A year after its inception, the much-touted “magic formula” led by GOP’s Ron DeSantis in Florida has crumbled, and Salon’s Amanda Marcotte highlights the factors that contributed to its spectacular failure.
Initially hailed as the post-Donald Trump future for the Republican Party, DeSantis and Florida’s GOP gained attention for their aggressive culture war politics, including book-banning, emphasizing “woke” criticism, and taking on Disney.
After DeSantis’s significant re-election victory in the 2022 midterms, there was optimism that the party had found a winning strategy.
However, DeSantis’s official announcement of a presidential run coincided with legal troubles for Trump, who faced multiple charges. This led to a shift in GOP support back towards Trump, undermining the earlier enthusiasm for DeSantis’s approach.
The culture war politics, particularly the draconian stance on book banning, was considered a key element of the Florida GOP’s strategy to redefine the party in the post-Trump era. However, the 2023 election revealed that this approach backfired, as angry pro-education parents mobilized to elect Democrats to school boards.
Marcotte also points out that laws such as the “don’t say gay” legislation and attacks on transgender children proved to be political losers.
While DeSantis’s decline is often attributed to a lack of charisma and political missteps, Marcotte argues that the culture war politics were too extreme for the mainstream audience while falling short of satisfying the MAGA base.
The Florida strategy, once seen as a potential savior by Republican elites, ultimately failed to deliver the desired outcomes, as it simultaneously alarmed ordinary citizens and left MAGA supporters wanting more.