Florida has become the epicenter of the COVID epidemic in the western world thanks in large measure to Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID denialsim.
- On Friday, Florida recorded the most cases on a single day thus far during this pandemic with over 22,000 new cases.
- Florida has set a weekly record for ANY US state with close to 140,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the last week.
- Currently close to 13,500 Floridians are hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, another record.
DeSantis has been so bad at governing, so uncouth in his public behavior and so extreme in his rhetoric the last month, he’s making some of us long for the relatively moderate days of Donald Trump as the leader of the national GOP (I am only half-joking in saying this). DeSantis inspiration isn’t the weak-willed Trump who would change his mind based on who he last spoke to, but Hungarian Prime Minister* Viktor Orbán, who this week was playing host to Fox News host Tucker Carlson in Budapest.
Here is a summary of DeSantis using Florida’s pandemic crisis which threatens the health and welfare of EVERY FLORIDA CITIZEN to his political advantage in ways perhaps even the former guy wouldn’t be able to do.
- Blame immigrants for the COVID surge. Inspired by Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, DeSantis seems determined to turn Florida into a combination of Orbán’s anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, largely ethnocentric Hungary and a place of lawlessness and zero accountability like Venezuela.
- Attack “woke” local governments and use preemption laws to create a new “anti-Federalist” model which centralizes power in the hands of a Chief Executive (this is also taken from Viktor Orbán).
- Attack the “corporate” media for hating on Republicans, and “ordinary” Americans .
- Characterize unvaccinated and unmasked Floridians who are actually responsible for spreading the virus as victims of a liberal plot to make everyone conform to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s worldview.
- Push vouchers as a way to expand the culture wars and potentially re-segregate the public school system.
- Attack scientists and doctors as pointy headed elites pushing panic for political purposes
DeSantis’ culture warrior bona-fides were pushed this summer as he attacked any LGBTQ discussion, signed a bill that bans trans athletes in Florida (this will cost Florida business for sure)and made a big to-do over Critical Race Theory (CRT) having it banned in Florida schools. DeSantis wants Floridians to be taught fairy tales in history rather than develop any sort of critical thinking skills. Now with the COVID surge in Florida, which is deeply damaging to the state’s national and international reputation, the Governor is playing culture war politics while Floridians are getting ill and hospitalized in record numbers.
COVID is allowing DeSantis to quickly morph into the American Viktor Orbán. The end result will be continued disaster for Florida’s citizens.
*The article originally incorrectly stated Orbán’s title.