DeSantis and Musk team up to ‘Make America Florida’
Somehow, despite winning his current role with the narrowest election victory in the country, the assistance of FBI leaks that created a nonexistent scandal around his opponent, and a propensity for eating pudding with his fingers, DeSantis has become hyped as the “future of the Republican Party.”
What makes his fans nearly faint with adoration isn’t DeSantis’ business savvy. Florida’s economy not only continues to grow slower than it did under the sizzling skill of Mr. Excitement, Jeb Bush–it’s highly dependent on money dragged into the state by retirees. In terms of manufacturing jobs, Florida doesn’t even make the top 10 states despite being the third-most populous. It has a warm climate and beaches—not exactly a program that can be applied to the nation as a whole.
What thrills DeSantis fans is not his skill at good governance, it’s his skill at bad governance.
Is DeSantis willing to wreck the state’s higher education system to enforce a specific vision of a subset of right-wing evangelists and a highly edited, racist view of history? He is. Will he sacrifice thousands of jobs on the altar of making sure that gay people are pariahs in his state? Absolutely. Will he threaten businesses for failing to support an anti-science alignment, even if that means putting thousands of people at constant risk? Every damn day.
If the modern Republican Party is united by the people they hate, DeSantis is there to show that he hates harder than anyone else. There is no bigotry he will not just embrace. Fox and Elon love him for this.
Trump has tried to keep up, racing hard to make his own radical positions even more hardline in an effort to maneuver to DeSantis’ right. But it’s not clear DeSantis has a right anyone can get around, because there is no level of destruction he will not cheerfully embrace in an effort to appeal to the worst in America.
In advance of the announcement, Musk was soft-pedaling the idea that he’s endorsing DeSantis, which is ridiculous because he already announced his support for DeSantis months ago. In that first endorsement, Musk called DeSantis “sensible” and “centrist.” Now he’s calling him “normal,” by which Musk mostly seems to mean that DeSantis hates trans people, like Musk, and champions racism, like Musk. It’s not a coincidence that Black employees at Tesla describe a culture in which the N-word was in daily use and Black workers were routinely assigned to physically strenuous tasks in a section of the factory referred to as “the plantation.”
Still, what Musk likes most about DeSantis may not be his overt bigotry (though that certainly helps). Even better is how DeSantis has repeatedly demonstrated that he will ignore all those outdated ideas about bills of attainder to create laws and edicts designed specifically to punish his enemies and boost his friends. It might seem that any business leader would be rightfully frightened of putting someone in power who has made it extremely obvious that he will use that power to attack anyone who dares voice any opposition to his policy, and keep trying to apply that punishment no matter how much it costs.
But Musk sees no issue with this. That’s because DeSantis has cleared the biggest hurdle of the modern Republican Party: He hates the right people. That makes Musk confident that “make America like Florida” means that his companies will only benefit from DeSantis at the helm, while companies that are actually concerned about diversity, equality, and labor rights will be punished for their audacity in putting people ahead of the bottom line.
Worrying about Godwin’s Law may be passé, but there’s no need to bring out the H-word when talking about the relationship between DeSantis and corporate billionaires like Musk. That’s because a much more appropriate comparison is available.
Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere. …
The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporate, social, and educational institutions …
Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism, 1935
Substitute “DeSantis” for “fascism” in these statements and you don’t have to change another word.