TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis formally started his second term in office as he looks ahead to his political future. This comes after four years of working to build a national profile and cementing his place as the favorite governor for conservatives across the country. DeSantis was sworn into office on Tuesday.
Even though DeSantis gave his inaugural address in front of the historic Capitol building in Florida’s capital city of Tallahassee, the ceremony had much greater trappings than traditional inaugural festivities, including DeSantis’ first inaugural event four years ago. The venue, which had no seats available and only standing room open, also had enormous sets of bleachers, which are not typically found at events of this nature. It was full of thousands of people.
The 44-year-old DeSantis focused much of his attention on national rather than state issues. He borrowed a Bible from Glenn Beck, a nationally syndicated conservative radio host, for his swearing-in ceremony. DeSantis also focused much of his attention on national rather than state issues. To put it another way, the intention was for it to have a presidential air.
The likelihood of DeSantis running for president in 2024 is the unavoidable backdrop of his second term as governor. Such a move would put him on a direct path toward a showdown with former President Donald Trump, who announced his candidacy for reelection in the middle of November after Republicans, including his endorsed candidates, performed poorly in the midterm elections.
The relationship between Trump and DeSantis has deteriorated as the possibility of a collision centered on the White House becomes more likely to become a reality. Even though Trump’s support was a driving force behind DeSantis’s election in 2018, the two no longer speak.
The comparison of Florida during DeSantis’ first term as governor of Florida to other states as well as the federal government, took up most of his 16-minute speech on Tuesday. Although he did not specifically mention Vice President Joe Biden by name, he spent most of his time criticizing the current president’s policies, including immigration, pandemic restrictions, and inflation. These are topics that are not typically covered in state-level inauguration addresses.
According to DeSantis, “the failing federal establishment in Washington, D.C. has made it more difficult for the state of Florida to achieve its goals.” “The federal government has gone on a spending binge that has caused inflation, which has resulted in our country being weaker and our citizens becoming poorer. It has established epidemic limitations and mandates based more on ideology and politics than on sound research. As a result, freedom has been undermined, and business has been hampered.
DeSantis did not provide details on his second term’s top priorities. They did not mention increased abortion restrictions or gun rights, even though he has expressed interest in pushing legislation in both areas that could strengthen a presidential bid. DeSantis did not provide details on his second term’s top priorities.
“If he runs, he’ll be a great alternative, but I’m not going to prejudge whether he’s running or not,” said Jeb Bush, the only former Florida governor to attend the inauguration, whose bid for the presidency in 2016 was ended by Trump. Bush was the only former Florida governor to participate in the inauguration. “He has a demonstrated track record of success as the Governor of the most prestigious state.” He continued, “That’s a terrific platform to run on.”
Throughout most of 2022, polls conducted for the early 2024 Republican presidential primary showed DeSantis either ahead of Trump or running neck and neck with him. DeSantis has brushed off questions about whether he plans to run for president, but many Republicans are clamoring for his candidacy. This is especially true among Republicans who are tired of the never-ending drama and legal battles surrounding Trump, as well as among Republicans who have never supported Trump from the beginning.
During his first term in office, DeSantis displayed a progressive approach to governance, which helped to characterize his tenure in part. His first two years in office were defined by initiatives that gained him cautious support from members of both parties and approval ratings in the mid-60 percent range.
However, over the past several years, he has shifted his attention to topics that excite his right-wing audiences, such as battling against mandates for Covid-19 or “woke” lessons in K12 and higher education. His taking on those problems contributed to the growth of his national image and made him one of the Democrats’ most significant electoral threats.
His remarks on Tuesday left little room for doubt that his second term will be defined by a continued focus on culture war battles as he builds his national resume in preparation for announcing a likely run for president, with many people expecting him to declare sometime in spring. His remarks also left little room for doubt that a continued focus on culture war battles will define his first term.
This awakened ideology is not acceptable to us. We are looking for common sense, not metaphysical insanity. “We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional,” DeSantis stated, engaging in the kind of partisan language that has been his calling card. “We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional.” We will never give in to the demands of the awakened rabble. Florida is where awakened goes to die.”
A significant political mandate awaits DeSantis as he begins his second term as governor. While helping drive the Republican Party to massive victories up and down the ballot in the midterm elections, he won his reelection attempt by a historic 19-point margin over the Democrat Charlie Crist. It provides DeSantis enormous momentum heading into the 2023 Florida legislature session, which effectively begins this month and is expected to set the setting for his presidential declaration. In other words, this offers DeSantis a leg up on the competition.
Nick Iarossi, a lobbyist and co-chair for Governor DeSantis’ inaugural committee, said, “The governor’s huge victory on election night combined with his national reputation makes him the most powerful elected figure in Florida’s history.” Governor DeSantis made this statement. Because he has such a large amount of political capital, it is evident that he is in the driver’s seat when it comes to influencing legislation in Florida during his second term.
Democrats have voiced their disapproval of DeSantis’ ascent to power because they believe it has been primarily fueled by policies intended to harm minority communities and an emphasis on rewiring long-held conventions, particularly about the education system in the state. For example, DeSantis has been a strong supporter of civics education programs, even though some educators have voiced concern that these programs lean too far to the right and do not include alternative points of view.
House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell stated, “I listened to his speech, and I think we can expect more of the same with greater intensity” (D-Tampa). “He released a significant amount of dog-whistle material today. They won’t stop calling anyone that they don’t like, that’s for sure. We heard more about parental rights, which will result in additional assaults on the LGBTQ+ community. She went on to say that he did not address any issues unique to the state. “Primary voters and donors were the intended audience for this.”
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