Florida governor and raging anti-education autocrat Ron DeSantis is still running for president. In recent weeks, the DeSantis campaign has run into some predictable problems: People don’t really care for his campaign, and it’s hard to generate the kind of money needed to keep a big campaign going when you aren’t nearly as popular among your constituents as the other guy.
Recent polling has shown that DeSantis’ posturing as a more savage version of Donald Trump has not worked. Never fear! The guy that showed the world that if you attack historically marginalized children and participate in Jim Crow-era voter suppression you will still get Republican votes in Florida has a solution: more of the same, but with a little bit of a DeSantis spin. DeSantis came out this week offering up the same things that pass for policy in the Republican Party: blaming “elites” while offering up nothing more than cuts to programs relied upon by people who aren’t elites. However, DeSantis is adding his own special version of QAnon-adjacent rhetoric as a signifier that he’s someone the MAGA base can count on.
During a barbecue in Rye, New Hampshire, DeSantis offered up a bit of the old ultraviolence when boasting about what he would do to the “deep state.” DeSantis told the audience he would start “slitting throats on day one.” What does that mean? I guess he’s not so much promising public executions as he is hinting at the kind of assassination techniques conspiracy theorists usually attribute to vague “deep state” actors?
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According to The Hill, this isn’t the first time DeSantis has used this harsh rhetoric. A few weeks ago, the Florida man spoke to Real America’s Voice (you can tell how far right this outlet is by how “real” and “America” it is) for an interview. Speaking about the need to completely change the Department of Defense (where this mythical “deep state” resides), DeSantis explained:
“You know, they may have to slit some throats. And it’s a lot harder to do that if these are people that you’ve trained with in the past or that you know. So we’re going to have somebody out there, you know, be very firm, very strong, but they are going to make sure that we have the best people in the best positions, and there’s not going to be necessarily prior relationships that would cloud that judgment.”
But the deep state isn’t the only target of his conspiracy theories and threats. DeSantis recently unveiled his 10-point “Declaration of Economic Independence” plan. It is basically the same plan as Trump’s. The Florida governor blamed big tech for the financial strains being experienced by the middle class. But before you go and call DeSantis a pinko, it is important to know that he wasn’t saying cutting taxes for the wealthy, taking away consumer protections, and not holding the richest corporations accountable helped lead to growing economic disparity.
No, DeSantis blames middle-class economic struggles on COVID-19 lockdowns.
“This was a major transfer of wealth, from middle-class people and small businesses, to a handful, maybe six or seven major corporations. You know, Apple’s market cap is $3 trillion now. Amazon, massive growth. Facebook, all these companies. You wonder why Facebook was censoring dissent about COVID lockdowns? Because they benefited from doing this.”
This version of MAGA-mollifying is the new normal for Republican candidates. The days of being able to simply say you don’t believe women should have rights (while not expecting to be held accountable) are over. DeSantis is simply one of the grosser iterations of this phenomenon.
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