WHO IS Ron DeSantis?

What to know about the politician who could carry out all of Trump’s far-right ideas.

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the future presidential hopeful for normal guys like Joe Rogan and Elon Musk, is up for re-election in Florida’s gubernatorial race.

If he secures a win, his next move could be president in 2024, but he’ll have to beat his old buddy and former steak salesman Donald Trump to secure the throne.

So who is Ron DeSantis?

He’s calculated, he’s smooth, he has a military background, he has credentials from two Ivy Leagues, and he looks like a country club. But how does he operate?

Well, he recently proposed and succeeded in pushing through a controversial redistricting plan that dismantles Florida’s 5th District into four new districts. The problem is 46% of the 5th District’s voting-age population is Black. DeSantis’ plan will severely dilute the share of Black voters in the new districts, threatening their collective voting power and conveniently skewing the blocs to Republicans’ favor.

But this wasn’t his state’s first brush with stripping power from the people. In 2018, after Florida approved a ballot measure allowing many individuals with prior felony convictions to vote, DeSantis signed a law that would require those people to pay off all their court debts first. While 1.5 million previously barred felons may have had the chance to register, only 50,000 actually did.

He also signed a law that bans school teachers from instructing kindergarten through third grade students about sexual orientation and gender identity; he signed another law called the Individual Freedom bill, a.k.a. the “Stop WOKE ACT,” which prohibits workplace training and school instruction on critical race theory — in practice, this involved banning the discussion of the history and ramifications of oppression, racism, and inequality in America.

If DeSantis can oust Trump as the Republican Party’s nominee in 2024, all of Trump’s far-right ideas will still have won, but they’ll be carried out by a more competent, calculated, and capable legislator, who doesn’t succumb to distractions like cable news, golf, and nuking hurricanes.