The campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida is a dumpster fire.
Adam Putnam, long believed to be the front-runner, has turned in a remarkably weak performance, and Congressman Ron DeSantis increasingly looks like the new front-runner in the Republican primary.
As a permanent fixture on FOX News, an entrenched member of the Tea Party, and Trump’s personally endorsed nominee, on paper, he looks like a GOP primary voter’s dream.
The same profile that makes DeSantis a strong primary candidate, however, will be toxic in the general election.
DeSantis now owns Trump’s reckless tax plan that further rigs the economy for the rich, his failed responses to natural disasters, his repeated efforts to repeal Floridians’ health care, and their his failure to address the opioid epidemic that is ravaging Florida communities.
Ron DeSantis can run, but he can’t hide, and come November, he should expect a wholesale rejection of Trump, their shared agenda, and the Republican Party as a whole at the ballot box.
In the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Trump and DeSantis both have refused to offer real solutions that will keep schools safe from gun violence. Instead, the two have parroted NRA talking points, including calls for armed veterans to patrol schools, as if more guns would somehow prevent further mass shootings.
With their tax plan, Trump and DeSantis sold out Florida’s middle class. The plan crystalizes for voters exactly whose side DeSantis is on — the richest Floridians – and will be a drag on his campaign. As voters learn more about this reckless tax scam moving forward, they’ll only further turn on the GOP. The fact that Florida’s richest 1% receive an average tax cut worth more than $12,000, paid for by the poorest Floridians down the road, highlights exactly how this scam further rigs the system for the wealthy. When voters learn that the plan will cost 870,000 Floridians their health insurance, increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion, and raise taxes on middle and lower-income taxpayers in the long term, they will rightfully direct their anger at the Republicans responsible, and in Florida that is Ron DeSantis.
The 2017 hurricane season devastated Florida and the region as a whole. Hurricane Maria caused millions in damage to Florida and completely decimated Puerto Rico. The storm knocked out all power and most cell phone service to 3.4 million Americans. What did President Trump, as the head of disaster response, do? He claimed that the hurricane was not “a real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina before ultimately visiting Puerto Rico for a phony photo opp. More than seven months since the Hurricane, most of the island is still without basic services and tens of thousands remain without power. Meanwhile, demographers expect that many Puerto Rican families — up to 82,000 people per year — will permanently relocate to Florida, a significant influx of new voters being added to the rolls in no small part due to the President’s incompetence.
While most politicians would respond to this failed response by standing up and demanding accountability, DeSantis elected to go in the opposite directly, issuing a statement applauding the Trump Administration’s response just days after the hurricane hit. That decision will come back to haunt DeSantis moving forward because it perfectly illustrates to voters that when it comes to siding with Florida or the President, DeSantis will pick Trump no matter what.
In 2017, DeSantis and his colleagues in Congress fought to rip away healthcare from millions of Americans, including more than 4.3 million Floridians who rely on Medicaid and CHIP, and 119,000 military veterans who rely on Medicaid — and that was just last year. Over the course of his career, DeSantis has repeatedly voted to kick millions of Floridians off of their health insurance, and even suggested a cancer patient could use the emergency room, saying, “If people really need [heatlth care], they show up to the emergency room.” Meanwhile, Trump has been actively working to sabotage health insurance markets, resulting in higher costs for consumers, and DeSantis has stood by him every step of the way.
The Trump administration has failed to take serious action to address the opioid epidemic that is ravaging the country, particularly the state of Florida, where 4,996 people died of drug overdoses in 2016. Instead, the White House decided to appoint a 24 year-old campaign worker to help lead the government’s drug policy office tasked with responding to this public health crisis. In response, DeSantis again stood by Trump, while also pushing Medicaid cuts that would undermine the effort to fight the epidemic in Florida.
© 2018 Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century PAC.Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.