Washington Post columnist Max Boot appeared unsettled by the political rise of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and how he shares characteristics that helped former President Trump get elected to the highest office in the land.
In a piece published Tuesday titled, “Ron DeSantis is showing Trump-level skill at waging culture war,” Boot declared that Trump was “America’s premier culture warrior” and that DeSantis is so far winning “‘The Apprentice: Culture Warfare Edition.'”
“He is setting himself up as Trump’s running mate or successor by showing a genius for appealing to every disreputable prejudice of the GOP base. This man knows how to outrage Democrats and, therefore, delight Republicans,” Boot explained.
Boot appeared to condemn DeSantis for “following Trump’s lead” with Florida’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, noting how he never implemented a mask mandate and “allowed” restaurants and businesses to reopen at full capacity last September to “score populist points with the base.”
“The results have not been as dire as some critics predicted — but nor they have been as good as DeSantis claims. He did get some things right, such as initially banning visits at nursing homes and pushing schools to reopen. But it’s a stretch to say, as DeSantis did, that ‘we’ve had tremendous success,'” Boot wrote. “More than 38,000 Floridians have died of covid-19. That’s nothing to celebrate. Moreover, both the Sunshine State’s deaths per 1 million population and its economic growth in 2020 were worse than in California, another big Sun Belt state, where a Democratic governor imposed stricter covid-19 restrictions.”
The Post columnist then listed issues DeSantis has been tackling in order to win over the “Trumpist base” like signing election reform into law, combatting Big Tech, barring transgender girls from participating in girls sports, announcing he was sending law enforcement to Texas and Arizona to secure the border, and outlawing critical race theory being taught in schools.
“There’s only one small problem: According to the Miami Herald, ‘The theory is not taught in any Florida school districts, state officials acknowledge,’” Boot wrote, though critics on social media pointed out his flawed logic that it’s better to ban something before it becomes widespread. “What DeSantis is really trying to do is to prevent schools from teaching about America’s and Florida’s long and ugly history of racism.”
He continued, “Mask mandates. Vaccine passports. Voter fraud. Tech company censorship. Transgender athletes. Undocumented migrants. Critical race theory. DeSantis pushes every single right-wing hot-button issue. He understands how to demonize and polarize for political advantage — and he doesn’t care about how much collateral damage he inflicts. Little wonder he is being talked about as the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination if Trump doesn’t run — and maybe even if he does.”
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