Disney episode show DeSantis downfall could be down to his faith in his own instincts

Ron DeSantis operates more on pure instinct and feel than any high-ranking elected official I have ever seen in my life. Never before has someone been so convinced of their own immortality that they reject all professional advice or polling data – but it must be said in the small pond of Florida politics, which is filled with grifting consultants in both parties and a general lack of worldliness and critical thinking skills, DeSantis has thrived. Because the bottom line is, he is smarter than most that do politics professionally in this state.

But Florida is not the United States of America, and Disney is not a typical low-level Florida politico that grifts through life.

DeSantis is now getting a taste of the big leagues. Disney outfoxed DeSantis, because the Governor was asleep at the wheel, since it had been all too easy to beat Florida politicos. Now DeSantis’ anger at Disney is creating a situation where he sees attacking the media giant as a winning national political strategy – but it is not. It’s not a loser either, it’s just the average joe, the very voter DeSantis has sought to win over with his faux populism, does not really care about Disney one way or another. There is no “Anti-Disney” constituency in American politics unless you are trying to cater to executives at rival media companies (Maybe this is DeSantis play? He is among the most pay-to-play, transactional politicians around, so maybe he’s hoping Paramount or NBCUniversal or some other rival media giant throws in with him? It is doubtful though given DeSantis’ general view of legacy media, but you never know.) 

Quite frankly putting tolls on the roads within Disney is insane – the condition of Disney roads and the lack of tolls on them (unlike in neighboring Osceola and Orange County) is one of the reasons Disney has always a good venue for large meetings. Other punitive actions DeSantis has been spouting out just sound like a bitter child jilted when toys were taken away. 

What has transpired also speaks to the lack of competence of those around DeSantis – Disney’s move was done in the light of day, complying with both the law and transparency requirements that this state has, thanks to the progressive Golden Age of Florida Politics from the 1970. Disney, whose presence in the state helped fuel the progressive era of the 1970’s and early 1980’s, knows Florida law and its applications better than DeSantis himself does. 

Photo by Benjamin Suter on Pexels.com

As much as we don’t like DeSantis on policy matters, we’ve always felt his political instincts tended to be on the money, particularly in terms of the Florida electorate. But now after a month or more of flailing around on the national stage, looking rather amateurish in the process, the Governor seems less sure of himself than anytime since his short bid for US Senate in early 2016. The Disney situation speaks to that. 

What the Disney reaction the past two weeks from DeSantis also shows, is that despite being considered more disciplined than Donald Trump, personal emotion guides much of his rhetoric – and unlike Trump, he doesn’t have political professionals around him that have enough influence to reign him in.

Believe it or not, and yes this is inside baseball, Trump has a cadre of loyalists some of which are quite savvy politically. Unlike DeSantis, he hasn’t run off the people who could help him the most. And ironically, some of those DeSantis have run off, (because again the Governor’s circle is very small and basically limited to family), and have landed on team Trump. 

The Disney saga won’t be DeSantis undoing, but it’s another sign his touch is slipping and he’s not ready for prime time.

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