Ron DeSantis vs. Donald Trump: The culture warrior goes into battle


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Open conflict has broken out among the conservatives in the USA. Florida Gov. DeSantis challenges ex-President Trump. The prize awarded is the Republican Party. And the White House.

Another civil rights organization issued a travel warning for Florida over the weekend. It is no longer safe to travel to the US state. “Florida is openly hostile to African Americans, people of color and those who identify as LGBTQ+,” said the NAACP, which advocates for black people in the United States. She joined the announcements from Florida’s largest Latino civil rights, LGBTQ and immigrant organizations.

The governor responsible for this is Ron DeSantis. And now it’s official: he wants to be the next President of the United States in next year’s election. He announced his application on Twitter a few hours earlier submitted the required documents: “I’m running for President to lead our great American comeback,” he wrote on his first campaign spot.

Last fall, DeSantis was unequivocally confirmed for another term as governor. In the congressional elections taking place at the same time, he was one of the few bright spots for the party, which also lost a number of key races. She was particularly hurt that the Democrats in the Senate even expanded their majority. President Joe Biden emerged victorious.

Several extreme candidates who had been supported by ex-President Donald Trump also went away empty-handed. Nevertheless, he declared his application for the 2024 candidacy, and in polls, Trump is currently the lone leader among Republicans, well ahead of DeSantis. Anyone who had come up with similar values ​​at this point later became a candidate for their party. Externally, Trump’s influence on the conservatives is rock solid. DeSantis is a distant second. Instead of courting supporters elsewhere, the 44-year-old is still looking for a breaking point in the relationship between Trump and his base with his radical course.

Hard conservative course

DeSantis rebels against his former patron. In April, he ran his first TV spot in the election campaign – and in it attacked the governor. DeSantis is a politician by his grace, the advertisement conveys. After all, he would never have become Florida’s governor without Trump’s support. DeSantis said at the time, “I thank the President for standing by me when it wasn’t necessarily wise.” Now the 44-year-old is going against Trump in the primary campaign and wants to take over his party wing. A key to this are voters over 50 years of age. They make up more than 60 percent of party supporters. DeSantis recently signed a law intended to depress exorbitant drug prices.

So far, however, the governor has put a whole series of controversial, conservative laws into force. For example, there is the law, often referred to as “Don’t Say Gay,” which forbids children from kindergarten to third grade in elementary school to talk about sexual orientation. “Sexual indoctrination,” he called the previous practice. Since then, the governor has also been pushing a feud with the Disney group, which publicly opposed this regulation, through all instances. “There’s a new sheriff in town,” DeSantis boasted as he slashed Disney’s Florida privileges.

Or abortions. After the Supreme Court overturned the general abortion law, Florida introduced a hard-hitting abortion limit after the sixth week of pregnancy. DeSantis’ government will also severely restrict the employment of illegal migrant workers from July, impose a driving ban on them and make their treatment in hospitals more difficult. Last year, in a sensational media stunt, he had illegal immigrants flown out in two charter planes from the Republican-governed state of Texas to the 15,000-inhabitant island of Martha’s Vineyard in Democratic Massachusetts. The signatures of the 48 Venezuelans were obtained by DeSantis’ coordinator with fabricated brochures and empty promises from jobs. An investigation was then announced, it is unclear whether the procedure was legal. More importantly for DeSantis, it brought attention and a lot of applause for his heavy hand, which in this case reached as far as Texas.

Since April, DeSanti’s home state of Florida has allowed concealed weapons to be carried without official permission. “The Sunshine State becomes the Firearm State”, headlined “Forbes”. In October, a law is also scheduled to come into force that will lower the threshold for the death penalty lower than anywhere else in the USA: an 8:4 majority for a jury should be enough. Child abuse could then also be punished with the death penalty.

Front yard signs in the state of Iowa at a fundraiser for Ron DeSantis on May 13th

(Photo: AP)

The traditional battlefields of the Kulturkampf, such as abortion, immigration and gun rights, have been expanded by energy policy. Fossil fuels, from which many earn a good deal, should not simply be pushed out by renewables. beginning of the month banned Florida its public pension fund to invest primarily according to sustainability criteria called ESG. DeSantis called ESG a “perversion” and criticized companies for using their power to impose their “ideological agenda” on Americans. The law also prohibits the sale of such bonds.

Against the woken mob

Florida is “on the front line in the fight for freedom,” DeSantis said of his new laws. He positions himself nationally as a fighter for the righteous, who keeps the “woken mob” away from Florida and would do the same for the whole country as president. At a press conference, a reporter wanted to know what the Republican thinks about Trump’s vote-rigging allegations. “I think the Republicans have established a loser culture,” DeSantis concluded after mentioning the two lost elections. “There is no accountability.” Florida, on the other hand, has shown how to win clearly and then deliver politically.

DeSantis has been performing this rhetorical balancing act for months. The governor does not attack Trump head-on, but indirectly criticizes him as a loser, as someone who does not take responsibility. And he concludes: “Of course you have to win, otherwise you won’t get a ticket for the dance.” DeSantis is swinging his leg radically, wanting to take Trump’s place at the forefront of the culture war that conservatives in the United States are waging against change. And so in the future determine the “soul of the Republican Party”, i.e. the direction of content.

DeSantis emphasizes to donors that he is the only applicant who can win against Biden, US media write. Trump is currently ahead of the Democrats in polls, but lost the duel in 2020, and the congressional elections felt behind. DeSantis could bet on a domino effect: If he wins against Trump in the majority of the first primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, he could become his successor. In the party and on the Republican list in the White House.

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