Is Ron DeSantis Flaming Out Already?” – Examining the Power-Hungry Politics of the Former Florida Governor

David Frum asked an important question this week in The Atlantic: Is Ron DeSantis flaming out already?[0] DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, is attempting to use the state as a blueprint for the rest of the United States, and has used his power to translate provocation into policy with alarming speed. He has emerged as a new kind of Republican governor—one who has used his state to demonstrate that he can institute a more effective and aggressive version of former President Donald Trump’s politics.[1]

In pursuit of these so-called culture wars, DeSantis has vastly expanded the power of the executive in Florida, a central goal since taking office.[2] He has made headlines by targeting the leadership of New College and signing legislation that restricted instruction on racism in schools and workplaces.[3] His anti-elitist rhetoric has significant power in US politics and culture, as evidenced by his book, The Courage to Be Free.[2]

Ten years ago, Republican governors were seen as potential connectors and rescuers for the Republican Party.[2] But in the post-Trump era, their seats are now perches to prove that they can manipulate all the levers of power to feed the party’s base, both in-state and nationally.[2] Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has also reportedly been eyeing a presidential bid, while former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced her bid last month.[2]

These governors are engaging in rebranded political fights that dominated politics in the 1990s, often economic issues as well.[2] DeSantis’ attacks on public education come paired with efforts to weaken teachers’ unions, while limits on reproductive health care are limits on earning power for both women and men.[2] Reducing available resources to combat workplace discrimination eliminates potential avenues of advancement for Black and other non-White employees.[2]

For now, DeSantis and Trump lead early polls for the Republican presidential nomination, presenting a united front for a party that has embraced a cruel-edged, power-hungry right-wing politics.[2] DeSantis solidified his place as Trump’s chief rival for the nomination largely based on an electability argument, as he was MAGA, like Trump, but without the former president’s baggage or toxicity to moderate Republicans and independents.[4]

However, when DeSantis visited Iowa last week, he didn’t seem to draw much enthusiasm from its residents.[3]

0. “The DeSantis Mini-Trump Strategy – by Charlie Sykes” The Bulwark, 15 Mar. 2023,

1. “Opinion: What history reveals about the DeSantis playbook” CNN, 15 Mar. 2023,

2. “Opinion: What history reveals about the DeSantis playbook”, 15 Mar. 2023,

3. “DeSantis outpaces Trump in major Republican primary measure: The number of mentions on Fox” The Spokesman Review, 15 Mar. 2023,

4. “Ron DeSantis’ Aloof Persona, Odd Demands Already Impacting 2024 Race” The Daily Beast, 16 Mar. 2023,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top