What is Ron DeSantis Doing to Florida?

Activists at the Miami Beach Pride Parade protest against as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill | Source: NyMag
Activists at the Miami Beach Pride Parade protest against as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill | Source: NyMag

The Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has replaced former President Donald Trump with Floridian supporters. During Trump's run in 2020, the state was almost equally divided between red and blue. However, Trump ended up winning by almost three points. DeSantis has claimed the power of the people in Florida, surprising many citizens with his 20 percent more votes than his democrat, Charlie Christ. He has introduced the state of Florida to another way of living; through conservative policies and governance, we can safely say Florida is on its way to becoming a red state. 

Although DeSantis won governor by a small margin in 2018, his election in 2022 proved easy. His policies have raised much debate and controversy as they have followed a path of extremity, and albeit a small percentage of some Florida residents are anticipating the state to become somewhere they don’t want to live anymore. DeSantis’ policies received legislative backing from the state congress, further enabling his discriminatory actions and policies. 

Governor DeSantis passed the “‘Parental Rights in Education’ Bill” (better known as the “‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill”) in March 2022. This bill states, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” The LGBTQ+ community in Florida and all over the country are livid; the equality they have been attempting to reach has been diminished with this bill. LGBTQ+ youth are already at higher risk for self-harm and suicidal thoughts; 42% of the community considered suicide in 2021. Classrooms in Florida will become places of repressed feelings and infringe on children’s rights. This bill was just one of the extreme policies he supported and eventually, put in place. 

This year, DeSantis rejected the new AP (advanced placement) African American Studies class created by College Board. He issued an order that banned schools in Florida from having DEI lessons or learning about race. DeSantis has also signed a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks and criminalized various forms of peaceful protesting. In 2021, DeSantis reopened schools after multiple lockdowns across the country and banned face mask mandates in businesses and the government. The governor believes “healthy children under 18” do not need to receive the COVID vaccine, nor males aged 19-39. His policies and opinions have conflicted with the CDC’s advice amid lockdown and progressive movements aiming to achieve equity and inclusion. Because of this, many democrats believe that Florida may be a lost cause. 

Democrats across the nation have decided to put their effort into other states since DeSantis has been in office, already skewing the state to the right from lack of democratic support. Democratic government officials believe Florida has been skewing right for decades already, especially without the proper funding for democratic groups. Still, DeSantis has propelled the country to an intensity of conservative views resulting in the influx of votes for the governor. The question is, why are more people in the state in favor of such conservative ideas? 

The Florida community holds many retirees and older generations who tend to vote conservatively. The conservative government officials in Florida have also advertised their side strategically to gain more Hispanic voters in elections. Trump used a tactic to have Hispanic residents think that President Biden’s “socialist ideas” could be measured up to the same as past dictators in South America(ex: Fidel Castro and Hugo Chàvez). As some of these residents fled to the U.S. to get away from this type of dictatorship, it turned them off Bidens campaign and plans.  

DeSantis is now planning on running in the 2024 presidential election. Although he has not entered the contest yet, it seems as though many Florida residents support DeSantis running for President. It seems as though he already has a majority vote in Florida.


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