By Disha Chakraborty
On Wednesday, May 24, Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced his presidential primary campaign during a Twitter Spaces conversation with Twitter's CEO, Elon Musk. On his website, DeSantis stated that he wishes to run because “[he] want[s] to lead Our Great American Comeback” and that “[the] country is going in the wrong direction.” This announcement came after a long period of speculation of DeSantis’ presidential candidacy and period of controversy regarding his policy decisions as Florida’s current governor.
Under his governance, Florida has increased in the number of available jobs, causing unemployment rates to fall to 2.6%, over 1% lower than the national average. This has contributed to Florida being a top destination for migration from other states. Ron DeSantis is known for his right wing ideologies, contrasting to those of New York’s governor Kathy Hochul who is known for far leftist ideas.
DeSantis has imposed several controversial bills; since he came into office in March 2022, Disney’s CEO openly criticized Florida's Parent Rights in Education Act, often referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” act. This law banned the sexual orientation and gender identity conversation in schools for students in grades four through 12.
This act has been heavily criticized by the public, as well as DeSantis’ decision to remove special privileges given to the Walt Disney World theme park to govern themselves and special tax jurisdictions. Disney’s government district went to the state, which was run by a five member board of supervisors appointed by DeSantis, provoking Disney to file a lawsuit against Ron DeSantis stating that what he is doing is a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power.” This decision by DeSantis has led him to be attacked by other members of his party, including Donald Trump.
Source by Rachel Houng
As the public responds to DeSantis' scandal with Disney and "Dont Say Gay" bill, politicians call out his decision to run in the 2024 presidential election.
“I think the stuff he is doing to many minorities is questionable. No matter what you believe in, everyone has the freedom to do as they please, so banning the rights of queer people is a bad move,” sophomore Rachel Jacob said.
DeSantis has also been adamant on creating stricter immigration laws. On May 10, he signed Senate Bill 1718 which makes it mandatory for employers with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify to check if all employees are eligible to be in the workforce with a fine of $1000 for each day that a company fails to do this. In addition, it prevents local governments from issuing IDs to illegal immigrants, invalidates ID cards from illegal immigrants from other states, requires hospitals to provide costs of healthcare to illegal immigrants and invalidates drivers licenses from other states for illegal immigrants. Although the bill is to be passed on July 1, the effects of this bill have already come into effect as Florida is now experiencing a workplace shortage due to worker strikes and workers considering moving to different states in fear of deportation. Videos on social media have gone viral showing farms and construction sites void of workers as much of these industries are dependent on migrant labor.
“It's embarrassing that American politicians are so comfortable removing rights from their people,” freshman Leah Del Orbe said.
Overall, DeSantis’ policies have sparked both support and criticism, making him a significant contender in the 2024 presidential primaries. His running term and future campaign will continue to raise debates on issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, immigration and government overreach.
“If he runs our country the way he runs Florida, I’m moving to Canada. No matter what side of the political spectrum you are, it’s obvious that his actions are too extreme and cause direct harm to many communities in Florida. Many of my friends from Florida are all planning to move out for college just because of him, and the rest who aren’t fear for their lives on a daily basis. I just don’t think a good president is one whose presidency results in things like that,” senior Ethan Chun said.