The world has moved beyond the paradigm of mid-20th century America, wherein only men work—and they make enough on a single-income, with little education to boot, to provide for a family of four. Those days are gone. They are unlikely to return.
Women now work full-time. In fact, middle-class families need to have both spouses working just to make ends meet. In America today, neither the poor nor the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. Instead, it is foisted upon an already-squeezed middle-class.
Therefore, it is time for politicians to lead us into policies that will protect this most vital element of our national economy—even if it means damaging the fortunes of those who purport to rule us.
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has already started recognizing the need, for example, to allow for new parents to spend critical developmental time with their newborn children.
In the state of Florida, DeSantis extended maternity and family leave for all Florida government workers. It’s a good start, especially in a state that is not known for its social benefits. But it isn’t enough.
As Ron DeSantis campaigns for the presidency, he is challenged by the orange hulk that is former President Donald J. Trump, for the Republican nomination in 2024. Trump is chronically awful when it comes to appealing to female voters.
This is why most people assume that, if Trump were to become the nominee, he’d have to choose a woman as his vice-presidential running-mate in order to appeal to at least some of the female voters in the country.
DeSantis should outmaneuver Trump by running to his left on certain social policies, such as paid family leave.
As governor, Ron DeSantis could institute a pilot program where all Florida employers are required to pay for a minimum of six weeks of family leave for when forming families have their children.
Under present conditions, working-and-middle-class families must blow their paid time off in order to have maternity or family leave. That’s gross and should be stopped immediately.
Instead, provisions in Florida law should be made to better protect newly forming families by giving them paid time off for family planning purposes. It’d be a hit across the board with voters.
By doing it in Florida, DeSantis would again be demonstrating his potency as a chief executive, he’d dispel rumors that his governorship has somehow been weakened by his bid for the presidency, and he’d outmaneuver Trump on an issue that is absolutely vital for working Americans today.
It’s not enough to say that the GOP is the party of life. Part of being pro-life should also entail the support of policies that promote healthy family formation. Parents need to be with their children when they are first born.
Our inhuman system of demanding recent mothers either use their PTO to be with their children before shuttling them off to daycare or else risk losing their jobs (or simply be unable to pay their bills), at a time when almost no American has sufficient amounts of money saved in the bank, must be permanently changed to favor the workers of America.
If DeSantis implemented such a program in Florida, or even hinted he was going to do that, he would instantly become more appealing to women voters and he’d help his fellow Floridians, most of whom support him as governor (and many of whom support his campaign for president).
Republicans generally fare poorly with women in general elections, which is why the GOP candidates need to abandon the ideological rigidity (and impracticality) of fundamentalist conservatism and embrace practical pragmatism that favors people rather than ideology.
Make paid family leave a requirement in the state of Florida—even if it means directing state funds into helping companies that need help paying for this policy. No more ideology. It’s time to enhance families by protecting new parents.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.