanship

DeSantis should help us follow the logic of wokeism. For example, if we know group quotas for innocent victims is the goal of the woke regime, then we know that the woke revolutionaries need to bring the black prison population (currently about 33 percent of the total prison population) more in line with blacks’ percentage of the overall population (13 percent). That is the purpose of defunding the police and failing to prosecute certain crimes and other criminal justice “reforms.” For the most part, people with common sense—in particular black Americans who must endure the consequences in their own neighborhoods—see these things simply as very stupid ideas. But DeSantis should keep reminding us that wokeism is not a jumble of stupid ideas but a coherent set of stupid ideas in the service of the group quota regime, one that is completely at odds with the merit regime.

And DeSantis should help us anticipate the woke revolutionaries’ next steps. In the case of prison population, the next step might be disparate sentencing, where blacks get lighter sentences than whites for the same offense, or perhaps the elimination of prison altogether. As loopy as these ideas sound, they are logical extensions of woke theory. Moreover, each has been talked about by leading woke revolutionary intellectuals like Ibram X. Kendi. Sometimes all we have to do is listen.

Very importantly, DeSantis must keep reminding us that war requires different strategies than peace time. War is not a time for trying to persuade the independents, reach across the aisle, or even reach out to the Republican accommodationists. DeSantis knows the best way to get these groups on board is not to woo them but to win the war. He knows as well that any concessions made to the woke revolutionaries will be pocketed, not reciprocated—something even Trump may have failed to fully appreciate.

War also requires different personnel. Trump, an almost unthinkable option at any other time in American history, was the right man for these times, and may still be the right man. Trump was a great war time president. DeSantis must help us understand that Trump’s flaws were not—perhaps are still not—disqualifying.

The easy way out for Republicans, and the temptation for DeSantis, will be to say Trump’s policies were good, but not the rest of him. I think this assessment of Trump is wrong. As I have written elsewhere, Trump advanced many important policies, but the “rest of him” is where one finds the virtues that have inspired a movement. His willingness to fight, his abundant courage, strength, independence, optimism, confidence in America, and absence of white guilt are examples of virtues that made him both effective and dear to patriotic Americans. DeSantis should resist his advisors who tell him he should not speak well of Trump. Now is the time for statesmanship.

And when the Republican establishment dismisses the Trump movement as “populist,” DeSantis should demur and explain to that establishment that when the elite undermines the American way of life, and the voices of ordinary people cannot be heard, populism is not only healthy but vital. Trump’s populist base has just what the Republican Party lacks: purpose, the passion that can match the ideological zeal of the woke revolutionaries, optimism, and confidence in itself and the country. And the base doesn’t have what the party has altogether too much of: white guilt. Trump’s base is a fighting force we cannot afford to lose.

In his election night victory speech DeSantis imagined that he, like Churchill, was a great leader fighting the forces of evil. If DeSantis is to actually follow Churchill (and Lincoln), he must be magnanimous, as they were. Voters will rally to magnanimity coupled with courage and resolution.

DeSantis’s immediate goal is to make America vs. the woke regime (merit vs. group quotas) the central theme of American political discourse. Perhaps that begins with a speech. Like Churchill and Lincoln, DeSantis should appeal to our patriotism in order to stir our resolve. We are still a patriotic people. Where patriotism has waned, I suspect its embers would burst into flames. DeSantis must remind us we are part of a noble and honorable tradition. He must call attention to the great successes of our past. In doing so he reminds us that we are still capable of greatness. As in times before, the future of freedom everywhere rests on our shoulders, a fateful burden we carry as the “almost” chosen people. DeSantis must give us hope but not let us forget the possibility of darkness. As a peroration, he cannot improve on Lincoln who faced a crisis not so dissimilar to the one we face today:

LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

*****
This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

Does Trump Really Want to Be President Again?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Team Trump sometimes has compared former President Donald Trump’s current quest for a non-sequential second term to two-term President Grover Cleveland’s similar three election bids.

Cleveland remains our only elected president (1884) to have lost a reelection bid (1888)—in a disputed vote—only to be reelected four years later in 1892.

Yet Trump seems determined instead to follow a different, and bullheaded, Teddy Roosevelt model.

Roosevelt left the presidency in 1908, sat out four years, and then lost a reelection bid in 1912, split and alienated the Republican Party, and ensured the election of the progressive Woodrow Wilson.

President Joe Biden’s first “corrective” two years have been an utter disaster.

Biden birthed hyperinflation. He destroyed a secure border and Trump’s energy self-sufficiency. Crime is now out of control. The United States was humiliated abroad in Afghanistan. Rising interest rates soon will spark a recession.

After promising to unite the country, Biden smeared half the voting population as “un-American” and “semi-fascist.”

In addition, almost all of Trump’s prior complaints, predictions, and assertions that the media dismissed as conspiratorial, or crackpot have proven eerily prescient.

Hunter Biden’s laptop was all too authentic.

The FBI was compromised and acted as an agent of the Democratic Party. Anthony Fauci proved to be a partisan.

Russian collusion was an utter hoax. It was engineered by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and the FBI.

China’s Wuhan lab likely did birth the engineered COVID-19 virus. That possibility was covered up by the media and public health establishments.

Trump did not take “nuclear codes” to Mar-a-Lago. He did not plan on hawking his presidential papers for profit.

Germany did weaken NATO. Berlin was foolish to mortgage its future with energy dependency on a hostile Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Biden family was utterly corrupt. It was deeply involved in lucrative quid pro quo machinations abroad with China and a crooked Ukrainian government-related company.

John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Anthony Fauci, and Robert Mueller all either did mislead, feign amnesia, or lie either to Congress or while under oath.

Twitter was corrupt in asymmetrically banning the free expression of conservatives. Silicon Valley elites did conspire to sandbag Trump.

The media was a fake-news, corrupt enterprise, as we see from the new Twitter trove and the mass firings at CNN.

So given events since Trump’s departure, he should be in the driver’s seat. But he is not.

Why?

Rather than offering detailed correctives for Biden’s disastrous record, Trump is again dabbling in social media madness. He needlessly floated the absurd idea that constitutional norms might need to be changed to allow the disputed 2020 election result to be overturned.

He seems oblivious that the Left, not conservatives, talk of altering the Constitution. They call for the destruction of the Electoral College, and wish to dilute the Second Amendment and redefine the First.

Why did Trump need to descend into personal invective when prior to the midterms, many primary polls were confirming his front-runner status?

Why did he not remain magnanimous, unite the party, and focus on giving millions to his endorsed but endangered candidates such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Blake Masters, and Herschel Walker?

Why did Trump bizarrely claim that possible rival presidential candidate Glenn Youngkin’s name sounded “Chinese”? What was the logic of attacking the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in racialist terms?

Every elected public official or candidate—with the exception of former President Barack Obama, who once was photographed smiling with a grinning, Jewish-hating Louis Farrakhan—knows there is only one rule concerning antisemites: Go nowhere near them.

Yet Trump dined with two: the now unhinged Kanye West (“Ye”) and the 20-something crackpot Nick Fuentes.

Why would Trump all but announce before the midterms that after the election he would be a candidate?

Or why, right before the Nov. 8 election, did Trump attack Ron DeSantis (whom he calls “DeSanctimonious”), the miracle-worker Republican governor of Trump’s own Florida?

Did Trump wish to rile up left-wing Trump-haters to rush to the midterm polls, or to persuade miffed conservative DeSantis voters to stay home?

In the impending Trump-DeSantis collision, voters will be looking for the resolution of two respective unknowns.

One, will Trump run on his stellar record, avoid controversy, and stick to the issues? And will he thereby win back independent, swing voters on assurances that they could get more MAGA successes, but this time around without the insults and spats?

And two, could DeSantis assure Republicans of a fire-in-the belly, Trumpian zeal to take on the Left, while soberly promoting a MAGA agenda—and thus win over the hard-core Trump base?

So far, De Santis is reassuring donors and primary voters that he can be as tough as his record is impressive.

But Trump is not encouraging the donor class and independent voters that he has learned that melodramas and social media riffs are not his friends.

*****
This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

DeSantis Delivers in Huge Win for the Anti-Lockdown Cause

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

A huge re-election victory vindicates his pandemic policies,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “With runaway win, DeSantis’s political career becomes supercharged,” writes the New York Times. “Ron DeSantis is the new Republican Party leader,” declares Fox News. “Florida’s governor turned his coronavirus policies into a parable of American freedom,” observes the Atlantic.

As well they should. The self-perpetuating lockdowns, mandates, and state of emergency that were imposed across much of the world in response to Covid-19 were a totalitarian aberration incompatible with the values of constitutional democracy. Resisting those mandates wasn’t just a parable of American freedom—it was American freedom.

Unlike some leaders such as South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, DeSantis didn’t initially see through the lockdowns. But he was one of the few political leaders to quickly and publicly recognize his errorvowing that Florida “will never do any of these lockdowns again.”

Where DeSantis really stands out, however, is in his wholehearted embrace, from that point forward, of the anti-lockdown movement in its entirety. He’s consulted and hosted roundtable discussions with prominent anti-lockdown activists and scientists including Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and appointed Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a strong opponent of Covid mandates, as his Surgeon General.

DeSantis and his team became active within the anti-lockdown movement on social media, and he frequently voiced strong opposition to Covid mandates in his speeches, such as during his State of the State address:

Florida has become the escape hatch for those chafing under authoritarian, arbitrary and seemingly never-ending mandates and restrictions. Even today, across the nation we see students denied an education due to reckless, politically-motivated school closures, workers denied employment due to heavy-handed mandates and Americans denied freedoms due to a coercive biomedical apparatus.

These unprecedented policies have been as ineffective as they have been destructive. They are grounded more in blind adherence to Faucian declarations than they are in the constitutional traditions that are the foundation of free nations.

Florida is a free state. We reject the biomedical security state that curtails liberty, ruins livelihoods and divides society. And we will protect the rights of individuals to live their lives free from the yoke of restrictions and mandates.

DeSantis’s staunch support for the anti-lockdown cause may be explained, in no small part, by the fact that he remains one of the world’s only major political figures to publicly share his belief that the Chinese Communist Party played a key role in influencing the global response to Covid-19:

The (W)est did a lot of damage to itself by adopting some of these policies, which have proven to not work to stop the spread, but to be very economically destructive. I do think there was an information operation angle to this, where they really believed that if they could get these other countries to lock down, and they were willing to do some propaganda along the way, particularly in Europe, that ultimately would help China. And I think it has helped China.

For this, DeSantis effectively became the face of the anti-lockdown movement in the United States. It was a bold political gamble (or, for those who’ve been fighting this fight since early 2020, just plain old common sense), and it drew the consternation of lockdown supporters, media and political elites across the country.

But it paid off big. DeSantis won the race for reelection with a 19-point margin of victory—the widest victory margin in a Florida gubernatorial election since 2002. Even more telling, DeSantis’s odds to win the 2024 presidential election soared by more than 10 percentage points, making him the new frontrunner in the presidential race.

The outsized significance of DeSantis’s victory isn’t so much in the victory itself, which was predicted, or even the margin of that victory. The real significance is that DeSantis outperformed by a wide margin at the same time the Republican Party underperformed across the rest of the country. This unique outperformance vindicates whatever DeSantis did differently than the rest of the GOP. And without a doubt, what DeSantis is best known for is his wholehearted embrace of the anti-lockdown movement.

*****
This article was published by Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

The Skunk at the Grand Old Party (GOP)

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors’ Note: Several fault lines have been present in the Republican Party and some new ones are forming. They have become wide enough that both sides are blaming each other for the poor performance during the recent mid-term elections. And, each has a point. The most obvious is the rift between the party establishment and Trump, who came from outside the party, had never held office, and was never really accepted into the fold. The behavior of Mitch McConnell, who spent enormously in primary fights for his candidates, then was selectively parsimonious during the general election (like with Blake Masters), was not helpful for victory.  Trump did similar things. He is sitting on a large war chest but did little monetarily for his selected candidates. RNC chair is held by Mitt Romney’s niece and she did not do a great job. And at the state level, many are unimpressed by Kellie Ward. In terms of electoral success, she is not posting a lot of victories, is she? There remains tension between the McCain wing of the party and the Trumpists. But as we indicated in a previous article, there is also a growing consensus among people who have supported Trump, that his behavior and ego (witness the attacks on Ron DeSantis) are now becoming increasingly destructive. Trump was always abrasive but managed to be elected after bruising many Republican egos in the primaries. And, we will never know what more he could have accomplished as President had he not from the get-go been subject to subversion by the FBI and the DOJ, and the constant attacks by Democrats and the press. However, that tragic history cannot be changed at this juncture. But a new fault line is developing among folks who are neither for the establishment nor for Trump. They endorse most of the MAGA positions, and want a greater emphasis on fiscal sanity, but want a candidate less abrasive and ego-driven than Trump. To be sure, they don’t want a John McCain or Mitt Romney either. Our readers seem to be mostly in this camp. As mentioned before, the polls we have conducted among readers are about 2:1 in favor of DeSantis. We suspect if he was the candidate, most Trump supporters would find him satisfactory. We don’t have a magic wand to bring these warring factions together. But we need a leader who can do that because we face a very well-funded and clever opponent in the Democrat Party, and they seem able to bury their differences to win, while we are not. That said, our chances are better if we can be united and we need a candidate who can accomplish this admittedly difficult task. What is clear is that Trump does not seem to have the temperament to bring the party together. Do Republicans want to win, or not? And as for Trump, this should not be just about him. If we cannot stop the Democrat Party and its socialist/woke agenda, the nation may not be able to recover. The stakes are too high to be petty.

 

On the morning after the mid-term election, my wife and I were walking in the dark with a flashlight on our daily morning walk, in our neighborhood in the Foothills of Tucson, where there aren’t any street lights.  I glanced up, saw a skunk heading our way, and exclaimed, “A SKUNK! TURN AROUND!”

I’ve been saying something similar for four years, but in reference to Donald Trump.  As a product of the working-class, it pained me to warn working stiffs, who felt they had no one else to fight on their behalf, that Trump was loyal to himself and not to them.  Accordingly, I predicted, he was severely damaging the GOP and thus would leave them even more defenseless than they were before against a Democrat Party that had forsaken them.

When Trump behaved like a bully and jerk in his first debate with Joe Biden on September 29, 2020, he confirmed how an increasing number of independents saw him. It was my belief at the time that had just lost his chance for reelection.

Two years later, on November 5, 2022, Trump appeared at a campaign rally in my wife’s home state of Penn., ostensibly on behalf of Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, but actually on behalf of himself. As usual, it was all about Donald J. Trump. He even went so far as to ridicule Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and to strongly indicate that he was going to soon announce a run for reelection. Upon seeing a replay of the rally, I turned to my wife and said, “He just turned a possible red wave into a torrent of blood from a wounded GOP.”

Here in Arizona, where votes are still being counted, the skunk stunk up the state, regardless of the final tally.  Governor Doug Ducey, who, by law, couldn’t run for a third consecutive term, did not run for the US Senate, because he knew that Trump loyalists wouldn’t vote for him in a primary, because Trump wouldn’t endorse him, because he wouldn’t embrace the skunk.

As a classical liberal, I’m mostly disenfranchised by today’s politics. But I have to admit that Ducey was a good governor, one of the best in the nation. Under him, Arizona became a leader in school choice and in tax reduction.  A state that ranked near the middle in total tax burden is set to become one of ten states with the lowest total tax burden—assuming that Democrats don’t prevail in the state and reverse course.

Ducey would’ve been a far, far better senator than the Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly, whom Ducey would’ve beaten handily if it had not been for the skunk spraying Ducey and keeping him from running for the Senate. Ducey would’ve attracted votes from independents and carried other GOP candidates on his coattails.

At the same time, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake might lose to one of the most lackluster politicians in the nation, because Lake was endorsed by Trump.

Campaign signs for Lake and Senate candidate Blake Masters are still on roadsides, with some of them saying, “Endorsed by Trump.”

They might as well have said, “Endorsed by Skunk.”

DeSantis, Trump, and a New Right Comfortable With Power

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note: This article touches on an important subject that we hope will be expanded by conservative leaders of all hues. We certainly do not wish to become as illiberal as our opponents. Politics should be more than just gangs fighting over who gets to control the levers of state power. In theory, conservatives want a much smaller government and a much larger footprint for civil society and the individual. That is a goal that is worthy and would solve many contentious issues currently dividing the nation. However, with the expanded role of the state as it is, and now with the state using corporations to do their bidding, clearly old political rules cannot be successful. Then how can we roll back the state? Wherever state funding is involved, conservatives will have to use the powers of the state, if they are in office, to roll back the control the left has on life in America. For example, colleges and universities that get tax dollars can be required to uphold free speech on campus, but it will be more difficult to compel private colleges to do so. Real competition, through new institutions, will be necessary. School choice is such an answer. Thus, it means both approaches. But if conservatives do win at the polls, in reality, they take charge of a huge and intrusive government, not a New England town hall meeting. This may cross into areas where we are uncomfortable since, by nature, we want to largely be left alone. Until we can shrink the state, we might be in charge of the bloated state, and we must tread carefully. We favor free enterprise, but when big business gets into bed with big government, what are we supposed to do? When the government funds and regulates institutions, and makes them dance to the collectivist tune, what are we supposed to do? When the government uses our own tax dollars to destroy our liberty, what are we supposed to do? Creative governors like Ron DeSantis demonstrate some innovative methods. We need more such people in office to start the process and hopefully, Arizona will soon have a creative governor. But the danger is if our side uses the coercive powers of the state as well while forgetting that the end goal is to get the government, and its coercive nature out of our lives.

 

There is a saying in Washington: “Republicans are in office; Democrats are in power.” It speaks to the different approaches the two parties take toward prosecuting their political mandates. Democrats tend to be ruthless and uncompromising, while Republicans are often submissive and feckless. To constituents under the heel of corrupt bureaucrats and abusive corporations in lockstep with the Democratic Party, Republicans say their hands are bound by “principle” or some other fiction that helps them sleep at night.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, has helped to change that. In the last few months, he has shown how much good the application of a little political muscle can accomplish. More importantly, he offers an alternative approach to the use of power, one well-suited for addressing the exigencies of the moment. If the election of Donald Trump in 2016 was the catalyst for this trend, DeSantis has advanced the method.

DeSantis is fresh off a row with Disney, in which the governor stripped the Magic Kingdom of its special tax district for meddling in state politics—a move that triggered spasming among conventional conservatives, from National Review’s onanists to arch-neoconservative Bill Kristol. That was just the start.

On July 26, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR) threatened to revoke the alcoholic beverage license of R House, a restaurant in Miami that has been hosting “drag queen brunches” for children 12 and younger. The dancers, garbed in gaudy outfits with holes cut between their buttocks or nearly nude, performed for children as young as three. Some “nice” Republicans, like David French, might call these gyrations before the eyes of little ones a “blessing of liberty.” But in the complaint filed by the FDBPR, DeSantis’s administration argues R House “maintained a nuisance on the premises or otherwise allowed its agents, employees, or other persons to violate the laws of Florida” concerning public morals and decency.

Losing its beverage license would deal a serious—likely fatal—blow to R House. But DeSantis said his move was about protecting children, which is something more important than dollar signs. “Having kids involved in this is wrong,” he said. “That is not consistent with our law and policy in the state of Florida. And it is a disturbing trend in our society to try to sexualize these young people. That is not the way you protect children. You look out for children.”

A lot of Republicans have paid lip service to family values and moral decency. Few, if any, however, would consider sinking a business to uphold those ideals. But radical times require radical measures that entail the use of political force.

The day after DeSantis’s government weighed in against R House, the governor took aim at woke CEOs, criticizing “socially responsible” ESG investing. ESG stands for “environmental, social, and corporate governance” investing, which uses shareholder leverage to demand corporations adopt leftist social goals such as climate change policies and woke diversity initiatives. DeSantis also took aim at banks, credit card companies, and money processors like PayPal that discriminate against customers based on their religious, political, and social views. “They’re using things like social credit scores to be able to marginalize people that they don’t like,” DeSantis said during the July 27 press briefing. He went on to say that if Florida and other states could work together as a bloc against the depredations of “woke” capital. “We’d have a lot of money, a lot of voting power under management.”

At the briefing, Tina Descovich, the co-founder of parents’ rights nonprofit Moms for Liberty, said PayPal had frozen her organization’s funds while Governor DeSantis was speaking at the Moms for Liberty National Summit on July 15. After the briefing, PayPal unfroze Moms for Liberty’s funds.

The most recent and dramatic use of political power by DeSantis came on Aug. 4, when the governor suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren. In 2017, The New York Times hailed Warren, alongside Chicago’s Kim Foxx, as one of the new and ascendant “change-minded prosecutors, all of them Democrats whose campaigns were funded by the billionaire George Soros.” Progressive prosecutors—the kind Soros recruits—have a habit of using their power to undermine existing rules and regulations to the detriment of the social order.

In the case of Warren, DeSantis argued that the attorney had repeatedly refused to enforce laws designed to restrict child sex change surgeries and abortion. “The constitution of Florida has vested the veto power in the governor, not in state attorneys,” DeSantis said. “We are not going to allow this pathogen of ignoring the law get a foothold in the state of Florida.”

There are Soros-backed prosecutors all across America; they oversee districts that are home to 20 percent of Americans and where more than 40 percent of U.S. homicides are committed. DeSantis had previously removed Orlando-area State Attorney Aramis Ayala from a high-profile murder case due to her objections to the death penalty. Soros had donated $1.4 million to a political action committee that supported Ayala with the purchase of campaign ads.

Speaking to the Business Insider, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian and self-professed expert on fascism, described DeSantis as a “very dangerous individual” because he “absorbed all the lessons of Trump … but doesn’t have the baggage.” But if DeSantis is dangerous in the way Trump was, it is because he has furthered a precedent whose possibility and palatability have been denied by the incumbent political order as too impractical and too radical. That is, using power to advance a right-wing populism that defends and affirms traditional moral values, community, family, law and order—the fundaments of a healthy social structure. And it is as simple as making distinctions between friends and enemies.

The FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate late Monday raised new questions about the relationship between the right and power—about the friend and enemy distinction. As an attitudinally conservative force, the right has long identified with the institutions of law and order that have effectively been subverted and transformed into the enforcement arm of the Democratic Party, something both Trump and DeSantis have publicly acknowledged. “The raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves,” DeSantis tweeted. “Now the Regime is getting another 87k IRS agents to wield against its adversaries? Banana Republic.”

But if the United States has joined the ranks of dysfunctional Third World regimes, that means that the standard conservative approach to problem-solving—strongly-worded letters and pleas for civility—is utterly inadequate for the moment, and the future will belong to the side that most effectively wields power from “household to nation.”

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This article was published by Chronicles and is reproduced with permission.

Gov. Ron DeSantis Proves Conservatives Can Beat LGBT-Obsessed Left

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Florida state Senate on Tuesday passed a parent’s rights bill, a media-maligned piece of legislation that will prohibit primary school teachers from talking about sexual orientation with children in pre-K through third grade.

Senate passage of the Parental Rights in Education bill by a vote of 21-17 marks a milestone in parents’ efforts across the nation to fight back against the radical left in the classroom. The legislation also represents a model for other states to use as they push back the woke tides.

The Florida House of Representatives passed the legislation last month, 69-47. It now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.

Opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill has been fierce, with many on the left attempting to reframe the law as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The left has attempted for years to indoctrinate children with LGBT ideology in public schools, and now activists are furious at attempts by conservatives to push back.

To be clear, the Florida legislation is not an “anti-gay” bill. It is instead a bill aimed at protecting children—and preventing educators with an agenda from infecting young kids with radical ideology. 

DeSantis, a Republican, has expressed as much. In an exchange with a local reporter during a Monday press conference, the governor reiterated that the legislation was about protecting kids and that the corporate media was lying about what it would do.

DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw went one step further and argued that the bill, which takes effect July 1, was more of an “anti-grooming” measure.

They’re both correct, of course.

Americans are just waking up to how tight a grip the radical left has on the education system, and what dire consequences can result from that amount of control. 

In Howard County, Maryland, eighth-grade students were subjected to a video in English class featuring a biological woman who identifies as a man talking about transgender issues. The video begins with discussions surrounding genital surgery, sex, and public restrooms before devolving into a screed about transgenderism in general.

Or consider the two California teachers who aided a 12-year-old girl with a gender transition without telling her parents, then called Child Protective Services when the parents found out and tried to stop it.

Parents and states must be empowered to counter the left’s complete and utter control of the education system. And when states take actions to empower parents, they should be praised.

DeSantis and Florida Republicans deserve credit for their aggressive efforts to push back against transgender idealogy. It’s not a given that lawmakers—whether local, state, or national—will take a stand and fight the left.

Last year, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, failed to stand up for biological reality when she vetoed a bill to ban biological males from participating in girls and women’s sports. Noem’s actions empowered the radical left, which viewed her refusal to ban men from ruining women’s sports as a jab in the arm toward its warped worldview.

Although Noem since has backtracked and signed  South Dakota lawmakers’ Fairness in Women’s Sports bill last month, it came on the heels of DeSantis’ signing an identically named bill last June.

DeSantis and his team understand deeply that the radical left won’t stop and doesn’t care about parental concerns about the negative effects of its agenda on children. The left, alongside allies in the corporate media, will continue to lie about conservative efforts to counter its propaganda war in America’s classrooms.

That’s why it’s so important for DeSantis and his fellow conservatives in state legislatures and governor’s mansions to fight back actively. Because as passage of the Florida bill proves, conservatives can win.

DeSantis’ achievement in Florida should cause a cascade of similar legislation across the country. Americans who are rightfully concerned about leftist indoctrination deserve recourse against the activists who are hellbent on harming children.

There’s a long road ahead. But DeSantis and his team, along with GOP state lawmakers, can take credit for a huge first step.

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This article was published by the Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

DeSantis Aims for Self-Reliance for Florida in Emergencies Instead of Dependence on Feds

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed reestablishing a Florida State Guard, or civilian voluntary force, to assist the National Guard in state-specific emergencies.

The governor’s new military budget proposal includes $3.5 million for the State Guard to support emergency-response efforts in the event of hurricanes, other natural disasters, and other state emergencies.

The dedicated funding would enable civilians to be trained in emergency-response techniques and would make Florida the 23rd state with a state guard. This move toward self-reliance would benefit Florida’s emergency preparedness and response, and fiscally benefit the American taxpayers.

The Florida State Guard was first created in 1941 as a temporary force to fill state needs as the Florida National Guard was deployed to assist in the U.S. combat efforts of World War II. Although Florida disbanded the state guard after the war ended, the governor’s authority to establish a state defense force remained in place.

DeSantis has deployed the Florida National Guard to protect major cities after protests and violence broke out in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in May 2020. He has also sent them out of state, including to Washington, D.C., to help protect the U.S. Capitol during Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration, and to the Texas-Mexico border to assist Texas during this administration’s ongoing border crisis.

It’s the border crisis that demonstrates that states are in more control of their own destiny and can be more self-reliant in addressing emergencies when they have their own state guard and do not have to rely on the federal government—and, potentially, political decision-making—to respond to disasters in their own state.

Enforcing immigration laws is a federal function, yet the Biden administration has deliberately chosen to not enforce many immigration laws passed by Congress. The predictable result has been historic numbers of illegal crossings across the southwest border, particularly across the Texas-Mexico border.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested a federal emergency declaration to be reimbursed for the costs Texas has paid due to the federal government’s nonenforcement. The Biden administration, via the Federal Emergency Management Agency, denied Abbott’s request and then denied his appeal.

To fill the federal enforcement void, Texas has been using its National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, county prosecutors, and state detention centers to arrest, detain, and prosecute aliens illegally crossing the border for state crimes such as trespassing.

While this detention and state prosecution is often a mere speed bump on the road to eventual release into the U.S., it provides Texas border residents needed relief from more property damage, crime, and other threats.

FEMA emphasizes that states and localities need to prepare and be ready for disasters. The agency operates under the framework of “locally executed, state managed, and federally supported incident response.”

In other words, states and localities lead in emergencies, while the federal government supports and provides guidance.

But states and localities have developed a growing reliance on federal response and funding when local and regional natural disasters occur. The result is that states, subsidized by taxpayers from other states with fewer disasters or better preparedness, are disincentivized to actively prepare for their own disasters.

The Robert T. Stafford Emergency Relief and Disaster Assistance Act of 1988 gave the president the authority to issue disaster declarations for a variety of events. These can range from widespread national disasters to smaller, localized events.

Since passage, the number of such declarations has steadily risen. In 1988, FEMA declared 16 disasters. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama declared 130 disasters per year. From 2017 through 2020, President Donald Trump declared 137, 124, 101, and 311 disasters, respectively. COVID-19 clearly played an inordinate role in the number of 2020 declarations.

Such federal reliance is an irresponsible and financially unsustainable posture. Experts have long called for more preparedness and self-reliance on the part of states and localities.

Being dependent on federal emergency assistance is a double-edged sword for states and American taxpayers. While federal dollars provide states with financial relief, federal funding burdens all American taxpayers to pay for local or regional disasters.

The federal government should deny more requests, and states should save for, and maintain, their own readiness.

During the COVID-19 response, states, localities, and the private sector have learned that it’s in their interest to be self-reliant and creative, and to plan for contingencies and identify alternative resources and delivery methods.

Those that demonstrated these qualities and actions were able to recover more quickly. Self-reliance includes setting aside and preserving sufficient funding for disaster response and recovery.

So, DeSantis is wisely pursuing the reestablishment of the Florida State Guard. Some on the left are spinning their fear machines, claiming DeSantis is creating his own personal army. They not only ignore the fact that nearly half of the other U.S. states have such a guard, but they also ignore the long-overdue need for states to shoulder more of the emergency response burden. It’s all just to score political points and shape the media narrative in opposition to DeSantis.

Floridians and emergency management experts should applaud this self-sufficiency proposal. Less dependence on the federal government increases states’ opportunities, accelerates their recovery and saves American taxpayer funds.

The remaining 27 states should follow DeSantis’ lead.

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The article was published on December 6, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.