On Tuesday, Ron DeSantis was sworn in for a second term as Florida’s governor. While there was much to cheer throughout the speech (PJM’s Jeff Reynolds has more here), one line stood out in particular.
Calling Florida a “promised land of sanity” in a sea of cities being destroyed by woke ideology, DeSantis noted that “Many of these cities and states have embraced faddish ideology at the expense of enduring principles. They have harmed public safety by coddling criminals and attacking law enforcement. They have imposed unreasonable burdens on taxpayers to finance unfathomable levels of public spending. They have harmed education by subordinating the interests of students and parents to partisan interest groups.”
“They have imposed medical authoritarianism in the guise of pandemic mandates and restrictions that lack a scientific basis. [applause] This bizarre, but prevalent, ideology that permeates these policy measures purports to act in the name of justice for the marginalized, but it frowns upon American institutions, it rejects merit and achievement, and it advocates identity essentialism,” said DeSantis.
The crowd went wild when he declared: “We reject this woke ideology! We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy! We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die!”
The applause began before DeSantis could get halfway through that passage and culminated in a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.
A line that struck a similar note also received a standing ovation: “We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups, and we must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology,” the governor said. “Florida must always be a great place to raise a family — we will enact more family-friendly policies to make it easier to raise children and we will defend our children against those who seek to rob them of their innocence.”
DeSantis has his pulse on the base of the Republican Party. Rather than sitting back and letting the left destroy his state, he’s been the most aggressive, successful governor in the country, battling back the forces of evil that seek to entrap our children into a life of pain, misery, and dysfunction. But the applause lines in this speech are more than just partisan talking points aimed to stir up the base. As we saw in Virginia, where Glenn Younkin became governor after focusing on kitchen-table issues — namely protecting our children from harm — and in Florida, where DeSantis won by nearly 20 points (including winning with independents, Hispanics, and women) there’s nothing that animates voters more than fear that their children are in danger. DeSantis, as a husband and father, understands that at a gut level, and it’s a winning message for 2024 should he decide to run for president.