Democratic Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsom of California, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan shatter everything they touch. Ron DeSantis, conversely, seems to get everything right. The Florida Republican has emerged as America’s governor.
“We’re standing with our folks. We’re going to do the right thing. We leaned into it, and we stood strong,” DeSantis told Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently.
Rather than snip a tax, kill a regulation, and then doze off, as too many Republicans have done, DeSantis is a tireless, full-spectrum conservative. He has authorized a host of economic, cultural, and law enforcement initiatives that are buoying Florida and transforming him into the Great Right Hope.
• In his first two months in office, DeSantis cut taxes by $335 million and led a “Florida Deregathon” that cut red tape, especially occupational license requirements.
• DeSantis’ nominees replaced three state Supreme Court justices who reached 75, the mandatory retirement age. The court shifted from four liberals and three conservatives to one liberal and six conservatives.
• DeSantis’ COVID-19 response enraged the Lockdown Left and cheered pro-freedom conservatives. He shunned mask mandates, was among the first governors to reopen his state for business, continued in-person learning, shielded seniors from COVID-19 carriers (Cuomo did the reverse, and 15,000 elderly New Yorkers died), and delivered below-average infection and fatality rates.
• DeSantis signed legislation that requires prison for rioters. He also penalized cities that defund their police.
• Florida tabulated 11.4 million ballots and reported reliable results on election night 2020. DeSantis subsequently signed a new election integrity law.
• DeSantis approved legislation to protect girl power in public school sports: Among female competitors, penises no longer are permitted as athletic gear.
• In June, he urged Florida’s state school board to kill critical race theory on campuses. It did—unanimously.
“There’s no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory,” DeSantis declared, leaping intrepidly into America’s most incendiary controversy. “Teaching kids to hate our country and to hate themselves is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
While DeSantis battles this rattlesnake venom that un-American teachers unions, school boards, and other cultural Marxists are pumping into government classrooms, he also supplies the antidote. “I put in a civics requirement for high schools in 2019,” DeSantis said.
“We want all students to understand the difference,” DeSantis told journalists on June 22. “Why would somebody flee across shark-infested waters?” DeSantis asked, referring to Cuba. “Why would people leave these countries and risk their lives to be able to come here? It’s important that students understand that.”
HB 5, the relevant legislation that DeSantis signed, also creates a “Portraits in Patriotism” library that showcases, as he explained, “real patriots who came to this country after seeing the horrors of these communist regimes.”
As early as late February—as masked Manhattanites dodged microbes and snowflakes—Orlando, St. Petersburg, Palm Beach, and Miami offered abundant sun rays, vibrant establishments, smiling faces, and hope. I extended a one-week trip into an 18-day mini-snowbird experience that epitomized individual liberty and human flourishing.
“Back to East Berlin,” I lamented, as I flew home to Gotham.
Palm Beach and Miami were even livelier in June.
Democrat governors could learn plenty from DeSantis. All of this has helped Florida earn two additional U.S. House seats in the new census, as internal refugees flee Democrat-run states to enjoy freedom, fair weather, and nonexistent state income taxes. They should leave their voting habits behind, lest they elect Democrats who, like termites, would feast on all that DeSantis and the Floridians have built lately.