Opinion | Ron DeSantis Likes His Culture Wars for a Reason

Here’s the question: What does Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida think about Medicare? Medicaid? Social Security? Affordable Care Act?

DeSantis has built its national political image on well-timed and strategically chosen battles. First, there is opposition to Covid mitigation strategies and vaccine regulation. Then there’s the open hostility towards the LGB (and especially) T. Floridians and anything and anyone deemed “wake up”. Now it’s an escalation of both moves, aiming to grab the right wing in the Republican presidential run, which has begun to move away from behind-the-scenes jokes in favor of open competition between opponents.

DeSantis said that he would like banned vaccination missions and restricted mask-wearing rules, while making Florida a safe haven from what he called a “biomedical security state.” You too would like state universities to provide the number and age of any students who have sought or received treatment for gender dysphoria, what critics say is the governor’s first step toward achieving such services are prohibited. And my education ministry refused an Advanced Placement pilot course that included African-American studies on the grounds that it was a tool for political indoctrination. Bryan Griffin, press secretary for DeSantis, said: “As submitted, the course is a vehicle for a political agenda and leaves large, ambiguous gaps that can be filled with documents. Additional ideology that we will not allow.

By no means is any of this trivial or unimportant. Florida is the third most populous state. Launching a vaccine war or using state power to harass transgender students is making it difficult or even dangerous for the lives of thousands of people.

There is, however, a reason that DeSantis has created these problems, and almost nothing else, the foundation from which he hopes to build national power. By engaging in high-profile battles as a stellar culture fighter for the most reactionary section of the American public – last year, to set another example, he chose a war with the Disney corporation – DeSantis has made himself the hero of conservative elites and libertarians and Democrats without mentioning much of his radical and unpopular views on insurance society and the welfare state.

As a congressman, serving three terms from 2013 to 2018 (when he ran for governor), DeSantis was one of the founders of the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative and hard-line faction in the Republican convention in The House, currently in the spotlight for its leadership battle with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and its motivating role in using the debt ceiling to force spending cuts on the unsuspecting public.

DeSantis is particularly strongly opposed to so-called entitlements and other forms of federal aid. He helped lead the effort to shut down the government due to funding for the Affordable Care Act in 2013 and that same year voted through a budget resolution cutting more than $250 billion from Social Security. society and Medicare for a decade. In 2017, like most Republicans, he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut taxes on corporations, high earners, and heirs. rich.

DeSantis believes that, according to his 2011 book “Dreams from our founding fathers: The Obama Age First Principles,” that the framers of the Constitution “tried to build a system of government that prevented the redistribution of wealth entrusted to it by the government.” Turning his attention to the Affordable Care Act and the federal bureaucracy, DeSantis denounced both as “administrative despotism” that had caused “suffocating constraints on society as a whole” festival”. And while he doesn’t target the New Deal and its derivatives directly – the whole book is framed as an attack on the Obama administration – his arguments against distributive policy should apply as much to Social Security as they apply to Obamacare. It’s not without reason that Florida is one if 11 the state did not approve the expansion of Medicaid.

That’s right, as governor of Florida, DeSantis has been eager to use the abundant Covid relief funds to bolster his political standing in the state, with bonuses for first responders and new money. to protect the environment. But that doesn’t mean he’s changed his mind about the bigger questions of federal spending.

The end result of all this is that DeSantis’ opponents should, as much as possible, refuse to play his game. You don’t have to confront him on your terrain. Instead, you can force him to acknowledge or account for his other, more unpopular political commitments. Interestingly, this is the approach Donald Trump might take to reject DeSantis in the Republican primaries. “One area where Trump and his allies sniff that weakness in DeSantis is on Social Security,” Rolling Stone Report. It should be said that Trump used this strategy to great success against his Republican opponents in 2016.

It might be an exaggeration to ask liberals and Democrats to take lessons from the former president, but here they should. The best way to neutralize DeSantis as a political force might be to spend less time on cultural conflicts and more time making the clear case that, given the opportunity, he would cut off what was left of the safety net and use the proceeds to help the rich stay richer.


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