Ron DeSantis - Another Trump Authoritarian Type

There’s a thread in IMHO asking, ‘Is Trump Done?’

I noticed folks drifting away from the topic in that thread and toward a discussion about the fitness of Ron DeSantis as a possible acceptable Republican candidate for president. I could not disagree more.

Rather than engage in further hijacking that thread, I’m starting this one and linking back to the posts that alarmed me:

Ron DeSantis has already engaged in actions that demonstrate his strong authoritarian bent. For those who may have missed those behaviors, I’ve pulled together a few links:


The below link shows DeSantis’s efforts to muzzle social media platforms when they allow people to say not-nice things about him.

This link shows his efforts to control “acceptable” speech in the State of Florida. Don’t Say Gay:

Targeting companies that don’t agree with him politically:

Targeting education, dictating what can and can’t be taught in schools:

Election police (gift link):

Deportation of refugees from Texas who have protected status to Martha’s Vineyard:

This thread is for discussion of DeSantis as a potential Republican nominee for president. Comparisons to Trump are fine, as are discussions of other alternative Republican nominees.

My opinion:

DeSantis is a man who is already running the State of Florida like his own private fiefdom. He is a bully, a gratuitous rabble-rouser and like Trump, engages in politics solely for his personal gain.

If you think he’ll hesitate to pull the same authoritarian moves on the entire country if he’s elected, then I submit you haven’t examined his behaviors closely enough.

My personal take? Beware DeSantis. Trump is unacceptable, but he’s old news, tired and always loses except 1 time, when a lot of people didn’t know any better. Pending investigations and prosecutions will knock him out of contention. We’d be lucky to run against him again.

I hope for a Hogan type. But I doubt it will happen.

The main point in the DeSantis v. Trump electability debate, IMO, is what the core reason for Trump’s popularity is. If you think it’s his point of view, policies, and willingness to own the libs, then DeSantis is, as you’ve pointed out, a perfectly fine proxy to continue all those things. But if you think it’s Trump’s personality, his willingness to say and do whatever he wants, and the peculiar kind of charisma he has, then many think that DeSantis would sooner bore the fervent members of the base as a greyer and lesser substitute for their god-king. DeSantis can definitely tap into much of the same base impulses as Trump. It’s an open question to me, though, whether “much” is enough.

I understand your point, but I don’t think Republicans are going to make the same mistake in 2024 as they did in 2016: That is, allow a huge field of potential nominees to carve up the primary vote and let Trump be the big gorilla in the cage.

If it’s down to just two or three potentials, then I don’t think Trump gets the nomination.

I’d also refute Trump’s “charisma.” I think a lot of Republicans supported him because the leadership allowed them to believe what Trump was doing was acceptable. In other words, he was enabled by Republican “leaders” – who were anything but.

So basically, all those so-called leaders encouraged the horrible behavior because it allowed them to work behind the scenes in furtherance of their kleptocratic objectives.

Now that Trump is losing elections for them, they’ll pull the money and the verbal support quick enough. Without such undergirding, I think Trump just comes off as the old, whiny, self-entitled corrupt piece of trash that he actually is. Even his loyal base is starting to unstick.

As I mention in the other thread, my take on the fear-of-DeSantis was more along the lines of, why are we assuming that DeSantis is so formidable, that you should prefer Trump to run “because we can beat him”. Almost presuming that if it’s him running, then it’s over, no hope.

Though, worryingly, it seems like Ron D is maneouvering – or rather, has been chosen to be maneouvered (more on that later) – into the role of that default “sensible reactionary” candidate very effectively, Og help us.

And many of the 2016 candidates were unwilling to strike at him early when he could have been taken down, because they wanted the votes of the Deplorables once he would quit as they expected him to. All he needed in that crowded field to get himself planted as front runner was that hard core of people who were impressed with him because he is a caricature of “a poor man’s idea of what a rich man is like, a dumb man’s idea of what a smart man is like, a weak man’s idea of what a strong man is like”.

Now, once he made himself the front runner, for which may we recall the GOP had years earlier rigged its primary system to let the front runner run away with it in a winner-take-all spiral, yes, absolutely, the kleptocrats thought to themselves… "hmm… the news media are all hung up on OMG OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT TRUMP JUST TWEETED… we can use that…"

But the kleptoauthoritarians probably find that the Trump years were a little bit more of an… exciting ride than they’d have preferred. So now they turn to someone very slightly more presentable in society and who is working WITH them from the start rather than ostenibly coming to overthrow them, too.

Make no mistake, these men want to continue to profit and to keep the people they don’t like “in their place”. But at the same time, one suspects they want someone with whom they don’t have to wake up every morning dreading to open their news feed (and do not want to end up worried about falling out of windows…)

If DeSantis wins, and he might, it will be as a Bush Republican. He might try to be Trump, but he’s not nearly a big enough asshole, a big enough clown, and a big enough ham.

Trump supporters (meaning the ones who weren’t already Republicans) weren’t drawn to Trump because of policy or ideology, it was about style. And no one can recreate Trump’s style. Everything stated about Trump’s flaws are features, not bugs, to his biggest supporters.

All IMO, of course.

This is certainly true but I would still contend that this relatively within the bounds of “normal” at least as compared to the Republican party of the 2020’s. The difference between DeSantis and Trump is that I think DeSantis wants to use Democratic Republican system to advance his own gains, while Trump desires, ideally, to abolish it entirely.

For example I don’t see DeSantis, replacing the DOJ with hand selected cronies who he sends out to arrest his political opponents. I don’t see DeSantis declaring martial law to prevent an election that he is likely to lose. I don’t see DeSantis promising pardons to those people who agree to commit crimes on his behalf. I don’t see DeSantis working out how to get around the 22nd amendment. Heck I don’t even see DeSantis as likely to dispute a lost election. With Trump on the other hand I do see all of those scenarios as possible (although maybe not likely). Basically a DeSantis administration would be very bad but probably recoverable. A second Trump administration on the other hand could be game over.

I sort of agree with most of your post but:

– I’d like to read a good journalistic biolgraphy of DeSantis before deciding how much of his reactionary stance is an act for getting the nomination, and how much is real. Hopefully one will be published in the next year or two and get a few good reviews. Than I’ll read it.

– The game is never over. Dictatorship is an unstable form of government.

How will they stop it?

I think part of the flaw in your thinking here is that you seem to relate Trump’s charisma to the other Republicans, instead of the voting public. Yeah, he may have fooled some in the GOP, but I’d say that more of them just jumped on the bandwagon when they saw how his particularly odious type of charisma resonated with the voters they were trying to woo.

The Republicans saw how he could get people fired up, and salivated at the prospect of using his charisma to pwn the libs and advance their conservative agenda.

Is the MTGs of the House going to pledge fealty to Desantis?

Does Desantis even want that?

I think that will be one factor to consider.

Why not join forces? Assuming they could win against Biden/Harris, a Trump/DeSantis ticket could hold out hope for Republicans for a 12-year run. Would DeSantis or Trump be willing to share the spotlight for four years? It’s possible Trump could die while in office, so there’s that.

It can’t happen unless one of them changes residency.

U.S. Constitution, Article II states: “The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.”

Not a chance in hell.

Actually, that’s the problem. Trump’s behavior was so outlandish that it took every effort that media pundits could muster to treat him seriously, try as though they did. DeSantis is a ‘serious’ politician and has at least been able to draw a lot of support in Florida. I don’t know if that popularity could extend across the broader scope of the Midwest and the ‘Red’ Northwest (inland from the Pacific coast where Trump has very strong support) but if it does he could very credibly become an authoritarian President with a Supreme Court well constituted to back his agenda and an at-best divided legislature incapable of putting any real roadblocks in his agenda. Unlikely Trump, he is savvy and directed enough to not get in his own way or spend his time Twittering out nonsense and getting in social media ‘wars’ with celebrities unless it serves an actual purpose.

The danger of Trump has never been that he would actually become an effective autocrat; he is too disinterested in actually running the government to care, and being President was more about getting a platform for attention than anything. The real danger is that the person who comes after him would absorb the lessons of what worked and used them to advance an actual authoritarian conservative agenda buoyed by the proto-fascist movements that are quite evident on the ‘fringes’ of the GOP. The ‘Bush Republican’ of a corporatocratic lackey has already so overtaken the mainline Democratic party that the only place for the Republicans to distinguish themselves into a hard autocracy and dismantling democratic norms by challenging electoral validity and attacking voting rights, which are behaviors that Republicans have dove into with relish and glee. A “Bush Republian” would be Liz Cheney, and as odious as she is toward established personal liberties she still isn’t nearly enough of a denialist of democratic norms for the GOP to tolerate her voice in ‘their’ party.

DeSantis is a creature to be carefully observed, especially as Fox ‘News’ and OANN promote him as the Next Great White Hope for Republicans. He’s just polished enough to not seem quite as awful as he actually is.


I have been very surprised to see RDS depicted as a “moderate” in some press on both the left and right.

He’s pure MAGA. It’s all about grievance culture, sticking it to the libs and disinformation.

The only real difference I can see between him and trump (or people like MTG) is that he can string together sentences without coming across as an utter buffoon. Probably that makes him more dangerous.

But yeah, in general, the GOP with him at the helm is essentially a continuation of trump’s legacy

I saw a bumper sticker that works whether you are sincere or sarcastic about such a ticket:

I was sincere that it could help cement Republican control of the White House for 12 years if they could pull it off… but I don’t think Trump could stand to have somebody competent standing next to him.

That’s already happening from the financial front.

They’re pledging that they will support DeSantis instead of Trump. That’s going to give Ron a massive advantage.

And Don a massive coronary.

IMHO the only way the join forces is if Trump dies and bequeaths his supporters to DeSantis by telling them that he thinks DeSantis is the future of the party prior to his death. I don’t see any other way of them teaming up.