Governor DeSantis has attracted a legion of dedicated followers nationally. They claim they are conservative, but in reality follow their leader as meanders all over the political spectrum from hard-right, to hard-left with very few stops in-between. DeSantis is hard-right when it comes to cultural issues, with an ideology resembling the most fierce religious conservatives but on economics, he’s always ready to trade free market principles for performative art, attacking big tech and “woke corporations”, while restricting how companies can regulate their workplaces in this state and most recently, having his administration openly undermine the idea free speech when it comes to politics.
I have previously pointed out this ideology is shared by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Florida is being reconstituted along Orbán’s ideological lines. Like Orbán, DeSantis has perfected populism and as a result has a convoy of ready supporters and a lynch mob on social media ready to come after any reporter, activist or ordinary citizen who dare challenge the “dear leader.”
We have a new word to describe these folks – The DeSantistans*.
These folks defend DeSantis every move and hit anyone who opposes him even if they don’t really understand or care about the issue at hand. The performative art of DeSantis’ and his team it must be acknowledged is of the highest quality – and thus they have attracted the most passionate and loyal trolls to back them, or in strategic fashion, motivated trolls to attack others.
Ron DeSantis political ideology is simple – “own the libs.” But as many have of us who travel in progressive circles have found in recent years, many on the (faux) left like to “own the libs” as well and dedicate their public social media pages and podcasts to attacking Democrats, particularly Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris (hmm, I wonder why that is? Some of the same people have taken to attacking AOC and Elizabeth Warren also – again here the pattern holds).
It’s quite telling that I see very few of these folks, self proclaimed “progressives,” but really a faux left actually attacking or critiquing DeSantis or his type around the country. If they do attack Republicans, they stick to the traditional Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney or Adam Kinzinger types to attack (hmmm, again I wonder why?). If you want a cheat sheet on how these people think, check out the Twitter profiles of Florida-raised Glenn Greenwald, or Aaron Mate or Max Blumenthal.
Backed by his online lynch mob and enabled by a (faux) left that appears to believe leading liberal Democratic women and anti-MAGA Republicans are a greater threat to the Republic than DeSantis, the Governor ticks onward with great momentum, toward an inevitable reelection and Presidential campaign.
Those who back DeSantis openly and aggressively have created a momentum where the Governor can do or say anything to anyone (even school kids) and get away with it. Many national (faux) progressives obsesses on trucker convoys and creating a false equivalency between Putin’s Russia and the west, while DeSantis pushes repressive changes to reproductive rights, free speech and education in this state. Thus this group is aiding DeSantis as well. In fact, many of them talk about “wokeism” in the same way the DeSantistans do, framing a narrative that even if they don’t mention Florida or DeSantis, directly benefits him among people on the left.
In this world of DeSantistans and a faux left, those of us who want a progressive government that works for the people, and a Florida that attracts the best, brightest and most tolerant to our state are firmly on the back foot. It’s a terrible time to be a Floridian.
*Note this is not original, I saw that lapsed Republicans Charlie Sykes and Mona Charon of The Bulwark, began using it a few weeks ago and thought it was quite brilliant since they were describing the new devotees to Florida’s dear leader and thus I found it worthy of borrowing.