How much damage can Florida Governor Ron DeSantis inflict on himself before it finally costs him his career? That’s a question that we’ve been wondering about all year, and one that DeSantis now appears intent on answering.
DeSantis just keeps compounding his errors. It was dumb of him to take a position against school mask mandates to begin with, because the resulting massive spread of COVID Delta variant in his state has turned out to be hugely unpopular; polls show that most Floridians are in favor of school mask mandates. It was even dumber of him to threaten school districts who dared to defy him, because several did, and it made him look weak when he wasn’t able to punish them for it.
But when DeSantis lost the first round of the school mask battle in court last week, it should have been a big enough hint even for him. It was well past time for him to pull the plug on the battle, stop talking about it, and hope everyone ended up forgetting he was on the wrong, unpopular, and losing side of it. But DeSantis just isn’t that savvy, and so he let the battle linger until yesterday, when a judge permanently ruled against him on school masks.
Now DeSantis has the stench of losing all over him, and it won’t be easy to get off. But of course he comes from the Trump University school of “keep doubling down on a position no matter how unpopular or untenable it becomes,” and so he’ll likely continue fighting the school mask battle in court, and likely continue losing.
The longer Ron DeSantis drags this battle out, the fresher it’ll be in the minds of voters when he’s up for reelection next year. The polls say Floridians are already souring on him. And of course his overall negligent approach to COVID is only going to keep driving his numbers lower as his state gets sicker. DeSantis’ back is now firmly against the wall. We’ll see what dumb thing he does now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report