The US presidential election is not until 2024. But the Republicans have long had a favorite: Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis. He is considered particularly reactionary.

The man who would so much like to become America’s next president has copied a lot from his great role model Donald Trump. For example, Ron DeSantis learned from him how to distract from one’s own responsibility as brazenly as possible.

It was the beginning of August and the corona numbers in Florida had long since exploded, when Governor DeSantis simply blamed the current US president for it: Instead of stopping the virus, Joe Biden “imported more viruses from all over the world because he crossed the border leaves wide open in the south. ” Hundreds of thousands of people flocked over there every month.

The Republican world can be so beautifully simple: Illegal immigrants bring the virus to the United States. And the angry US President in Washington just watches.

In short: the Democrats are to blame. And the foreigners. Taking down the political opponent and stirring up xenophobia – Trump was already successful with that.

Hot contenders for the presidential candidacy

DeSantis also benefits from his course. The student has even overtaken his mentor. The Florida governor’s popularity ratings were 74 percent, according to a Republican poll. Trump only got 71 percent. This is one of the reasons why DeSantis has long been considered one of the favorites to run for the next presidential election.

But who is the man from the Sunshine State of Florida whose critics claim he is even more dangerous than Donald Trump?

Born in Jacksonville as Ronald Dion DeSantis, he became governor in 2018 when he was just 40 years old. The father of three children is married to a former television journalist. His trademark: He looks like the down-to-earth guy next door who made it to the top not through a rich father, but through hard work, perseverance and cleverness.

That, in turn, distinguishes him from Trump: He speaks to people directly, but always seems a bit aloof. On DeSantis, on the other hand, nothing shimmers except the pomade in the disciplined parted hair.

Baseball, Harvard, Yale, and the Military

DeSantis served in the US Army, was stationed in Iraq and Guantanamo. Even when he was still in school, he was a highly talented baseball player. A friend at the time told the Tampa Bay Times, “His goal was to become President of the United States. Did that sound outlandish? A lot of the things we (…) talked about at the time were outlandish. And a lot of it is entered. “

There is a reason that his opponents warn that DeSantis is just the more polite version of the devil Trump: The governor is considered more intelligent than his teacher. And that just makes him more dangerous.

In fact, DeSantis has degrees from the elite US universities of Harvard and Yale. And he knows how to attract attention without being abusive. Unlike Trump, whose angry tweets are legendary. Because DeSantis remains cultured, even liberal media value him.

Sometimes it goes under that his slogans have the Trump sound. DeSantis sells “Don’t Fauci my Florida”, for example T-Shirts, with which he makes mood against Joe Biden and his health advisor Anthony Fauci.

“Don’t Fauci my Florida” merchandise on Ron DeSantis website (Source: rondesantis.com)

Conservatism for the grassroots, liberalism for the rest

The fact that DeSantis is popular across party lines is a remarkable achievement in politically deeply divided Florida. Democrats are trembling that he could succeed at the federal level. The fear of a reactionary turnaround is widespread.

Because much more clearly than Trump, DeSantis stands for an arch-conservative agenda. Since he became governor, transgender children, for example, are no longer allowed to participate in girls’ sports. Girls should do girls ‘sports and boys should do boys’ sports, he argues.

Like Trump, DeSantis is waging a culture war against an “excessive political correctness” that he has identified. Recently, students and professors at universities have had to state their political preferences, among other things. The goal: allegedly subliminal left ideologies in teaching should be removed from the ground.

Something like that keeps the Republican base happy. But DeSantis also manages to retain moderate voters.

Will Ron DeSantis gamble himself away?

At the moment he is luring her mainly with promises of freedom in the matter of Corona. The “Free State of Florida” should remain independent of nonsensical restrictions from Washington, says DeSantis. Everyone should be free to decide what they want to do for their own health. As a result, Florida was one of the first states to lift almost all restrictions in May.

By now, DeSantis may have exaggerated the freedoms. Critics no longer just call him “Trump 2.0”, but rather “serial killer” and “Death Santis”. According to a recent poll, the governor has lost a lot of approval, especially among voters on the move.

Many blame him for the numerous corona sufferers and deaths in Florida. In fact, DeSantis forbids all schools from introducing a mask requirement to protect children. State funds will be withdrawn from those who do not adhere to them.

Supporters of a mask requirement in schools in Florida (Source: imago images)Supporters of a mask requirement in schools in Florida (Source: imago images)

Numerous schools are therefore already pulling into Florida courts. Parents revolt and quarrel with those who strictly reject masks for students. A court has now put DeSantis in its place again for the time being. The litigation continues.

Mask compulsory opponents in Florida (Source: imago images)Mask compulsory opponents in Florida (Source: imago images)

This creates unrest and destroys DeSantis’ image as everybody’s darling. Especially since he turns companies against himself. According to a law, they have to expect high fines if they ask their customers to wear masks or proof of vaccination. Ironically, the extremely influential Disney group is now going to court.

In the end, DeSantis could win

So the governor is gambling very high. The more lives are at stake, the more dangerous it becomes for him. It sounds cynical. But if the number of illnesses and deaths in the Sunshine State should fall again, DeSantis could actually benefit from its consistent freedom course.

Can this course also work on a national level? It is not unlikely. Because, as in most countries, there is general corona fatigue in the USA.

DeSantis is not a vaccine opponent, but he wants to avoid the impression that he is following the patronizing course from Washington, which many citizens hate. Forcing people to get vaccinated won’t do anything, he says. And by the way: The promise of the US head of health Fauci to achieve herd immunity through vaccinations was simply wrong.

Friends or foes?  Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump (Source: imago images)Friends or foes? Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump (Source: imago images)

DeSantis is also continuing the Republican tradition of alternative facts. “Make America Florida” – that could be his future motto.

But DeSantis will wait until there is an open candidacy for the next presidential election. The danger of falling out of favor with Trump is too great. Because even he is waiting for the right moment to announce his decision about a comeback. And whoever is not loyal is known to be sawed off by him.

And then DeSanti’s hardship threatens. Because he’s more popular than Trump. A confidante of the ex-president recently told the US magazine “Vanity Fair”: “Trump fucking hates DeSantis”.

Before Florida’s governor can actually become more dangerous than Trump, he must first beware of him.

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