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In an opinion piece for MSNBC, columnist Michael A. Cohen launched into a doom-laden warning about the “vindictiveness, cruelty, and demagoguery” of Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., a man he also fretted is “more dangerous” than Donald Trump.
Cohen began his piece with the declaration, “Ron DeSantis is the governor of Florida, a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and quite possibly the most dangerous figure in American politics.”
He then admitted that DeSantis might be worse than President Trump in terms of getting his agenda done.
Cohen explained, “While it’s hard to imagine any politician wresting that title away from Donald Trump, DeSantis brings something to the table that Trump lacks — his ability to translate political vindictiveness, cruelty and demagoguery into policy results.”
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The author pointed out that the “past several weeks” of DeSantis’ political career have been particularly undemocratic and that the rest of the Republican Party may soon follow his lead.
“DeSantis has shown what a politician unmoored from fundamental democratic principles — and intent on waging political warfare — can achieve. It could become a model for Republicans across the country,” he warned, adding that this would end up “expanding Trumpism into alarming new territory.”
Cohen then brought up DeSantis’ recent effort to “curtail voting rights” including his recent signing of legislation that “would create a new security office to investigate allegations of voter fraud.”
The author’s reasoning was that since “there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud” in the state, “we are left with is a series of bills based on a broader Republican pattern of voter intimidation against voters likely to support Democratic candidates.”
Cohen also lamented the fact that DeSantis enacted “limits on mail-in ballot drop boxes, new requirements on voting registration, and even made it more difficult to give food and water to Floridians waiting in line to exercise their franchise.” He has also “rammed through a new congressional map.”
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For the author however, DeSantis isn’t the first “red state Republican to push legislation that would curtail voting rights,” he’s just the most aggressive and thorough about it.
Cohen claimed, “But what separates DeSantis from the pack is the lengths he has also gone to attack, intimidate and ultimately silence his political critics.” He cited DeSantis’ support for anti-rioting legislation and limiting tenure for college professors.
He then mentioned DeSantis’ “coup de grace” – when DeSantis “signed legislation that stripped Disney of the special tax status it has enjoyed for decades.” Cohen called his motivation for this “insidious,” and claimed that it “smacks of authoritarianism.”
He then claimed, “[W]hat makes DeSantis such a uniquely worrying character is that there is seemingly no political sewer into which he won’t wade,” referencing the governor’s “scapegoating” of the LGBTQ community.
Cohen then concluded his warning with a final comparison to Trump, saying, “What he shares with Trump is a vindictive and demagogic streak, unquenchable ambition and a refusal to be weighed down by political norms or democratic traditions,” and that, “Like Trump, his time in office would be marked by repeated attempts to pit Americans against each other.”
But unlike Trump, Cohen explained, “DeSantis has the proven ability to follow through on divisive rhetoric. The complete package, DeSantis represents a terrifying future for America, and by 2025 it could become a reality.”
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