Ron DeSantis

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DeSantis's happy face.

Ronald Dion "Ron" DeSantis (born September 14, 1978) is Governor of Florida and a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for U.S. President in the 2024 election. Looking like a cross between a crooked policeman and a nightclub bouncer, DeSantis is up against an alliance of Antifa, the Democratic Party, and the Disney Corporation — but first would have to beat the big orange elephant in the room: Donald Trump.

DeSantis made his name as a culture warrior, a "DeSanitizer", vowing to rescue America from a rabid horde of drag queens and make Little House on the Prairie compulsory reading for everyone up to the age of 30. DeSantis set out to box in Showman-in-Chief Trump on the right flank.

A Happy Meal[edit]

Ron DeSantis's two role models both exuded optimism and cheer.

DeSantis was conceived after his parents enjoyed a Happy Meal at the local McDonald's in Jacksonville, Florida. DeSantis's parents said they named Ron after Ronald Reagan, not Ronald McDonald; and the "Dion" part honors male singer Dion "The Wanderer" DiMucci, not Dionne Warwick. If they intended to encourage little Ronnie to become a singer, they were disappointed. DeSantis got a college education and saw the world as only the U.S. Navy can show it to you.

Runaround Ron[edit]

Graduating from both Yale and Harvard Law Schools in the early 2000s, DeSantis got to wear his starchy whites, on both left and right feet, as a legal advisor. The Navy assigned him to Guantanamo Bay, where he provided legal services to dozens of terrorists even though they had not been charged with any crime. He then got an assignment in Iraq, where they are in chronic need of American lawyers. What DeSantis actually did there has been redacted. One would guess that, if it had been anything more than journeyman lawyering, we would have heard about it.

Do Ron Run?[edit]

DeSantis had always leaned to the right, so he was a natural Republican by inclination. However, he fell in with the Tea Party movement, the acronym standing for "Taxed Enough Already", which is odd as Florida has no tax at all, except on sales of 30-packs and ammo and such. Being pro-gun, anti-abortion, and pro-military, he checked all three of the movement's boxes and, with its support, successfully ran for Congress from Florida's 6th District.

DeSantis was a rising star in Congress, joining the Freedom Caucus and falling in with Donald Trump. However, DeSantis did have an image problem. He looked like a cinematic heavy who would rip off a baby's head rather than kissing it. Nor was his speaking voice that inspiring either.

Governor of Florida[edit]

Trump's election in 2016 suggested America was going DeSantis's way. Yet his grim demeanor was a put-off. This is when Trump says DeSantis crawled to him begging for an endorsement from the Big Orange to become Governor. However he did it, DeSantis was elected the Sunshine State's Chief Executive.

War of the Woke[edit]

DeSantis turns up the heat on woke grade-school textbooks.

DeSantis saw that tax cuts and arming everyone over the age of three weren't quite enough. Politically defeating an opponent was relatively easy. DeSantis wanted to crush the Democratic Party and its allies for good. His battleground would be "woke" culture. Like Humpty Dumpty, the word "woke" means anything DeSantis wants it to mean, which means any deviation from DeSantis's distinctly old-fashioned culture. The ultimate goal was to pair Florida with the sister-state of Uganda, where gays are greeted with the death penalty.


Ronnie told Mickey, "Put up your dukes!"

Beating up wokies encouraged DeSantis to extend his cultural jihad to Florida businesses, remarkably including the Walt Disney Company despite a long history of political contributions and being the state's largest employer, at least of furries. DeSantis was trying to get "woke" out of Florida schools, while Disney was trying to get them to be as gay as a Marvel Comics movie. Eventually, Mickey Mouse and chums picketed DeSantis's governor's mansion.

To quote Donald Duck, "That's making it personal!" and DeSantis retaliated. It turns out that Disney World enjoyed a sweetheart deal under which it was essentially its own county, rather like a Florida Vatican. DeSantis got the Florida Legislature to end that arrangement and force Disney to deal with inspectors and wetlands commissions of the actual counties. (On their way out the door, Disney's hand-picked commissioners signed a 30-year contract to preserve the status quo, but the Legislature slapped that down as well.)

The conflict involved much more than pinking up Mickey; it raised the question: Who rules in Florida? A DeSantis victory over corporate power would position him as a populist champion. Victory isn't a done deal but, in the meantime, DeSantis's supporters are giddy about how badly the mere threat of it is upsetting Florida's liberals.


DeSantis's federal electoral success depends on Donald Trump being removed from the Game of Elections. DeSantis toured the U.S. in early 2023 to test the waters, and even to Europe, where thoughts of Trump's return to the White House sends leaders into frenzies of hair removal. Fox News has tried its best to puff up DeSantis, but without impact.

Trump, for his part, has already tried to squash DeSantis on a variety of fronts:

  • Various insults, a strategy that has always worked for Trump, and this time at least does not involve the size of certain organs.
  • Disparaging nicknames, usually "DeSanctimonious". The insults, by comparison, at least sometimes made sense.
  • Accusations that DeSantis in the past supported tax reforms that Trump in the past supported as well.

Once the back-and-forth becomes grown-up, DeSantis plans to argue against Trump's management of the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak, accusing him of guilt-by-association with Anthony Fauci, who has become a pariah of the right. This interpretation means that Trump is essentially a leftist. DeSantis, by comparison, locked down Florida, but reversed course by June 2020 on consultation with a Navy of other Florida lawyers. And Florida's cash registers are humming away.

Florida law states that, for a Governor to run for President, one must give up the Governorship. Except that Florida law is not a problem when you own the Legislature.

Let the debates begin[edit]

A comparable signature moment from a past debate.

"Nature abhors an open seat", and DeSantis faced the usual throng of candidates for an Oval Office not already occupied by a Republican. Several of these, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, ran for no conceivable reason except to bloody up Trump. When Trump boycotted the debate entirely (instead visiting Ohio and treating chemical-spill victims to pizzas), the also-rans turned their attention to staining DeSantis instead — a stirring battle to become Number Two.

If one studies the debate transcript, one finds that DeSantis ably defended himself. Only, no one ever does. Most Americans simply look at the pictures; and the picture emerging from the first debate was when the moderator asked candidates for a dippy show of hands regarding rescuing Trump from rogue District Attorneys. DeSantis's eyes darted right and left to the other candidates before he meekly raised his hand.

DeSantis assembled a cadre of big-money campaign donors to fund the usual team of consultants, who devised focus-group-tested things to say to win over arch-conservatives. No one knew whether he also had a plan to win over anyone else, after nailing down the nomination, or whether he would just clam up entirely. The nation never had to find out; the money dried up when the big-money boys began blanching at the "extreme" message — never imagining getting exactly what they had been paying for.

By September 2023, DeSantis was being compared to Jeb Bush, whose 2016 campaign mostly siphoned donations from other candidates whom voters might have warmed up to. But all this siphon talk merely made DeSantis suck harder. "I'll give you $2 gasoline again!" Alas, giving people gas was the essence of the problem.


Pundits look to the usual way America reconciles two intractable enemies with identical beliefs: One becomes the other's running mate. This would necessarily put DeSantis on what his former opponent Andrew Gillum would call the "bottom," as Trump outranks DeSantis based on prior "service." However, both lifetime New Yorker Trump and DeSantis, who belongs in a New Jersey job site, have chosen Florida as a residence of convenience, and the pesky U.S. Constitution says that a Trump/DeSantis ticket could not be voted for by Florida's own electors — which, after another year of snowbirds refusing to drive north for the summer, will number in the thousands. Both men have lived and died by the grudge, but neither will take it this far.