Fascism expert explains why Ron DeSantis is one of the most dangerous men in the GOP

Fascism expert explains why Ron DeSantis is one of the most dangerous men in the GOP
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. William Buchanan)

An expert on fascism and authoritarianism is offering a brutal assessment of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), labeling him one of the most dangerous men in the Republican Party.

According to Business Insider, Ruth Ben-Ghiat —a New York University historian who authored the book, "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present"— explained why DeSantis stands to rise in popularity and how he differs from former President Donald Trump.

Speaking to Insider, Ben-Ghiat noted that while Trump may need to face prosecution for the purpose of accountability and saving the United States' democracy, DeSantis could take his place to push the radicalized Republican agenda as a "populist nominee."

"What we do find in history is prosecution, in the longer term, is one of the only things that deflates these guys' personality cults, because those cults are founded on the idea that they are invincible, they are infallible," Ben-Ghiat said. "Now, if that does happen to Trump — DeSantis has already absorbed all the lessons of Trump."

Ben-Ghiat has also penned a number of other pieces to lay out her arguments.

"He's clearly readying himself for a national run, whether it's in 2024 or later. And he's a very dangerous individual," Ben Ghiat said. "He's dangerous because he is equally repressive, but doesn't have the baggage of Trump. It's hard to have the baggage of Trump."

DeSantis' latest initiatives also support Ben-Ghiat's theory. Over the last several months, the Republican governor has backed some of the most controversial pieces of legislation, attacking the rights of members of the LGBTQ community. DeSantis has also waged war on Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Per Business Insider: "DeSantis has recently signed controversial bills like Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill — which limits teachers' curriculum around sexual orientation and gender identity in grades Kindergarten through third — and the
Stop WOKE Act, which restricts how race is discussed in workplaces, schools, and colleges. He also implemented an Office of Election Crimes and Security, rankling voting rights advocates."

Although DeSantis remains coy about a presidential run in 2024, many political experts do believe he is laying the groundwork for a national run.

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