We’ve heard this warning a few times, but it bears repeating: Trump’s not the guy we need to be worried about, it’s the guy who comes after Trump (and I don’t mean Joe Biden, although he has his own problems). Trump, I’m afraid, was merely the person who broke the presidency. Who set the mold for the autocrat to come. And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would be as good a successor to The Donald as anybody.
“DeSantis is God's gift to lawyers,” law professor Bob Jarvis told Skyler Swisher for a story that ran in today’s Orlando Sentinel. "He is interested in playing to the base, owning liberals and trying to position himself for the 2024 presidential election. He doesn't care if laws are constitutional. He doesn't care if laws stand up in court."
That’s led to a raft of legislation that serves no real purpose other than to whip up his base, including the infamous “don’t say gay” bill, the Stop WOKE anti-CRT bill, an unconstitutional anti-riot law, and a “sanctuary cities” ban.
This is classic power politics, the tactics of a man who sees the law as nothing but a tool to get him to the White House. This is what floods school board meetings with hysterical flat earthers and Covid truthers, what jams up the turnstiles of government so bad that soon we’re begging for relief — even if that relief comes from the very movement that drove the hysterics in the first place.
Read God's gift to lawyers at the Orlando Sentinel
DeSantis is also proficient in that old conservative tactic of decrying spending while simultaneously distributing handfuls of (other people’s) money to his base:
Gov. Ron DeSantis has been on a spending spree for months, taking credit for millions of dollars in federal stimulus money he's handing out to mostly rural Republican counties while at the same time bashing President Biden's big government spending.
Federal bucks have bolstered the state budget for two years in a row, shoring up the state's reserves, and funding such things as the governor's job growth program, climate “resiliency” against rising waters, road projects, broadband expansion, college training programs and tax cuts….
“He is solidifying or trying to make sure that his bases are motivated and jack up the turnout,” said Mac Stipanovich, a longtime political strategist and former Republican who became a Democrat and endorsed Biden over his dislike of Trump. “He's serving up red meat for the base in an ongoing ‘Truman Show.’”
Read DeSantis taking credit for federal funds at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Meanwhile, the corporate elites are clamoring aboard the DeSantis Train.
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At least 42 billionaires (and members of billionaire families) have contributed a combined $275 billion to the governor, Zac Anderson writes in today’s Tallahassee Democrat:
“That is an extraordinary number,” said Darrell West, a Brookings Institution scholar who wrote a book about billionaire political involvement. “Billionaires are getting more involved in politics, but having that many is very unusual. It shows the governor's ability to raise money among the big-money crowd.”
The governor's billionaire contributors have a combined net worth greater than the gross domestic product of Finland or Pakistan. They hail from 15 states. They include well-known names and obscure figures. Some have been dogged by scandal. One even was pardoned by former President Donald Trump.
The rogue’s gallery of money-men (and women) behind the potential fuehrer include:
- Julie Jenkins Fancelli, the Publix supermarket heir who supplied some of the money used to get the failed Jan 6 coup off the ground
- The DeVos family, whose money comes from Amway and goes to causes like privatizing education; Betsy DeVos’s brother is the mercenary magnate Erik Prince
- Ken Griffin, the founder and CEO of Chicago hedge fund Citadel, contributed $5 million to DeSantis, making him the governor’s top individual donor
“There’s no such thing as a victimless billionaire,” Greg Palest once said. You can be sure that if so many billionaires are putting serious money behind DeSantis, we have a future war criminal on our hands.
Read Who Are the 42 Billionaires Backing DeSantis? at USA Today
Read Ron DeSantis has at least 42 billionaire donors. Here are some of the most notable at Tallahassee Democrat
And if all that wasn't on the nose enough, let's not forget late last year, when DeSantis announced a budget that includes funding for his own 200-strong state military unit.
Read The Disgusting Reality Behind Ron DeSantis' New 'Army' at The Daily Beast
More coverage on Failed State Update
- Julie Fancelli, the Publix supermarket heir and #1 Alex Jones superfan. Further light shed on the role of wealthy donors on the January 6 riot (December 9, 2021)
- Ron DeSantis wants to have his own private army. Because sometimes you just don't have time to call the Pentagon (December 5, 2021)