Florida is considered by Republicans and Democrats as one of the most disputed states for the elections scheduled for the next few years in the USA. Several factors indicate this, starting with its current governor, Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis has become the most prominent Republican figure after the departure of Donald Trump from the presidency – who, thanks to this and his censorship of social networks, has lost some presence in public opinion.
The DeSantis Method
The Florida governor gained special relevance since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. His heterodox method, far from the journalistic consensus – which earned him a campaign against him that has not stopped – and contrary to the confinements that spread throughout the country, put him in the eyes of Americans and much of the world.
The results were better than the rest of the states that adopted quarantines. Mortality rates were lower than in the rest of the country and the vaccination rate remains in good numbers.
73 % of doses in Florida have been administered, 42 % of its population has received at least one dose, and 27 % are fully vaccinated.
In addition, 1,000 people per day have been welcomed to Florida as a result of the economic and social results of DeSantis’ policies, according to reports.
Big Tech vs. Florida
Florida has also fought against Big Tech following its radical censure of conservatives. The governor has introduced several bills seeking to preserve free speech.
Among the first to be introduced is the “ideological transparency law” that prohibits under penalty of fines the suspension and closure of accounts of electoral candidates.
The legislative offensive proposes several measures, including a daily fine of $100,000 against any company that seeks to censor candidates. The law also intends to categorize as campaign contributions the promotion of candidates by companies.
In addition, the legislation will allow Florida’s attorney general and individuals, in general, to sue Big Tech for violations of individual rights.
Pushback against communism
DeSantis has also acknowledged foreign influences that can catastrophically affect Florida’s growth. Among those influences, the governor decided to attack the biggest one: the Chinese Communist Party.
DeSantis recently announced that his proposed legislation would require universities to report donations of $50,000 or more from six “countries of interest.” Failure to disclose such information would require universities to return 105 % of the same funds to the state.
The countries most prominent in the bill are China, Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela, which for decades have become an existential threat to the United States.
Democrats, electoral integrity and Florida
Faced with a progress that differs positively from the rest of the states – especially states like California and New York -, the Democrats seek to reverse that popularity that DeSantis, a prospective candidate for the Republicans in 2024, attacking some new laws proposed by the governor that seek to ensure electoral integrity in the state.
That bill seeks to restrict voting by mail and the use of mailboxes for it. The bill increases limits on the distribution of mailboxes in the state and expands restrictions on who can deliver a voter’s ballot, and grants new powers to partisan election observers.
The bill also proposes a new method for elected officials to resign. That is, the legislation would allow for the appointment of alternates and also includes a change to the state’s “resign-to-run” law that would allow DeSantis to appoint replacements to fill seats vacated by some local officials who resign to run for Congress.
Associations linked to the Democratic Party argue that such a law “seeks to silence voters’ voices based on what they look like or where they come from.”
More than twenty organizations wrote a statement to DeSantis claiming that “black and brown voters work longer hours and live in larger households, making changes like eliminating 24-hour mailboxes and limiting help with ballot delivery barriers.” In other words, in their view, the law would restrict their right to vote.
However, the bill strengthens voter ID, a highly contentious issue in last year’s presidential election.
“Me signing this bill here says, ‘Florida, your vote counts. Your vote is going to cast with integrity and transparency, and this is a great place for democracy,'” the governor said.
DeSantis signed this bill with the understanding that Florida is a pivotal state for the upcoming elections because of its successful handling of the pandemic, its frontal battle against Big Tech and the Chinese influence in the country, but above all, because the Hispanic population in that state is very important because of its size and economy.