DeSantis Makes 2024 Ambitions Clear As He Pours Gasoline On His ‘Woke’ Education Fire

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis speaks during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022. - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been t... Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis speaks during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022. - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been tipped as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, was projected as one of the early winners of the night in Tuesday's midterm election. (Photo by Giorgio VIERA / AFP) (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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As he “actively” prepares for a presidential run, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) announced Tuesday that he plans to defund diversity, equity and inclusion programs in every public university in the state. 

The plan is part of the Republican governor’s larger plot to remake the Florida public school system into a hub for far-right ideology, which reportedly includes grounding curricula in “the history and philosophy of Western Civilization” and “course correct universities’ missions to align education for citizenship of the constitutional republic and Florida’s existing and emerging workforce needs.”

It’s also seemingly part of a broader scheme for DeSantis to stay in the national news cycle as he riles up the most far-right members of his base ahead of 2024. 

During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the governor said that he intended to eliminate all DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) “bureaucracies” in Florida, claiming the programs impose “an agenda” and force people to “take a political oath.”

“No funding, and that will wither on the vine,” he said.

DeSantis seems to have chosen so-called “Critical Race Theory” as the focus of his attacks as he seeks national attention going into the likely launch of a presidential bid this year: Earlier this month, he overhauled the board of New College of Florida, a state school that is known to serve students from marginalized communities, and filled it with staunch conservatives, like far-right, anti-CRT activist Christopher Rufo.

His administration also rejected a proposed AP African American Studies course from the College Board for “lack[ing] educational value” and approved a new training program that could force teachers to avoid books on race and LGBTQ+ issues.

While it is clear that DeSantis’ war on “woke” education is rooted in a broader political calculus, the chill from his initiatives can be felt on a granular level. Earlier this month, for example, Manatee County teachers received directives from their school district instructing them to “remove or cover all classroom libraries” until they can be reviewed to make sure they adhere to the state’s standards. 

These latest moves are the trickle-down effects of his Stop Wrong To Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act signed into law last April. The language of the legislation is vague when it comes to actual enforcement, but aims to ban academic institutions and employers from teaching race-conscious concepts that make anyone feel “guilt, anguish or other psychological distress.” 

After four different lawsuits landed on his desk to block the law, a district court judge, calling the act “positively dystopian,” issued preliminary injunctions to block its enforcement in academic institutions and workplace settings. Still, DeSantis seems to be working his way around that.

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  1. All fascism, all the time. Should be good for about a 40% vote nationally, getting to 50%+1 will require a lot of work on the margins.

    ETA: that should be getting to 47%, given the structural advantage the GOP has with the electoral college

  2. “Are you a communist?"
    "No I am an anti-fascist"
    "For a long time?"
    "Since I have understood fascism.”

    ― Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

  3. Meh, Republican presidential primaries are littered with candidates who were the presumed front-runners, but fell by the wayside once the electorate got to know them. DeSantis has the charisma of a rabid weasel (minus the energy)… he’ll end up in the same place as Giuliani, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and others – all presumed to be the de facto nominee right until they weren’t. In fact Walker tried this exact same schtick, playing up to the right flank and trying to own the libs, and had the backing of major donors too. Zero charisma though, and when his rating began to drop they just kept falling. His decline synched perfectly with increasing national exposure. I don’t know who the Republican nominee will be, but I’ll wager it won’t be DeSantis. He’s less the “kind of guy you’d like to have a beer with” than the kind of persnickety asshole you’d like to empty a beer over.

  4. Mitt Rmoney has the charisma of a high school principal trying to be your friend, and he was the nominee.

  5. The Zombie Fourth Estate can’t wait to get this demon elected.

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