According to Rick Wilson a former Republican strategist who became an anti-Trumpster, “Ron DeSantis (the governor of Florida) is the undisputed king of the culture war in America now.” I find that comment sickeningly shocking. It is sickening because I fear Wilson is right. In addition to advancing his Don’t Say Gay legislation now he is accusing the Disney Corporation, an icon in America and Florida in particular, of being guilty of pedophile grooming. Again this is part of the right-wing hysteria about protecting children from perverts and liberals. He is making it illegal in Florida to criticize the country for slavery just because it makes some white people uncomfortable, when they ought to be uncomfortable for their country. As if you can pretend that racism–even the most vicious form of racism, namely slavery, never happened. Now he has passed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country.
Those are pretty big pillars in the Kulture war in America. And according to Wilson that makes DeSantis the king of the war. No other conservative in America, even Donald Trump can claim a collection of scalps like that. He is doing this, says Wilson, because he and his advisors have determined that this is the way to the Republican nomination for President in 2024. Can he even defeat the Trumpster-in-Chief?
As if that is not enough, Wilson says, “The only thing the Republican base now cares about is the Kulture War.” When Wilson was a Republican strategist they did have a coherent ideology whether you agreed with it or not: limited government, individual freedom, free markets, and the rule of law. They were never evenly applied but they were real policies. But as Wilson said, “at least the principle of the Republican Party wasn’t lets try burn down Walt Disney because they are secretly trying to groom children for a pedophile ring under the Magic Kingdom.” At least in those days, unlike now, their principle did not require the complete abandonment of reason and truth.
According to Rick Wilson, “This craziness which has infected the party is very much what Ron DeSantis is running on.” The base of course loves this. No doubt many other Republicans will jump on this band wagon for the upcoming mid-term elections.
DeSantis who grew up in Florida, went to the Navy, went to Yale, and became a graduate of Harvard Law School as a result of which he was viewed as a classic conservative and a serious politician. At least until recently that was true. Now he has been downing crazy pills. Of course the current Republican Party has very little room for serious conservatives. The current Republican Party is deeply ensconced in FantasyLand.
Wilson believes DeSantis has moved so far into LaLaLand because of the influence of Christina Pushaw. She is deep Alt-right and she is very ambitious and influential in the Republican Party in Florida. To her trolling and the social war stuff is all that matters, says Wilson. According to Wilson, she helped transform DeSantis into an “alt-right, trolling, cultural warrior of the first degree.” He is now Trump’s main contender. There are a number of Republicans who are trying to be “Trump without all the warts. Or Trump without all the moral and cognitive deficits.” A lot of those candidates vying for Trumps leadership position have said they would deliver “Trump without all the crazy stuff, but it turns out many of them want the crazy stuff.”
According to Wilson,
“Because of Pushaw in the most distilled and perfect form, the conspiracy theory QAnon aspect of the Republican Party today requires that they be constantly poked and stimulated with terrifying imaginary demons. Whether it’s critical race theory or pedophile groomers or big tech or anything of the things they imagine are going to destroy their lives, he has become incredibly adept at framing these things so that only he can deal with. That is the same thing we heard in 2015 and 2016 from Trump. ‘Only I can fix it…Only I will be the avatar of your rage and anger.”
These Kultural War appeals are powerful to the working class of Florida, says Wilson. I think this is what politics is now all about in the US. The Kulture wars are supreme. Nothing else matters (except inflation).