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REPORTAGE.Midterms 2022: Ron de Santis, governor of Florida “adored” by his voters and main Republican rival of Donald Trump for the White House

REPORTAGE.Midterms 2022: Ron de Santis, governor of Florida "adored" by his voters and main Republican rival of Donald Trump for the White House

A light rain falls on Florida. The looks are ecstatic. This is the third meeting of the day for Ron De Santis. “Everyone in America knows who Ron De Santis is. We love him. He makes Florida the best place to live,” enthused a woman in the audience. Ron De Santis, the incumbent governor of Florida, is seeking re-election in the midterm elections on November 8, 2022.

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He took this state from the Democrats in 2018, with the support of Donald Trump, and has since become one of the most prominent politicians in the country. This serious Republican pretender to the White House makes Florida the example of what the United States could become if he were elected president in 2024. Florida, yesterday still a pivotal state, is now a state almost lost for the Democrats. In four years, the Republican Party has seen the number of its members soar. Pine Hills, a middle-class suburb of Orlando, was once Democratic-claimed land. But this year, Aristide, a Haitian immigrant chose to vote De Santis.

“Economy-wise, Florida is a stable state. This guy [Ron de Santis] ? He’s the best governor in the country.”

Aristide, Haitian immigrant

No vaccination obligation and almost no confinement: the management of the pandemic allowed Ron De Santis to conquer Florida, and little by little, the whole of the United States. “One thing you have to understand with De Santis is that he’s very good at spotting problems elsewhere, and sees how it would be in Florida, explains Suzanne MacAnnus, professor of political science in Tampa. He’s looking at what’s buzzing in the country, he’s looking at how to capitalize on that in Florida, and because it’s Florida, it’s got him the attention of the whole country.”

An assumed proximity to the lobby ultra-conservative

Making parents his core target, Ron De Santis launched the rewriting of school curricula, under the leadership of the Heritage Foundation. An ultra-conservative and climate-skeptical lobby, which denounces Wokism, racial issues, homosexuality, gender theories, and questions the separation of Church and State. The “woke” current is the ultimate threat for Ron de Santis, who has made it the subject of a specific law. It is supported by the Mums for Liberty, a powerful lobby of parents, who denounce – without fear of exaggeration or inaccuracy – the dangers of the education system. “In kindergarten, they are told that they can be a boy or a girl indifferently. In 6th grade, they are told about fellatio and anal sex, and all that can be done is monstrous! exclaims horrified, Tina Descovitch one of its co-founders. And in 9th grade, we teach them about abortion, and how it happens… And the parents don’t even know it!” In the United States, the conservative organization, born in Florida, now has more than 100,000 members in two years of existence.

Last summer, Ron De Santis made Florida headlines by creating a national controversy with migrants. He reduced abortion times from 24 to 15 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. His management of the aftermath of the terrible hurricane Ian, last month, allowed him to show his managerial capacities. His popularity now makes him the main rival of Donald Trump, his former mentor.

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