The Democratic US Rep. warned that the country could end up with a disastrous DeSantis presidency in 2024.
“It is the Democrats’ last chance to stop him, and it’s going to be a lot cheaper to do it in Florida than it would be in 50 states,” the US Rep. said on CNN the morning after beating Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in the state’s primary elections held on Tuesday. “If you want to help Joe Biden [to] get a second term, we need to shut Ron DeSantis down in Florida.”
Crist’s alarm is due to a worrisome reality for Democrats in the Sunshine State: many donors in their party are taking a break from Florida under the belief that it has become too red to make a difference. In fact, it appears that Democratic donors are more focused on seats in states where Democrats already hold the governor’s mansion, or where it’s an open seat.
Newsom to the Rescue
In response to Crist’s appeal, on Thursday California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that he was pledging $100,000 to make DeSantis a “one-term governor.” He also called on his supporters to donate to Crist.
Newson later added that he was compelled to donate to Crist after witnessing DeSantis’ verbal assault of Dr. Anthony Fauci at a rally Wednesday, during which the Republican leader said of the country’s top infectious disease expert, “Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.”
“Who the hell raised these guys? What kind of people are they?” asked Newson, who is considered to be a potential presidential contender. “I have four kids; I don’t want these guys being models.”
An Emergency in the Sunshine State
But as bad as that is, the stakes are even higher for Florida, Crist has pointed out.
That’s because DeSantis has raised alarm among Democrats and some moderate Republicans alike by signing into law measures that:
- Curtail the rights of the LGBTQ community by signing the “Don’t Say Gay” law that bans discussion of gender in primary school.
- Impose a 15-week abortion ban that has no exceptions for rape or incest.
- Limit ballot drop-box hours and require mail-in ballots every year, instead of every four years, voting restrictions that mostly affect people of color.
- Ban books across the state, including math texts that allegedly contain critical race theory, which DeSantis opposes on the theory that learning about the injustices committed against African Americans and people of color could upset some white people.
- Promote what some teachers in South Florida call “a very strong Christian fundamentalist way toward analyzing different quotes and different [historical] documents.” This has led many Democrats to point out that DeSantis is aiming to change what the next generation learns about, in a clear attempt to change the culture.
“Republican leaders—They’re banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors,” said Newsom, echoing Crist’s plea: “I urge all of you to join the fight.”
A Clear Warning
Rick Wilson, a former Republican strategist now with the Lincoln Project, warns that Democrats will have cause for regret in 2024 if they don’t take the opportunity to help slow and defeat the only Republican that polls suggest could be competitive in a GOP primary against former President Donald Trump: Ron DeSantis.