Sure, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), go ahead and take home the trophy for passing the most outrageous/bizarre/problematic anti-education laws of all the red state governors in the land, if that’s the distinction you’re after.
At this point, it seems that’s the governor’s goal (coupled with the, seemingly, broader party aim to distract voters so completely with such non-serious non-existent issues that they don’t remember why they decided to support GOPers in the midterms in the first place).
The latest DeSantis culture war to get legislated into law in Florida: a sidetrack focus on communism.
While a handful of states do have some sort of legitimate official holiday to mark a “Victims of Communism Day,” DeSantis, per usual, took the move a few steps further. In signing House Bill 395 into law on Monday, DeSantis not only recognized November 7 as the official holiday, but also made it state law for public schools in Florida to spend at least 45 minutes on that remembrance day instructing students on the regimes of various communist figures like Joseph Stalin and Fidel Castro, the Miami Herald reported.
It also requires that teachers spend time in the classroom discussing famous Cuban exiles and the “poverty, starvation, migration, systemic lethal violence, and suppression of speech” experienced under Castro, Stalin and Mao Zedong’s leadership, per the Herald.
“That body count of Mao is something that everybody needs to understand because it is a direct result of this communist ideology,” DeSantis said during the bill signing Monday. “I know we don’t need legislation here to do this but I think it’s our responsibility to make sure people know about the atrocities committed by people like Fidel Castro and even more recently people like Nicolas Maduro.”
On the one hand, this move is a barely-veiled effort to own the libs. DeSantis and others of his ilk have been trying for years to paint progressive Democrats and the Democratic Party as a whole as some sort of far-left radical political movement hellbent on making America a communist nation — simply for the crime of supporting things like, I don’t know, universal health care.
On the other, this appears to be another layer of the Republican Party’s effort to make public education the top campaign messaging issue for the party ahead of the Midterms. This is, of course, despite the fact that all of the education-related “issues” the GOP is focused on are not only non-existent — like claiming that teachers who educate students about LGBTQ+ issues are “groomers” — but also a form of the very censorship the party’s historically claimed to rally against.
And DeSantis, with his 2024 ambitions, is one of the worst red state offenders — leading the pack with infamously aggressive spins on laws targeting the LGBTQ+ community, banning textbooks and outlawing Critical Race Theory — in Florida, the anti-CRT law extends outside of the classroom and into the workforce, aiming to ban the discussion of issues that might make a (white) person experience “discomfort.”
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
The latest from Kate Riga: Plan B And IUDs Already In The Crosshairs
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Dominoes Falling — Josh Marshall
What We Are Reading
Racist ‘Replacement Theory’ Is Bleeding Into GOP Senate Campaigns — Cameron Joseph
Dems edge closer to giving GOP a border vote as a price for Covid aid — Marianne Levine and Burgess Everett
Inside the Relentless Campaign to Ruin Madison Cawthorn — Sam Brodey and Roger Sollenberger