Why Ron DeSantis is just Barry Goldwater 'rebooted and updated for the digital age': ex-congressional aide

Why Ron DeSantis is just Barry Goldwater 'rebooted and updated for the digital age': ex-congressional aide

Although Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has yet to announce his 2024 presidential campaign, The Daily Beast writer Rotimi Adeoye argues in a recently published op-ed America has seen his campaign before, nearly 60 years ago.

The former Congressional aide and voting rights organizer highlights a striking similarity between DeSantis' "anti-woke" ideology and the "radicalism" of Barry Goldwater in 1964 — only now, the ideas have been "rebooted and updated for the digital age."

Adeoye writes, the then-Republican senator representing Arizona, "was the most vocal" against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, adding, "like DeSantis," the late GOP lawmaker "embraced the extreme underbelly of the conservative movement," by claiming that same year, "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis signs six-week abortion ban into law

The striking resemblance, the voting rights advocate warns, is why "every American must grasp its origins" — otherwise — the country will fall prey to DeSantis' "insidious attempt to hijack the very essence of a United States that has evolved and surreptitiously drag it back into the clutches of its past self."

And despite the fact many political leaders have expressed doubt that the governor can secure the 2024 GOP nomination — and The Washington Post reports Goldwater "suffered a resounding defeat when he ran for president" in 1964 — Adeoye insists "it should concern every American that this toxic and backwards ideology has once again found a place of prominence in today's politics."

He continues, "A DeSantis administration could undo decades of good work from visionary leaders, dedicated organizers, and impassioned citizens who fought to create a more equitable American way of life."

Adeoye writes:

DeSantis practically word-for-word copies the radicalism of Goldwater, as he forcefully opposes government intervention in the realms of civil rights and American education.

Strikingly reminiscent of Goldwater’s agenda, DeSantis harbors an unhinged inclination to dismantle vital components of our education system that are designed to equip students with the skills necessary to thrive within a multiracial democratic society. A glaring testament to this ideology unfolded earlier on May 15, when DeSantis wielded his pen to enact a bill that unapologetically banned the teaching of programs centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within Florida public universities.

READ MORE: Chris Hayes decimates DeSantis’ 'dystopian' hypocrisy: 'The opposite of freedom'

In his book, The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater wrote, "In our anxiety to improve the world and insure progress we have permitted our schools to become laboratories for social and economic change."

The writer emphasizes DeSantis' rhetoric "is a derivative, unremarkable offering that follows a familiar and predictable conservative script," adding, "It's a recycled playbook, devoid of originality or fresh insights. The so-called 'DeSantis Doctrine' lacks transformative ideas, it's a merely repackaged conservative ideology from the past."

READ MORE: 'This isn’t freedom!' Joy Reid says DeSantis’ policies will never succeed on a national level

Adeoye's full op-ed is available at this link (subscription required).

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