DeSantis critics question his ability to use Florida as a national 'blueprint' in 2024: report

DeSantis critics question his ability to use Florida as a national 'blueprint' in 2024: report
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To his avid supporters on the right — a group that ranges from author Ann Coulter to the Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the GOP's best chance to move on from Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election. But DeSantis skeptics, who include Never Trump conservatives like former GOP strategists Rick Wilson and Tim Miller, don't share their enthusiasm.

The Lincoln Project's Wilson, who lives in North Florida, doesn't believe that Republicans are ready to move on from Trump. Wilson has predicted that when all is said and done, the GOP will "bend the knee" to Trump in 2024 and give him the nomination. As Wilson sees it, Trump's legal problems will inspire Republican primary voters to rally around him.

The Bulwark's Miller, meanwhile, views DeSantis as a divisive figure and has expressed doubts about his ability to win over swing voters outside of Florida.

READ MORE: Why 'anti-wokeness' may not be Ron DeSantis’ panacea: researcher

In an article published by The Guardian on April 10, journalist David Smith emphasizes that DeSantis and his followers would like to use Florida as a political "blueprint" for the rest of the United States in 2024. But the reporter notes that DeSantis is not universally loved in other states.

"While former U.S. President Donald Trump labors under the frayed slogan of 'Make America great again,'" Smith reports, “DeSantis is building a case to 'Make America Florida' — a phrase that appears on caps, flags and other merchandise…. If and when he announces a run for U.S. president in 2024, he will claim that he can repeat the formula in state after state across the U.S. Florida, his theory goes, is an incubator of conservative ideas that work."

Smith adds, "He dangles a carrot to Republicans who, weary of Trump's losing streak, are seeking a savior…. But the governor's critics question whether his fixation on culture wars — 'Florida is where woke goes to die!' — is quite as popular as it seems. They also contend that, with numerous climatic, economic and social problems, Florida is not quite the paradise that DeSantis likes to portray."

One of those critics is Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Florida), who views DeSantis as an authoritarian.

READ MORE: Florida parents consider fleeing the state over 'horrifying' DeSantis threat to eliminate AP courses

Frost told The Guardian, "What we're exporting out of Florida is fascism. For him to sit there and say, 'Oh, yeah, my bill on banning trans kids from talking about who they are is now equated to a top education system' — it's just a bunch of bull****, to be honest. Most Floridians hopefully will see through that."

Another DeSantis critic is Brandon Wolf, press secretary of the gay rights group Equality Florida.

Wolf told The Guardian, "He's selling a blueprint for hate and bigotry. Ron DeSantis is being honest about one thing, and that is that he is trying to sell the snake oil of his authoritarian tactics in Florida to the rest of the country…. Leaning into the culture war issues was successful for him, and the challenge that I pose to that is ask any everyday Floridian: what are the top five things keeping them up at night? I guarantee you, they're not going to say someone in a wig reading 'Red Fish, Blue Fish' at the library. The question of 'has Florida been wildly successful' is best posed to people who are kept up at night by the cost of housing, the potential for dangerous storms."

On January 24, DeSantis received a cold reception from a crowd of Philadelphia residents when he was in town to receive the Union League's gold medal. Local Democrats, including State Sen. Vincent Hughes, argued that someone with an anti-Black, anti-gay track record was undeserving of that award.

Danielle Deiseroth, interim executive director of Data for Progress, sees DeSantis' emphasis on culture-war issues as a major liability outside of Florida.

Deiseroth told The Guardian, "In terms of DeSantis positioning himself for a potential presidential run in ’24, which seems all but certain at this point, these extreme policies are going to alienate a lot of voters right off the bat. Women in particular were one of the groups most opposed to many of these policies."

READ MORE: Forget Jeb DeSantis. Donald Trump is the Republican Party

Read The Guardian's full report at this link.

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