Many Republican candidates running in this November’s elections are defining their image in the light of all things Donald Trump instead of having their own thoughts. They are encouraged to be simple “yes” men and follow the Donald Trump Template to a T. One such candidate is Ron DeSantis, who has based his entire campaign on one tweet in which he was endorsed by Trump. When asked if he had any positions that varied from Trump’s stance, DeSantis answered in the negative.
DeSantis currently serves as a U.S. Congressman for Florida. His opponent for the Governor’s seat is Andrew Gillum, who is currently Mayor of Tallahassee. Gillum is considered one of many young Democratic rising stars who are looking to change the shape of politics in the face of modern challenges. Florida hasn’t had a Democrat in the Governor’s seat since 1994, so this race is garnering attention. In addition, no one needs an army of “yes” men across the nation, serving Trump, a man who listens to the advice of no one.
Following in Trump style, DeSantis made some nasty remarks about Gillum immediately after the primaries. He immediately threw integrity right out the window when he complimented Gillum on being “articulate” and then said “the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting this state. That is not going to work. It’s not going to be good for Florida.” Most people immediately caught on that this was code for racist smack talk and said so, but DeSantis brushed accusations of racism aside as “absurd.”
Gillum declined to engage DeSantis after his clearly bigoted remarks, and has made it clear he would like to focus on bringing communities together instead of using racism to divide constituents. New poll numbers show that Gillum is in the lead by five percentage points. Floridians are already speaking, and they don’t like what DeSantis is selling. Another factor in this race is that about 100,000 Puerto Rican residents were forced to move to Florida after Hurricane Maria devastated their lives and they were unable to get proper aid. Given Trump’s callous response towards the catastrophe, which had more casualties than Hurricane Katrina, those now living on the mainland have voting rights and will exercise them, potentially changing the trajectory of Florida’s politics in the years to come.