DANIEL VAUGHAN: Ron DeSantis And Conservatism's Winning Streak

 March 29, 2024

The Babylon Bee caused a minor stir when they ran a headline saying, "DeSantis Kicked Out Of Republican Party For Accomplishing Too Many Things." It was a minor stir because Republican politicians and their lackeys, who haven't accomplished as much, were feeling the heat this week while Ron DeSantis took multiple victory laps.

First, The Walt Disney Company settled its lawsuit against Florida and DeSantis. For a lot of legal experts, this was a surprise. You'd have expected this outcome if you read the columns published here.

In May 2023, I wrote that Disney was trying to use DeSantis as a mask for its own business failures. In August 2023, I wrote that Disney's woke ship was sinking, with expenses rising and profits hitting a skid. And then, in September 2023, I wrote that Disney was going to settle the cases because it couldn't afford to continue a political fight in which it won nothing legally and lost half its audience.

These pieces went opposite to the breathless coverage from mainstream media that believed DeSantis was doomed. Instead, Disney gave up and is backpedaling hard. Disney doesn't even have a legal victory to throw up as a fig leaf. They chose to settle and bury this news story.

But that wasn't the only legal victory for the DeSantis team. He followed that up with a decisive win over a lawsuit trying to strike down the congressional map he signed into law. Democrats tried arguing the maps were racist. The court unanimously struck that argument down and agreed with the DeSantis administration. The panel comprised two judges appointed by Republicans and one Obama-era Democrat appointee.

The decision was not what Democrats were looking for from the court. Politico described it as "a substantial victory for Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who muscled the map through Florida's GOP-controlled Legislature. The congressional map his administration crafted ultimately resulted in Republicans gaining four seats, helping the GOP flip the U.S. House during the 2022 midterm elections."

And with Florida increasing in population and moving away from Democrats, the decision makes the state even more challenging for them to win back. It's also another strike against Democratic election lawyers who are trying to move laws in their favor ahead of elections.

And yet, that's still not everything DeSantis was in the news for this week. The Florida legislature passed, and DeSantis signed, a law that allows property owners to evict squatters. In his speech, DeSantis referred to a New York City case where the homeowner was arrested when trying to get rid of squatters on their property.

Squatters are becoming a pervasive issue in places like New York and California as homelessness surges. The problem is so bad that even the legislatures of these states are seeking to change the laws, which are lenient for squatters.

In a speech, DeSantis said, "It was never intended that you could just go into some subdivision and break into a house and start living there and then all the sudden have all these rights ... What kind of a country is that? What New York does, what California does, Florida will do the opposite."

In essence, DeSantis is targeting and solving real problems everyone can see in the news. He is also defeating Democrats in court with better arguments or better political maneuvering. All the while, his popularity continues to climb in Florida.

When DeSantis dropped out of the presidential race, I wrote:

DeSantis presented Americans with an alternative vision of what America can be by pointing to his victories in Florida. Republicans chose to circle the wagons with Donald Trump. That's just where the party is right now. Until Donald Trump is incapable of running for office, it's where things will remain for the foreseeable future.

But DeSantis showed everyone that there's a conservatism beyond Trump that offers a bright future. And given his victories, he can prove that it's possible.

DeSantis is still racking up those victories. He's proving by sheer political will that conservatism exists and can fix the ills we see in society. Conservatism can improve our everyday lives. It has answers for the demanding problems of the day.

He's already surging into the next frontier by leading the way on social media regulation. Florida has the strictest laws on underage use of social media platforms.

Trump versus Biden will dominate the airwaves for the rest of this year because of the election. But if you look down south, DeSantis continues to lead by example and show everyone a higher standard we can achieve if we're willing to work hard for it.

That's noble, and I thank the governor for proving there's a way forward.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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