DeSantis Again…Sorry

I really hadn’t planned to write again about DeSantis–after all, the longer he campaigns, the worse he polls. Even in a field of distasteful alternatives, he’s unlikely to be the Republican nominee. But–as a Facebook meme recently put it–“Don’t complain about your problems. Some of us live in Florida!” 

DeSantis has succeeded at one thing: making Florida an example of what he and the MAGA GOP want to do to the rest of the country.

Let me begin by acknowledging that Florida insanity didn’t begin with DeSantis. Since 1987, the state has had a law forbidding cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than the state’s NRA-friendly firearms laws. The DeSantis administration has enthusiastically enforced that preemption–local officials have been threatened with $5,000 fines if they pass gun regulations, and a 2011 amendment that made it illegal to “mess” with gun laws–including discussion or resolutions by local councils.

When several communities filed suit against the portion of the law that penalized discussion, the DeSantis’ administration vigorously defended it and the state’s GOP-dominated Supreme Court upheld it.

It’s hardly news that DeSantis and MAGA Republicans are owned by the NRA. That’s been true for years. What is arguably new is the party’s abandonment of older “dog whistle” tactics in favor of out-and-proud bigotry.

DeSantis recently aired an anti-gay campaign ad that even some Republicans found offensive. According to Talking Points Memo, DeSantis attacked Trump for remarks TFG had made that–OMG!– seemed to be supportive of LGBTQ Americans.

The one minute and 13 second video starts off with a clip of Trump giving a speech at the 2016 Republican convention, saying, “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens.” That comes alongside a montage of photos, screenshots of headlines and tweets and two Trump clips where he seemingly shows support for the LGBTQ+ community.

About 25 seconds in, the video takes a bizarre turn. As the background music changes we start seeing a montage of photos and videos of Desantis alongside images of shirtless men with six packs and scenes from several movies with over-the-top masculine male characters, including the 2004 movie “Troy” featuring Brad Pitt as Achilles, one of the greatest warriors in all of Greek mythology.

The Log Cabin Republicans (a group I find mystifying)  found it homophobic, and several journalists called out the spot’s weirdness.

“Truly one of the weirdest videos I’ve ever seen a politician put out. Also, splicing images of DeSantis alongside images of shirtless and masked men… does not quite send the anti-LGBTQ message apparently intended,” New York Times reporter Jonathan Swan tweeted.

The New Republic also considered DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ advertisement, concluding that “even by GOP standards, it’s frightening,” and predicting that it would usher in an era of ever-more blatant GOP bigotry.

Pete Buttigieg, as usual, said it best:

“I just don’t understand the mentality of somebody who gets up in the morning thinking that he’s going to prove his worth by competing over who can make life hardest for a hard-hit community that is already so vulnerable in America.” 

Well, ugly people do ugly things. But nicer people can and do respond appropriately. As Robert Kuttner reports in The American Prospect,

Florida stands to lose massive amounts of convention business. Much of that lost business, ironically, is concentrated in places like Miami and Orlando, which don’t share DeSantis’s views. The latest to pull out is the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, which had planned a fall convention for Miami, and has now moved it to Chicago, incurring a stiff penalty from the hotels.

Planners tend to be liberals, but lots of groups far removed from politics want to disassociate themselves from DeSantis’s crusade. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) has moved its planned 2027 Global Surgical Conference & Expo from Orlando to Philadelphia. Around 7,000 nurses and exhibitors will no longer be helping the local economy. The organizers of Con of Thrones, a convention for fans of the HBO fantasy epic, canceled their Orlando convention, planned for the Hyatt Regency Orlando in August. The National Society of Black Engineers will also not be coming to Orlando in 2024, for a convention that would have brought 15,000 to the Sunshine State.

Kuttner identifies several other groups. He also distinguishes Florida’s situation from  the “bathroom bill” episode in North Carolina, where similar cancellations killed that measure.

In Florida, the culture war against LGBTQ people is purely a stunt by DeSantis, as the centerpiece of his national presidential campaign. It is hard to see how he might backtrack or compromise without looking even more like a lame opportunist…

The cancellations come on the heels of reports that Florida is also losing thousands of agricultural workers, thanks to DeSantis’ anti-immigration law.

So–don’t complain! You could live in Florida!


  1. Alas, I do live in Florida for seven months each year. I love the natural beauty. But the climate, both physical and cultural, is deteriorating rapidly. Rather than leave, I’m called to activism, but I applaud those who are voting with their feet. Organizations that are taking a public stand with their business dollars might help to persuade those folks who support the Republican Party solely to protect their financial issues, no matter who is the current standard bearer, that maybe something is backfiring. Doesn’t this remind us of RFRA years ago when conventions were pulling out of Indiana? And alas, that is where I spend the other part of my year. Too bad that Scandinavia is so cold. I hear that Malta is nice.

  2. Although I am no longer shocked by DeSantis and his proud and loud fascism, itʻs just sad and wretched for the people who live there that are not racist, rabid republicans. My friendʻs son-in-law got a promotion which required him to move to Florida, taking her only daughter and two grandchildren along with him. They are hoping to come home in a couple years and dreading an extension to stay longer in Florida.

    Florida sits squarely in the deep pockets of the NRA, and let that Zimmerman get away with actual murder via their so-called stand your ground laws. Now, itʻs even worse with the reckless new law allowing any paranoid or aggressive nutjob to buy and carry guns without any training, literally locked and loaded, ready to shoot whoever seems like a “threat.” Scary indeed.

  3. Regarding the regulations for acquiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Florida, the requirements are much stricter than here in Indiana. A person must demonstrate competency with a firearm, and that is usually accomplished by successfully completing a two day training course conducted by a certified trainer, and the certification most often comes from the NRA. And the course is pretty comprehensive, which is why other states will honor a permit from Florida.
    I only know this because we owned a home there for some time and I was curious about getting a permit to carry while there.
    I think that if other states were to require similar training, which involves safe handling, storage, and safe use as well as shoot/don’t shoot scenarios there would be fewer incidences of violence involving handguns, and I am surprised that the NRA will not support such measures. After all, it is their membership which can provide the training and information.
    The rest of what you say about DeSantis is spot on. the guy is a threat to democracy, as is the MAGA base.

  4. I have lived (full-time) in Florida since 1971 so I have a sense of what’s happening. As usual, the urban areas of southeast Florida have been financially supporting the State’s budget for half a century while the state has become increasingly Republican. Sadly I have met many of those who now espouse the MAGA perspective; they were Southern Democrats when that meant something very undemocratic and have turned to a more honest reflection of their world view. The post on Facebook was right…

  5. What price must people beyond the most vulnerable pay before they rise and demand … ENOUGH.

  6. James, you’re overlooking the part where Florida has passed permitless carry, just like Indiana. Yes, being able to demonstrate proficiency and knowledge of safety would be great, but the NRA wants fewer things to get in the way of gun sales, so…
    Meanwhile, how far will Florida’s economy have to tank before the citizens realize DeSantis is not just bad for business, but catastrophic, and vote him and his toady legislators out?

  7. I recently realized how nondescript DeSantis is, despite all of his presidential campaign hype after months of his state of Florida Fascism “leadership”; when seeing a picture of him I don’t know who he was till I find his name posted. He may out-“Loudmouth” Rev. Al with his rantings but as a man, he presents an unimpressive personage. He has accomplished the destruction of the reputation of the beautiful state of Florida as a dream place to retire and has dried up the Fountain of Youth; his oranges are by now probably as soured as the public is regarding his campaign foundation.

    “So–don’t complain! You could live in Florida!”

  8. The path Florida has taken should surprise no one considering the large percentage of its voting population that is made up of white, rich, spoiled, midwestern conservatives in their dotage.

  9. It’s not only the “white people that are voting in Florida for conservatism. It’s a lot of the immigration population that has lived in Venezuelan other parts of South America that are beginning to understand who DeSantis is. What I have a problem with is these people are changing their convention status, because they are political. A bunch of educators that are in planning for our kids are deciding to go to Chicago and put their selves in harms way. We can’t walk down an alleyway we’re asking for it are going to plan our kids future? Of course these people from the universities are politically minded. Liberals from university always have been politically minded. I mean this blog is from a professor who is politically minded? I’m just ribbing,ha.
    Yes, many people have a problem with DeSantis because of his conservative views . the NAACP, which is called the N double a L C P by so many people on the right I’m radio talk shows are pointing out that they have a problem with DeSantis and his conservative views, but have no problem with the Black Lives Matter movement, who is creating deserts in black communities through their disastrous riots, that they call peaceful The way I see it is no matter what side you’re on in politics you’re always gonna have somebody angry at you or upset with you and right now the voters in Florida 70 to 80% of them are alongside DeSantis and 780% of those that are in the House and senate of the state government are agreeing with DeSantis views. CNN saw Dade Miami County flip and become conservative and actually vote for DeSantis. I could see them actually targeting the people of Miami Dade for voting for DeSantis and his views. I would more except that then it just being a problem without the Santis.

  10. Voice texted that last comment NAACP means National ASsociation for the Advancement of And nothing more. Using N as a pejorative as a racial slur is never accepted, my apologies to thise who may read it thst way.

  11. DeFascist is using the state to punish Disney for speaking out over the “Don’t say Gay” law has not been going well. First of all I think Disney has better lawyers and defanged DeSantis’s changes with some up front maneuvering before the law went into effect. Secondly Disney has filed a case in Federal Court accusing the State of Florida that the punitive actions are a denial of their Freedom of speech. The funny thing is that with a pretty clear cut case it is scheduled to go to trial soon, like before November. DeSantis through the state Attorney General is asking to delay the trail date to at least December citing the fact that DeSantis has a full schedule until after the fall election. BS, DeSantis doesn’t want the court to tell him he’s violating the constitution until after the election.

  12. And don’t forget the OTHER fascist from Florida, Senator Rick Scott. This idiot is so corrupt and stupid as to cast shade and disgrace on all of the Florida voters who also showed their own stupidity and bigotry to elect idiots like this.

    Taking revenue out of Florida? You bet. But wait. Soon the sea level rise – that right-wingers all deny – will swamp Miami and, eventually, almost all of the state. What will the climate deniers do then, move to the “high ground” in Georgia?

  13. if you ever drive in florida,beware,they have the most aggressive drives per mile anywhere in the U.S. this isnt by just some chance,in one year i drove from fla, in one day,i had been cut off delibertly by a car while driving a loaded semi, because i was in a lane next to it,and she wanted the lane on the other side of me,this caused me to lockit up and damn near killed a few third parties. the she gave me the finger.. on ramp,land rover behind me,i was geared up past 60mph and they past me on the right shoulder,dirt flyin,and threw a bottle that hit my passanger door as they sped by,into traffic with no regard who was in the lane,causing others to brake hard.this was in one day. like any other days,if you cant do 90 stay off the florida speedway,,(tollroads) im sure the attitude fromthe goverment there is hohum. it allows people to act this way,and retaliates if you drive less than a cadilac. the past and now present seems to embolden its masses. i dont do florida anymore. most of the other SE states are also boycotted. my life is in peril in fla,driving a truck, and the HP seems to like targeting truckers. i asked one HP why? his dry answer, because we dont expect you to pull a gun on them when being stopped.seems this ment,anybody else would pull a gun..,…do the math..
    when a politician wants to change the game,and amass a deliberate hostile voice to remove rights granted to the citizen,its obvious,they want a dictatorship not a democracy.. desatin=dictator..

  14. Every one of Demented’s signature laws has led to court cases, since they clearly violate the constitutional rights of their targets. If the state’s lawyers can limit it to a state court, they will win, because ALL of the Florida Supreme Court are wrong wing political hacks. If it gets to federal court, it’s a toss up. If you’re going to take Florida to court, you need really good funding.

    Some enterprising reporter might find a Pulitzer in there somewhere.

  15. John S. Your post confused me. Are you criticizing people who stand up for their principles through political action? Are you using “political” as a derogatory descriptor for people you don’t like? Aren’t you political? Also, it is not BLM demonstrations that threatens black communities. I find that idea absurd.

  16. So I have lived F/T in Florididia for the last 4 years, and do feel less safe with the new permitless carry
    situation. I’m from the Northeast, originally, and have had to control the urge to flip at idiot drivers,
    because one never knows that that person is not a gun-carrying nut job, or just a fan of the NRA.
    Some nut job tried to run me off the road, on the Garden State Parkway, years ago, becuwe I had the
    temerity to honk at him.
    DeSantis looks like a proud looser, like the grandma with the “Proud Deplorable” tee shirt I’ve previously
    mentioned. Having been able to get the law changed so as to allow him to run for POTUS, and remain
    gov’r, he’ll probably seek away to have yet another term as gov’r.
    He only got to barely win his first time out because his rancid predecessor, Scott, was able to remove
    tens of thousands of people of color from the voting roles, and he’s using TFG’s policy of playing to the bigotry
    of the populace.
    Speaking of retired conservative mid-westerners here, I live among them, and find those I know to have loved
    them some TFG, and now this bigot.

  17. Three notes –
    1) News item in Science (thus short on details) – meta-studies of “open carry” and “stand your ground” laws lead to (or at least correlate with) more gun deaths; Child-proofing “lock your gun” laws had the opposite effect — but then on the MAGA scales, NRA is measured in tons, while science is measured in nanograms.
    2) I am still waiting for universities to stop recognizing diplomas from Florida high schools and graduate schools to stop recognizing degrees from Florida universities, although to be fair, only incoming freshman should face such consequences.
    3) John S dropped his sheep’s clothing to troll again – don’t feed trolls

    Sorry – one more – summary – if you support policies, be prepared to deal with ALL of the consequences – I boycott businesses and states (and support others) based on their actions – the professional societies I belong to do as well

  18. Speaking of Black lives matter,

    They are one of the most phony and ignorant groups I’ve run across! They claim that they’re only obligation is to talk about police misconduct but refuse to get involved with any political capital in the communities where gun violence is taking out hundreds of people a week.

    So, black lives only matter if they’re killed by police but black lives don’t matter if black folks are gunning down black folks in the communities where they live, is that correct? Maybe it’s not correct but that’s how it is.

    Black lives matter could actually try to roll back that vow of silence, for people who are protecting their own miscreants that are out there killing children and elderly in the streets. And then it comes out that the leadership of Black lives matter are involved in some serious financial shenanigans concerning the funding of their organization.

    But I suppose the faithless have to put faith in something!

  19. @John Peter Sorg

    Black Lives Matter is a movement, not a club with membership, so feel free to add to the movement. The founders, and leaders, from what I can tell, have decided to focus on victims of institutions, with the police being the main focus of violence from institutions, because there are many victims of law enforcement that do not receive justice, because far too many of those within law enforcement are not held accountable for their crimes. However, it has never been limited to only the police.

    As awful as black on black crime may be for a black person, the black person who commits the crime is usually held accountable for their crimes, where those in positions of power within institutions may not be. That is the distinction. Also, why no discussion of white on white crimes, as white people are most likely to be a victim of a crime due to another white person?

    Most people are victims of crime by people nearby, in their vicinity, and by people that know. Race is the not the main reason for committing the crime, blacks don’t usually single out other black people to commit crimes just because they are black. So trying to solve black on black crime by focusing on race is not going to get you very far, you have to instead look at why people commit crimes, the environments that crimes take place in, and then factor in whether or not criminals are held accountable for their crimes. Accountability matters too.

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