Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is running for president in 2024.
Or, if his mentor and ally Donald Trump claims the Republican nomination, DeSantis will be happy to jump on board as a replacement for Mike Pence, who is ready to wage a culture war as profound as anything the United States has ever seen.
When it comes to exploiting racist and xenophobic dog whistles – and policies – no Republican on the national stage is more determined than the Governor of Trump’s adopted home to attack anyone willing to speak up about the ugly truth of systemic racism. Indeed, DeSantis is signaling that he is ready to purge what was once known as “the Lincoln Party” of elected officials who dare to claim that the abolitionist cause and the fight against segregation by Jim Crow – at the the Republicans played a central role – was a necessary response to continued white supremacy.
DeSantis seeks to position itself this week as the loudest champion of the recent Conservative Crusade: an attempt to deter public schools from giving students a full and honest history of the United States. For months, Republicans across the country have been trying to prevent schools from having lessons based on Critical Race Theory. Now DeSantis says he will move “to the top” in this fight.
The governor spat out a mixture of false premises to attack the idea that systemic racism influenced the laws of a country that first allowed human servitude, then imposed violent segregation, and is still a witness to brutal inequality today.
Even the most cursory examination of American history confirms the importance of the teaching that, in the words of the scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, tries “[grapple] with a history of white supremacy [and] that rejects the belief that what is in the past is the past and that the laws and systems that grow out of that past are detached from it. ”However, DeSantis rejects education that is shaped by critical racial theory and attacks schools who focus on systemic racism and white supremacy as “teaching children to hate their country and hate one another”.
This is a political move by a governor who dismisses the talk of treating systemic racism as “a pile of horse manure. ”But it is likely that it will have an immediate political impact.