Florida Judge May Have Saved Ron DeSantis's Imploding Political Career
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made the political calculation that his hands-off approach to vaccinations and ban on mask mandates wouldn't derail Florida's virus recovery effort. He wanted to stake out the "liberty candidate" ground and corral the Republican base for his eventual 2024 presidential campaign. Things did not turn out quite as he expected.
Politico: “Covid infection rates continue to climb as the state [Florida] faces shortages of health care staff, morgue space and even oxygen for patients. About 16,000 people are hospitalized. Child infection rates have shot up. School districts — even in Republican strongholds — have rebelled against DeSantis’ anti-mask mandates. And cruise lines are resisting DeSantis’ vaccine passport ban. Even his recent poll numbers are slipping.”
DeSantis has become the poster child for anti-science stupidity and colleges and school districts across Florida ignored his mask ban and his threats to their funding as they instituted rules to prevent larger outbreaks. The Governor has maintained support from the "Live Free and [or] Die" folks, but more rational Floridians wonder if DeSantis is putting his political ambitions above their welfare.
Politico: “There’s no question it’s impacting him politically,” said a Republican consultant who has previously worked with DeSantis and requested anonymity to speak freely. “You can tout all the freedom and anti-lockdown that you want. There’s no political strategy for sick kids and tired parents.”
"A Quinnipiac University poll released this month had DeSantis’ approval rating dipping below 50 percent, with 47 percent approving of his job performance, and 45 percent disapproving. Those numbers dropped to 44-51 when asked about his handling of public schools."
So, DeSantis had painted himself into a corner; if he caved to the medical professionals, educators, and scientists he risked alienating the GOP's Trumpist base, but if he held fast as infections exploded across the state he would certainly share the blame.
Yesterday, Florida Judge John Cooper may have saved DeSantis's political career by nullifying the Governor's mask ban.
AP: "Florida school districts can legally require their students to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a judge ruled Friday, saying Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order banning such mandates."
"Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ order is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The governor’s order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school."
"Cooper said DeSantis’ order “is without legal authority.”
The judge mentioned that while you may have a right to be stupid, you don't have the liberty to harm others in the process.
A DeSantis spokesperson immediately criticized the ruling, but I expect there was a collective sigh of relief from the Governor's supporters. DeSantis can now claim that it's those pesky judges who are interfering with the right of Floridians to infect others with a deadly disease.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content