Jackie Calmes: Ron DeSantis proves that cruetly is a Republican trait
This month, the Florida GOP was in the midst of an election season that had the potential to turn into a free-for-all between the right and left.
The party, which had been in the driver’s seat for years, lost a significant number of seats in the legislature and a large number of the House seats. It also lost the governor’s race to a Democrat.
Ron DeSantis had just been appointed as Florida’s new governor and had shown the loyalty of conservatives by refusing to defend Scott in his impeachment proceedings. But he still didn’t have a lot to run on but to keep his political base happy. So, in an attempt to get another boost, he ran in what amounted to his third statewide bid in just over a year.
This time, he came out with a platform that was more moderate than most of his predecessors, though he would have been out of line with the electorate if he had decided to go further. This time, he tried to talk the talk — about his record, his priorities, his plans for his future. He talked about issues like education, crime and immigration, which are central to what the right of the party holds dear. But when it came to what he would do as governor, he failed to take any meaningful steps forward.
He talked all the way to the right, even going so far as to call for the abolishment of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which he would appoint. He talked about things like repealing the Affordable Care Act, yet he didn’t propose a replacement, which is the point of such a platform. He talked about taxes, but didn’t say anything specific on how he would pay for the new tax. He talked about spending the money. And, most importantly, he talked about his policy goals—which turned out to be a mish-mash of things.
Now, DeSantis was no stranger to political maneuvering, having served as a congressman from 2009 to 2015. He had been an ardent supporter of the Tea Party movement, and he had run for and won the governorship twice, making