DeSantis attended Yale University, majoring in History. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005. He would then join the Navy, working in the JAG unit ( Navy’s legal unit) working as a prosecutor. DeSantis would then move to Guantanamo Bay, working with detainees.
What work he did with detainees is classified, but a former captive claimed that DeSantis oversaw the beating and force-feedings of captives. DeSantis would continue to move around in the Navy to various other groups working as a legal advisor and attorney before being honorably discharged from active duty in 2010. He would take on a Lieutenant position in the reserves until 2019. DeSantis would run and win Florida’s 6th Congressional District.
His time in Congress is marked by social & fiscal conservatism, voting against gun control measures, attacking Barrack Obama’s immigration policy, and receiving a zero(0) rating from the Human Rights Campaign on LGBTQ legislation.
DeSantis ran for the Governor’s office in 2018, piggybacking off Donald Trump’s rise to the Presidency. In a narrow victory of just 0.4%, DeSantis defeated Andrew Gilliam, a once-promising figure in the Democratic party.
As Governor, DeSantis led the Republican approach to Covid-19, making the virus more about freedom than safety. He continued leading the Republican charge in culture war issues, opposing Critical Race Theory, “wokeness”, and LGBTQ “agenda.”
This has led to his increased popularity with Republicans across the nation, boosting his popularity for his reelection campaign in 2022 where he won against former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, winning by 19%.
DeSantis is a hard-right conservative. Economically, he has reduced spending in the state’s budget while maintaining taxes. Socially, he is extremely conservative. He has continued his strong opposition to the LGBTQ, infamously signing the “Don’t Say Gay” law, and then expanding the restrictions from K-3 to K-12.
DeSantis is anti-abortion, signing a bill that made abortions illegal after 15 weeks unless the fetus has an abnormality or the mother’s life is at risk. The ban is more restrictive than in other states as it does not include exceptions for rape, human trafficking, incest, or mental health.
When it comes to immigration, DeSantis is anti-asylum seekers taking refuge in the United States.
DeSantis’s campaign started off with a disaster as he announced his candidacy on Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk, as the Twitter Space kept crashing and the Q&A portion focused more on Musk rather than DeSantis. DeSantis was favored heading into the primary.
His time as Governor boosted him to a rising star in the Republican party. Currently, DeSantis is sitting at 19.8%, putting him in second place but a distant second place to Trump. As a result, DeSantis is attacking Trump in an attempt to make up ground in the polls, DeSantis’s campaign ads regularly attack Trump. He has tried to associate Trump with the LGBTQ community.
However, the large pool of candidates is seemingly hurting DeSantis, while Trump has remained unaffected. In early 2023, polls had DeSantis in the mid-30s compared to Trump’s 50%. DeSantis’s campaign met the requirements for the Republican debate primary in August.
Whether or not he can make up the gap after other candidates drop out or will DeSantis come up short against Trump.