Tag: ron desantis
Ron DeSantis

Republicans Do Have Policy Ideas For 2024 -- They're All Just Terrible

Republicans are heading into a 2024 election where their only policy is whatever Donald Trump said in his latest social media post. Being totally dependent on the passing whims of a single mercurial and vindictive leader is not a great position for any political party. But for Republicans, this might actually be a good development.

Not because Trump is anything less than a monster. But because, while Republicans do have ideas, they’re all terrible ideas.

No place illustrates that better than Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis is just starting to realize that his book bans are a total disaster. This cornerstone of anti-woke policies, which was eagerly adopted by Republicans in school districts nationwide, has led to such ridiculous levels of censorship that it’s now under attack by Ron DeSantis himself.

After DeSantis signed a bill that allowed anyone, even people from outside the state, to force schools and libraries to remove books or face criminal consequences, the state became America’s book-banning leader. By last fall, Sunshine State schools had more than double the bans of runner-up Texas and accounted for 40% of book bannings nationwide.

It’s become bad enough that DeSantis has finally recognized that those tagging books for removal were “intentionally depriving students of rightful education by politicizing this process.” But of course, it was an explicitly political process from the start.

DeSantis is speaking out against provisions of the bill he signed, like those that allow a single person to flag an unlimited number of books. But DeSantis is still insisting that many of those bans are “appropriate,” and he doesn’t seem to be talking about repealing the part of that same bill that made it a crime to use someone’s preferred pronouns.

Even if DeSantis gets Florida to back off slightly on the book bans, Republicans there are still hot to take up the critical issues of outlawing pride flags and preserving Confederate monuments. And if that’s not enough, the Florida commissioner of agriculture is attacking the United Nations for “woke” and “left-wing” policies that try to help the environment.

Republicans spent much of the last two years declaring themselves “anti-woke,” attacking trans people, and trying to chase down programs that encouraged diversity and protected the environment. But elections in both 2022 and 2023 have shown that voters don’t like these policies.

That even seems to be true of Republican voters, with poll results last fall showing that this was all a big meh, even on the right. The economy matters to Republican voters. National security matters. But “anti-woke” barely moves the needle.

The same has been true for corporations that tried to leverage anti-woke politics to ditch diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts or environmental policies. A study from November found that shareholder support for anti-ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) programs was “essentially nonexistent.” People don’t seem interested in investing in companies that are polluting, unfair, and out of control … which is nice.

But just because Republicans couldn't manage to make anti-woke happen, doesn't mean they don't have other policies that are just as bad. Or even that they’ve given up on woke. Because woke means anything they want it to mean.

For example, an Idaho state representative has declared that he is against federal funds for rural internet, because giving people in his state internet access is woke.

If they can't win on woke, Republicans can always go back to their sure winners, like the 14 states that refused money to feed hungry school children, the 26 states that refused additional federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic, a push to raise drug prices, and the brilliant idea to eliminate not student loan debt, but student loans.

Join Republicans in keeping Americans broke, hungry, uneducated, and unable to buy the medications they need! That’s a little long to fit on a yard sign, but they can workshop it. If that’s not too woke.

If none of that works, Fox News isn’t afraid to unlimber their anti-woke guns against the biggest target of all: Taylor Swift. According to Fox, Native American activists are worried that Swift could cost them a sacred part of their culture.

America’s most famous Chiefs fan right now, Taylor Swift, is being hailed by some as the great woke hope who can force the franchise to cave to charges of racism and end its "tomahawk chop" chant.

Republicans can surely put that near the top of the 2024 platform. Right above denying people the internet and right below “whatever Trump says.” Attacking Taylor Swift has been such a winning issue for them so far.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump and DeSantis

How Bad A Candidate Was DeSantis? He Flunked Charm School

What can you say about the guy? That Ron DeSantis was obnoxious? That he came off as weird? His failure to replace Donald Trump as the likely Republican nominee for president seemed preordained. His mistake was copying Trump's penchant for cruelty without absorbing any of the ex-president's talents as a performer.

When they were handing out the charm, DeSantis was off drowning kittens.

The apparent rationale for the Florida governor's campaign was that he would be right-wing like Trump without the baggage of having lost an election and supporting an insurrection. But then he broke into the Samsonite store and loaded up on a set of carry-ons, garment bags and a steamer trunk.

Leaders sometimes have to be tough. They have to put forth tough policies that some won't like because certain things have to be done. DeSantis made tough decisions simply because they looked tough. Worse, they were also stupid.

Exactly why he launched a holy war against Covid vaccines remains a mystery. He even mocked Trump for his program to fast-track development of the vaccine, one of the administration's few glories.

He said about Dr. Anthony Fauci, advocate of the shots and medical adviser to President Joe Biden, "Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac." He's quite the hombre.

DeSantis pushed through a law that forbids private companies from mandating that employees be vaccinated. In another intrusion into business decisions, he backed a measure to stop cruise lines from requiring that passengers be vaccinated. This is an industry that serves many older, medically vulnerable passengers and packs them in close quarters. And there was a pandemic going on.

The annals of American politics offer few equivalents of DeSantis' attack on The Walt Disney Co. Not only was the basis for it absurd; it wasn't even explainable. Disney's "sin" was publicly disagreeing with DeSantis on some piece of legislation regarding gay people. The governor couldn't let the company disagree.

He sent the lawyers after Disney, stripping it of an agreement that the state had made giving the entertainment company special status. The argument that it gave Disney unfair power could have been made, but this was a transparent act of revenge over nonsense. DeSantis imagined he had scored some ugly points by punishing the state's largest private employer, one that's associated with family fun.

He also seemed to think that the public enjoyed his threats against Miami hoteliers for letting drag queens perform on their private property.

In trying to squeeze to Trump's right, DeSantis leaves Florida with some of the debris. To win over a pro-life minority, he made abortion nearly illegal in that state. And that means the following: Middle-class Floridians wanting to end an unwanted pregnancy can obtain an abortion elsewhere. Poor or dysfunctional women, on the other hand, are being forced to have children that they don't want and can't afford.

Abortion bans have proven to be highly unpopular even in socially conservative states. Florida's cosmopolitan mix of opinions is undoubtedly even more supportive of reproductive rights.

DeSantis signed a law letting residents carry concealed loaded weapons without a permit. Just what Florida does not need, more lunatics walking around with hidden guns. DeSantis tried to gussy up the measure by calling it "Constitutional Carry."

You wonder whether DeSantis could even get reelected governor of Florida, especially if Democrats put up a breathing candidate next time.

Trump may be corrupt, treasonous, and losing his marbles, but he knows how to entertain his crowds, whereas DeSantis hasn't a clue. After pulling out of the race, DeSantis, of course, obediently endorsed Trump.

Perhaps he can use the freed up time to repeat some grades in charm school.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

What Haley's Late Iowa Surge May Portend For New Hampshire -- And Beyond

What Haley's Late Iowa Surge May Portend For New Hampshire -- And Beyond

While frontrunner Donald Trump appears to be on track to win the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been outperforming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a second-place candidate in New Hampshire. And a Suffolk University poll released on January 11 found Haley in second place in Iowa as well.

If Haley outperforms DeSantis in the 2024 Iowa Caucuses and goes on to outperform him in New Hampshire, it will validate her supporters' view that she is the GOP's strongest alternative to Trump.

In a report published on January 15, the New York Times' Nate Cohn explains, "Any show of strength for Ms. Haley could be significant ahead of New Hampshire. She had already pulled to within striking distance of Mr. Trump there before Chris Christie withdrew from the race. Historically, primary polling is extremely volatile, and the candidates who surge late often keep surging."

Cohn adds, "Ms. Haley might still need just about everything to go right, and a burst of favorable media coverage after Iowa would only help. If so — and no Iowan will want to hear this — the biggest consequence of Iowa might just be in New Hampshire."

The Times reporter stresses, however, that Trump, according to polls, is still way ahead of Haley in Iowa.

"Of course, even a Haley win in New Hampshire would still leave Mr. Trump as an overwhelming favorite to win the nomination," Cohn reports. "Her appeal is almost exclusively concentrated among highly educated and moderate Republicans and independents, who make up an outsize share of the New Hampshire electorate but will do very little for her elsewhere."

Cohn continues, "But with Mr. Trump's criminal trials still ahead, perhaps there is still a scenario, however remote, where second place in Iowa tonight turns out to matter more than we imagine today."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Ron DeSantis

Florida Republicans Seeking A Return To Full-Time Child Labor

Florida has the nation’s worst learning rate. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that in a state where dictionaries get banned from libraries and teachers get fired for using a gender-neutral pronoun, students go home with 12% less knowledge than the national average. However, Florida students are being protected from classical art and exposure to potentially gay Disney characters. So … thank you, Ron DeSantis.

But Republicans have a way to make sure that students no longer are forced to suffer through an inadequate Florida education. It’s called full-time labor during the school year. Also, the bill would reduce the number of mandatory breaks given to young workers. Because f**k those lazy kids who want a drink of water or to go to the bathroom. Learn to hold it, losers.

“Employers consider the entry level work of teens like jobs in hospitality, grocery, and retail to be ‘invisible curriculum,’” said Republican Rep. Linda Chaney, who introduced the legislation. So far as Florida Republicans are concerned, kids don’t need history, math, or science. They need to get into the real world and learn real lessons. Like how impossible it is to find a decent job when you don’t know any history, math, or science.

Florida is one of an astonishing 16 states that have introduced legislation to roll back child labor protections in the past two years. The bill introduced in Florida is trying to destroy limits that were put in place in 1913. Florida is legitimately trying to allow child labor at a level not seen since before World War I.

But according to Chaney, we’re not really talking about kids.

“This bill is not about children, this bill is about teenagers,” she said. “They’re 16 and 17 years old. They’re driving cars. They are not children. This is not child labor.”

Those people back in 1913 who wrote legislation that prohibited Florida employers from scheduling 16- and 17-year-olds for more than eight hours on school nights or more than 30 hours a week during the school year seemed to think teenagers were children. Or at least, not fully adult. How are Republicans ever going to make Florida great again if they can't make things worse than they were over a century ago?

Even the existing limits seem like an impossible burden for any student. Working a 30-hour week while attending full-time classes as a high school sophomore seems only a bit short of the backstory for a Dickens character.

“I think we’re wrapping our kids in bubble wrap here,” said Republican Rep. Jeff Holcomb.

Yes. Only allowing eight hours of work on a school day is coddling. Surely Holcomb did more than that when he was a kid and had to walk to school in snow, uphill both ways, back when Florida had snow. And hills.

Except he didn’t. Because there was a law. There was a law that protected every single one of the Florida legislators now trying to strip protection from children. Excuse me, teenagers.

The Florida bill, like this one from Indiana and those introduced in several other states, is a clone of proposed legislation drafted by a right-wing think tank funded by billionaire Dick Uihlein. Uihlein, who has a net worth north of $5 billion, is the money man behind multiple right-wing bill factories.

Uihlein didn’t exactly work his way up from the bottom. He’s an heir to the Schlitz brewing company and the owner of what he claims is the largest “shipping supply” company in the nation. In other words, the man owns a lot of cardboard.

That he’s getting good service in Florida is no surprise. He provided $1 million to Ron DeSantis’ campaign and another $1.4 million to his super PAC. Uihlein’s wife gave DeSantis another $1.5 million. Uilein’s name may not be all that familiar, but according to Forbes he and his wife are the fourth-largest contributors to political campaigns, with total contributions over $190 million.

Even the money wasted on DeSantis could be a good investment if Uihlein gets what he seems to want in return: cheap labor.

Ready access to cheap labor has been threatened by Republican policies making it hard to hire migrant laborers who formerly provided labor in agriculture, construction, and tourism. Now Republicans seem to be turning to treating America’s children as an alternative source of low-wage labor.

Opponents of the bill in Florida have correctly pointed out that the legislation, as written, has no barriers that would protect young workers' right to continue in school. Employers could require work during the school day, forcing kids to choose between attending class or keeping their jobs. They could also require kids to stay for overtime on a school night.

But Republicans might not see that as a problem. After all, polls have shown that the more educated people become, the more likely they are to hold progressive views on issues. People with a postgraduate degree are more than twice as likely to consider themselves liberal than those whose education never went beyond high school.

What better way to ensure that never happens than by stopping those kids from ever getting through high school in the first place? This is what it looks like when the billionaire barons buy themselves a class of permanent serfs.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.