After blowout gubernatorial victory, DeSantis continues to press heavily into U.S. culture wars

Governor has unapologetically taken on hot-button issues while riding wave to re-election.

Updated: January 3, 2023 - 1:21pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

After a resounding re-election victory in the November election, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is delving even further into America's increasingly bitter cultural wars. 

In his initial 2018 race, DeSantis won against Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum by just 0.4%. In his 2022 re-election campaign, the Republican governor carried the race on a landslide, beating Democrat Charlie Crist by nearly 20 points. 

That victory came after four years of DeSantis's nonstop political crusading throughout the state, much of it at the forefront of hot-button cultural issues that many Republicans often opt to avoid.

Most prominent among those subjects has been LGBTQ politics, which DeSantis's office has continued to press.

DeSantis Press Secretary Bryan Griffin said on Twitter in late December the administration was "actively investigating" reports of “a sexually explicit performance marketed to children” in the state, which multiple media outlets said referred to a "drag queen" show where children were allowed to attend.

Elsewhere, the DeSantis administration has moved to outlaw in the state both experimental hormone therapy and irreversible surgeries for minors who identify as "transgender," while in the governor in 2021 also signed a bill that disallowed athletes from choosing sports leagues based upon their perceived "gender identity."

DeSantis also hosted on Twitter in December what he called "a training session for school board members & potential candidates," one he implied would help train candidates to campaign for "parents’ rights & student success."

Recently the governor has pushed aggressively for a more conservative school policy; in March of this year he signed a curriculum transparency bill as well as a bill that forbids teachers from discussing sexual issues with very young students. 

The Republican governor has also been vocal about his intent to see the state pass a "constitutional carry" provision, one that would allow state residents to carry concealed guns without the need for requesting a permit beforehand. 

DeSantis's success could set him up as a formidable potential opponent of former President Donald Trump, who has already signaled his intent to run for the White House again in 2024. 

DeSantis has thus far refrained from revealing whether he will launch a 2024 bid in the next several months. Yet a square-off between the two popular Republican politicians would doubtlessly prove contentious; Trump himself has cultivated a political persona as someone who, like DeSantis, does not shy away from confronting and attacking left-wing politics and values. 

The governor, meanwhile, has indicated that he is intending to carry his political efforts well into the near future in Florida at the very least.

Referring to his school board training session earlier this month, he wrote on Twitter: "I look forward to helping school board candidates in the 2024 cycle!"