The ongoing conflict between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney and his fight against the “woke” movement can potentially alienate the GOP when he needs as much support as possible.
The left, and some on the right, seem to feel that DeSantis’ move to target Disney after the company objected to his so-called “don’t say gay” bill has backfired on the governor, and many establishment Republicans have condemned him for it.
However, he has continued to push through measures that target education and the LGBTQ+ population, including the banning of select literature in schools, while receiving some blowback from the right for signing a law that would ban abortions after six weeks.
Kellyanne Conway, who once served as Trump’s advisor in the White House, recently told Fox anchor Larry Kudlow that fighting “woke” is no substitute for economic plans.
University College London’s Center on U.S. Politics director Thomas Gift, on the other hand, has claimed that DeSantis’ brand is a harsh stance on “woke” and that his supporters are “lapping it up” as he continues to fight the cultural wars.
Since Disney stepped out against HB 1557, which prohibits the topic of sexual orientation and gender identity in some grades in Florida schools, DeSantis has been at battle with the entertainment giant.
DeSantis later revoked Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District protections, which had allowed the company to function autonomously for 50 years.
Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, the board DeSantis appointed to govern Walt Disney World, revealed in March that Reedy Creek signed a deal with Disney that gave the company control of its development rights and special privileges weeks before the governor signed a bill giving the state control of the land.
Trump, widely expected to face off against DeSantis in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, ridiculed the governor on Truth Social, claiming that he had been “outplayed, outsmarted, and embarrassed by Mickey Mouse and Disney.”
According to FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls, Trump currently has a 49.3 percent to 26.2 percent advantage over DeSantis in a made-up 2024 Republican primary. However, political scientist Gift argued that DeSantis still has a chance to become the culture fighter the GOP needs.