The Guardian

Governor’s extremism in office may put White House out of reach, opponents say

- Richard Luscombe

Minority groups trampled by Ron DeSantis during his march towards a White House run are warning of democracy in peril at a national level.

The Republican governor’s announceme­nt that he was seeking his party’s 2024 presidenti­al nomination provoked a renewed promise of resistance from transgende­r rights advocates, immigrant organisati­ons, and civil and voting rights groups in Florida, who have borne the brunt of his extremist policies and legislatio­n.

Anna Eskamani, a Democratic state congresswo­man for central Florida, said: “It will only get worse if Governor DeSantis gets anywhere near the White House. We’re here to not only hold the line and fight back, but to be that canary in the coalmine, reminding the people of this great country how dangerous Ron DeSantis really is.”

Activists say DeSantis’s assault on transgende­r rights – especially the so-called don’t say gay law, which prohibits classroom discussion­s of gender identity and sexual orientatio­n, and which sparked a feud with the state’s largest private employer, Disney – offers a glimpse of his plan.

The “Florida blueprint” that is DeSantis’s vision for the future of the US is, they say, a culture-war bible peppered with extremist policies such as a six-week state abortion ban .

“Let our struggle be a warning to the nation. If you give Ron DeSantis the keys to the Oval Office, you will find yourself in the crosshairs too,” said Brandon Wolf, the press secretary of Equality Florida. “He will ban books about your families. He will strip your children of the healthcare that they need. He will put himself between you and your doctor when you’re making difficult decisions about your own body.

“He will empower his rightwing base to terrorise you in public restrooms and yes, he will also punish your business if you so much as whisper your disagreeme­nt into your pillow if we do not stop him.”

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