Ask a kid who he or she wants to be like, and you’ll receive a lot of different answers.
“I want to be like daddy (or mommy).” “I want to be like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (not!).” “I want to be like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (time for a psychological examination).” “I want to be like Donald Trump (more like it).” “I want to be like Jen Psaki (what, a remorseless hypocrite who spreads lies about vaccine mandates benefitting people and then gets COVID herself?).” Or, “I want to be like Tom Brady (if you’re an aspiring sports star, who wouldn’t?).”
But if you’re a Republican governor in 2021, you want to be like Ron DeSantis. One way to determine how successful DeSantis has been through the first three years of his initial term is to note the amount and degree of vitriol he receives from Democrats and the liberal media alike. DeSantis has drawn the ire of critics ranging from the hags on The View (who called him a negligent homicidal sociopath and dangerous criminal) as well as jabs from president senile Joe Biden himself, which clearly suggests the Floridian is doing something right.
It’s not business-as-usual where DeSantis is concerned, and he’s pulled clear of other governors in prominent states just by being himself, which is a good thing.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis is running Florida as an unabashed culture warrior, redefining what Republican voters want from a governor and inspiring imitators along the way.
“The first-term chief executive is threatening out-of-state technology companies, so-called ‘big-tech’ firms, with punitive legislation; blocking municipal authorities and businesses from implementing mask and vaccine mandates to reduce the spread of the coronavirus; and sparring with reporters and jousting with President Joe Biden in a manner similar to that of former President Donald Trump...
“In tackling what Republicans believe is political censorship of conservatives by social media platforms, refusing to let local governments and business owners make their own decisions on face masks and coronavirus vaccinations, selectively blocking media outlets from press conferences — DeSantis operates more like a federal politician, for whom cultural issues are more salient. The strategy has worked wonders for the governor’s national profile, at least inside the GOP.”
Imagine that -- there’s an American politician who recognizes that culture drives politics. What was it that legendary conservative warrior Andrew Breitbart once said? “Politics is downstream from culture”. It wasn’t a novel concept, either, but Breitbart was one of the first to speak about it passionately. DeSantis appears to have absorbed the lesson well.
This isn’t rocket science here. Ron DeSantis is popular and other Republicans in high state positions look to emulate him because… he’s good at what he does. DeSantis is young (43 years old), has a beautiful wife and family, has largely avoided personal controversy and possesses a resume that just about everyone should admire (Ivy League Education (Yale undergraduate, college athlete, Harvard Law graduate with honors), military service, former congressman…). Ron’s humble background (son of a nurse and a Nielsen TV ratings box installer) and relatable everyman nature has helped him earn the admiration.
In other words, people are drawn to someone like Ron DeSantis because they feel they could talk to him on a human level rather than simply placing him on a pedestal or viewing him as some extra-worldly pseudo-savior (like Barack Obama). DeSantis serves in public office because he wants to do great things for the people -- including battling the entrenched political establishment -- rather than simply being seen as great because he managed to win elections.
The DeSantis blueprint for public relations success isn’t hidden from view and it’s open to copying. I doubt the governor would mind. All Republicans, including those in so-called “swing” states and districts could take a page from his unwritten strategy book. His qualities include:
One, being effective. DeSantis has made a name for himself by championing issues that national as well as local conservatives care about. While the rest of the country (at least the reactionary liberals and wishy-washy COVID scaredy cats) was freaking out about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus, the Florida governor kept a level head, maintained his constituents’ freedom and stayed within the law.
DeSantis took the advice from the federal authorities at the outset of the pandemic but was well ahead of the curve in reopening his state, which not only explains why he’s loved in Florida, it helped expose the fallacy of dictators like Dr. Anthony Fauci and the whole of the liberal chattering class. DeSantis took pride in following science, devising a plan to keep the most vulnerable (care facilities) protected while simultaneously allowing the least threatened folks to get on with their lives with reasonable precautions and fewer mandates from above.
DeSantis is no Gavin Newsom, put it that way.
DeSantis was one of the first to liberate his constituents from useless masks and face coverings -- to make them optional in schools and banning local jurisdictions from requiring them. If you want to wear one, fine. But if you don’t, the government won’t make the decision for you.
Two, by being consistent. In dealing with the aftermath of the tragic Parkland High School shooting (in February, 2017, under then governor and now Sen. Rick Scott’s tenure), DeSantis didn’t abandon his belief in the Second Amendment. He must have sensed that his supporters wouldn’t look kindly on changing his views because of a one-time incident that subsequent investigation revealed was entirely preventable if the local and federal authorities had acted on the murderer’s warning signs.
Despite heavy public interest in the anti-gun rights position, DeSantis defied the reactionaries and held fast, issuing a public school safety executive order and even suspending the local sheriff (Steve Israel) who had become somewhat of a national liberal cable TV celebrity. What’s that called? Oh yeah, justice.
Also, unlike fellow Republican star (and rumored to be a potential 2024 presidential candidate) South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, DeSantis hasn’t bowed to pressure from the left and subjected his state to new “woke” policies on biological male transgenders in girls’ sports. DeSantis has a backbone -- and it shines a positive light on him.
Three, by recognizing where the party power is and cooperating with the authorities. And, in the case of Trump, saying nice things about him too. It seems all too evident that many Republicans suffer from an ailment that doesn’t reveal itself until that person gets elected and assumes his or her position in a state house or in Congress -- that being the weakness of listening to the news media rather than what the folks back home tell them.
During former president Trump’s 2016 campaign and his four years in office, studies showed that media coverage of both the man and his administration ran about 9-in-10 negative. Therefore, it’s easy to conclude that praising Trump equated to a drag on one’s political fortunes. Whenever there was a particularly glaring issue before the public -- such as the phony Russian collusion investigation -- reporters ran to the nearest RINO for a quote affirming their predetermined position that Trump was guilty and there was a smoking gun lying around somewhere that would prove it.
GOP establishment politicians never learn. Instead of instinctively getting behind their party’s elected leader -- like all Democrats do in perilous moments -- they open the door to the possibility that Trump did something wrong just to save themselves. Establishmentarians acted this way despite Trump’s repeated denials and the absence of verifiable evidence to the contrary.
Why? Because it got them speaking slots on MSNBC or CNN and invitations to “centrist” type groups that advocated for middle-of-the-road “common sense” policies (translation -- big government gobbledygook). These political organizations have clever names, too, like The Mainstream Coalition or The Tuesday Group or the Senate Bipartisan Working Group. Their membership was generally the outcasts of the GOP and a few Democrats, heavily establishment oriented and none of them would have a prayer of getting elected in a conservative state.
More recently the media-conscious schleps have abandoned all pretenses of conservatism to form #NeverTrump conglomerations like The Lincoln Project or to establish big donor funded publications like The Bulwark or The Dispatch, whose primary function was to savage Trump and the Americans who believe in the Make America Great Again movement. This type of phony conservative is partially responsible for Trump’s failure to improve his approval ratings, which led to more negative media coverage and eventually to senile Joe Biden’s election.
Drucker quoted one GOP operative, “Ron DeSantis has virtually no interest in governing, so he is free to spend all day dreaming up clickbait. It has caused him to lose respect among his fellow governors but win him fans among the online fundraisers and cable-television bookers.”
This ignorant person probably works at MSNBC and cut a check for Liz Cheney’s reelection campaign, too. He or she doesn’t represent the average Republican who thinks highly of DeSantis for speaking out and fighting back against the media.
Not everyone admires the same things, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has a lot of people liking the way he handles his job. The Sunshine State is leading the way in advancing conservative policy, and it’s drawn DeSantis a lot of positive coverage from right-leaning media. He should write a how-to manual on politics, a must-read for national GOP leaders.
Gov. Ron DeSantis
Second Amendment rights
2022 Florida gubernatorial election
2024 GOP presidential field