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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis files for moral bankruptcy

A rainbow flag and Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis Campaign Staff, Supporters Allegedly Assault LGBTQ+ Activists

DeSantis, now a failed Republican presidential candidate, based his campaign on his bigotry. Look where that got him.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis turned the famous axiom “Nice guys finish last” on its head. He proved that mean guys could finish last, making all of us nice guys feel a bit better about ourselves.

To see the callous gay-basher drop out of the Republican presidential race was vindication, particularly for all of us in the queer community. He and his loathsome wife (who has given us Caseys a very bad rap!) now go back to what was once known as the Sunshine State with their tails between their legs. Devils have tails, right?

All the Monday morning quarterbacking about his withdrawal is citing strategy mistakes, money, and missed opportunities, but that’s not the reason he lost. He came across as a vindictive jerk, and voters responded accordingly.

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DeSantis and his wife took the sunshine out of Florida and tried to sell that darkness to the American electorate. The state became known as antigay, anti-abortion, anti-books, anti-trans, anti-school boards, anti-Disney, anti-critical race theory, and anti- just about everything else a free society embraces. The welcoming warmth of Florida turned exclusionary and cold, and DeSantis was quite proud of all the meanness he created.

He tried to sell all that venom on the campaign trail, and coupled with his disinterest and disdain for average, everyday people, it got him soundly rejected.

From all accounts, DeSantis was an atrocious candidate. He was unable to connect with voters. Came across as a brash know-it-all and often seemed generally creepy. Plus, many of the people he encountered thought he was just, well, mean. Even though he claimed to be a messenger from God in the most bizarre political ad ever that was virulently homophobic.

I still can’t get that image out of my head of the lightning coming out of his eyes! He was anything but lightning — or enlightening — when he boasted about visiting all 99 counties in Iowa. It gave Iowans an opportunity to see up close what a dud he was. “LOL” to that misguided strategy. I joked that he should have flown over the state from 30,000 feet since seeing Ron DeSantis up close is the worst thing you can imagine.

DeSantis approved laws and policies that affected children and their families, like “don’t say gay,” then extending “don’t say gay” through high school, and downplaying slavery, therefore whitewashing American history. He claimed to be empowering parents, but parents had nothing to do with those draconian measures.

Remember last May when the self-described clever DeSantis launched his candidacy with a fumbling mess of a Twitter announcement? Twenty minutes of nothingness was how it all began, DeSantis and equally smug Elon Musk fuming silently floating somewhere in the Twittersphere, or Xsphere now.

I wrote a column at the time, “Ron DeSantis and Elon Musk: Two Wrongs Make a Disaster,” and I predicted that the start of the DeSantis campaign was a harbinger of things to come and that all the hate he stirred up in Florida would come back to haunt him on the campaign trail.

He thought his recipe for success, being anti-everything, would sway voters; however, polls consistently showed that hate and anti-LGBTQ+ platforms were losing issues. Both House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and Democratic U.S. Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania told me the same thing. It was so obvious to everyone — except Ron.

DeSantis kept beating the hate drum up to the last debate when he weirdly said that Disney is “involved in transing kids,” conflating two of the things he most hates.

Just imagine the reaction of rational parents sitting at home watching DeSantis slam Disney with a word that doesn’t exist. No one in their right mind would agree that Disney was “transing.”

And no one in their right mind would take on Disney. But DeSantis did. He’s been nipping at the heels of the behemoth entertainment company, which is the state’s largest private employer and corporate taxpayer. And Disney is squashing him, in words and actions aimed at Floridians, reminding them that DeSantis is costing them jobs — and money!

Now it’s time to look ahead and watch DeSantis return to a state that has basically been shredded. Floridians elected him to another term in 2022 by a pretty comfortable margin. DeSantis thought that meant world domination.

He went on to act like his autocratic hero turned rival, former President Donald Trump, who is laughing sinisterly at the “loser DeSanctimonious.” I hate to validate Trump in any way, but he was right about DeSantis.

And despite Ron exiting, we’re still left with the king of mean in Trump, who will soon vanquish Nikki Haley and run unchecked through the rest of the primary season. Who knows what meanness lies ahead with Trump?

Florida’s residents are watching the maniacal maniac DeSantis return home as a deflated doofus. The prodigal son he is not. They now understand, clearly, that he is not a nice man. There’s no upside to being Ron DeSantis, and there never has been, and now we are reassured that mean guys finish last.

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.
John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.