The rise and rise of Ron DeSantis

To me this reads like a very balanced assessment of the current state of play and politics via @NYTOpinion.

By Thomas B. Edsall

Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.

He writes:

Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, is giving Donald Trump a run for his money as the most divisive politician in America.

“We want people that are going to fight the left, and that’s what we need to do in this country,” DeSantis declared in an interview with Fox News on Feb. 8. “That’s what we’re doing in Florida, standing up for people’s freedoms. We’re opposing wokeness. We’re opposing all these things.”

In a Nov. 5, 2021, article on the liberal Daily Beast website, “Desperate, Deranged DeSantis Devolves Into Dumb Troll,” Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote that DeSantis “is a terrible governor who is failing his leadership course with flying colors. Driven only by politics and naked ambition, he pursues reckless policies that divide Floridians and may even put them in danger.”

The governor routinely succumbs to right-wing pressure groups, Navarrette continued, “because he apparently has no core beliefs other than the unshakable conviction that he should sit in the Oval Office.”

On Jan. 17, 2022, The Guardian followed up from the left:

In a red-meat-for-the-base address at the opening of Florida’s legislature last week, themed around the concept of “freedom” but described by critics as a fanfare of authoritarianism, DeSantis gave a clear indication of the issues he believes are on voters’ minds. They include fighting the White House over Covid-19, ballot box fraud, critical race theory in schools and defunding law enforcement.

The view from the right is starkly different.

On March 14, Rich Lowry, editor in chief of National Review, heaped praise on DeSantis as “the voice of the new Republican Party,” a politician who “opens up a vista offering an important element of Trumpism without the baggage or selfishness of Trump.”

Lowry argues that DeSantis has strategically positioned himself on the cutting edge of a political movement with the potential to have “broad appeal to GOP voters of all stripes without the distracting obsessions of the former president.” 

Read the full article on the NYT.

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