(RNS) — In a current campaign speech, Florida Man Prime Ron DeSantis defined his concept on why individuals transfer to his state thusly: “The woke agenda has brought about thousands and thousands of Individuals to depart these jurisdictions for greener pastures. Now this nice exodus of Individuals, for these of us, Florida, for therefore lots of them, has served because the promised land.”
I do not know if this suspiciously messianic concept is true or not, however I do suppose a model of it’s true for the evangelical voting bloc. However as an alternative of fleeing the woke agenda, they’re fleeing Trumpism’s whitewater raft for the relative calm of the Good Ship DeSantis. Simply look what number of evangelical MAGA guys went finger-wagging-schoolmarm on former President Donald Trump for daring to slur the Florida governor as “DeSanctimonious.” They will excuse racism however draw the road at DeSantis slander, apparently.
You get the sense that the non secular proper sees Trump as both a helpful fool who has served his objective or an getting old ace who’s lost his fastball. I wouldn’t be so fast to rely Trump out, personally, however don’t be stunned if a nonnegligible chunk of white evangelicals joins DeSantis’ nice exodus to the promised land.
Primarily based on early outcomes from Tuesday’s midterms, that does appear like the all-around safer political wager. DeSantis steamrolled his opponent in what’s allegedly a swing state, whereas Trump-backed candidates bought KO’d from coast to coast. Admittedly, DeSantis is about as charismatic as a field of sand, however that is perhaps a part of the attraction. No Stormy Daniels. No FBI raids. No church photograph ops with an the wrong way up Bible. Simply customary conservative insurance policies and some alternative culture-war bombs.
That is doubtlessly a potent cocktail, and DeSantis would possibly carry white evangelicals’ electoral targets additional than Trump ever might and even wished to. Can’t say I’m thrilled concerning the prospect.
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For starters, when DeSantis does select to go tradition struggle, he lumbers about it like a kind of animals who by chance bought drunk on fermented fruits. He picked a struggle with Disney World over LGBTQ equality and kidnapped a bunch of refugees so he might ship them off on a shock journey to Martha’s Winery. Looks like a reliable opposition social gathering might have made much more noise about these items. However I digress.
No matter function stunts like this performed in bolstering DeSantis’ nationwide determine as a conservative tradition warrior, what it tells us about him as an individual is extra essential. It’s not simply that this reveals his spite for homosexual youngsters or migrants, but additionally that it reveals how little their humanity issues to him. He pushed these individuals — individuals made within the picture of God — round like pawns on a chessboard. Perhaps DeSantis truly hates their guts. Perhaps he simply likes the optics of trying such as you hate the correct of individuals. It involves the identical factor.
You see loads of By no means Trump conservatives and even a great variety of liberals pining for the times of Reagan, Bush and McCain, and these individuals appear to see DeSantis as a ticket again to that kind of Republican “normalcy.” As for me, I don’t care that DeSantis refrains from grabbing pussies if he’s additionally making life depressing for homosexual youngsters. I don’t care that he refrains from calling different international locations sh-tholes if he’d nonetheless slightly the individuals in them drop useless earlier than coming to the Southern border.
Censoring swear phrases doesn’t change the track — it simply makes it protected for the minivan.
Or for the church, which might be the objective right here. Final week, DeSantis raised some eyebrows with a new campaign ad, an advert that appears to say the Almighty created DeSantis particularly for the great individuals of Florida. In line with the advert, on the eighth day of creation, “God appeared down on his deliberate paradise and stated, ‘I want a protector.’ So God made a fighter.” The fighter is DeSantis, after all, who will “save their jobs, their livelihoods, their liberty, their happiness.”
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It’s fairly goofy, even by the requirements of political adverts. Some critics tied the advert to Christian nationalist sentiment, which is honest, however I feel it’s slightly an excessive amount of of an apparent riff to land as honest.
Extra telling is a line DeSantis has used all through his reelection marketing campaign that didn’t entice a lot consideration. He quoted Ephesians 6, saying “Placed on the complete armor of God, so to take your stand towards the satan’s schemes.” Besides DeSantis modified “the satan’s schemes” to “the left’s schemes.”
That’s fairly darkish, and I’d wish to suppose a number of the Very Critical Conservatives who see DeSantis as conservatism’s ticket again to being Very Critical would mirror on a number of the implications right here.
Both DeSantis is just not a lot a return to a kinder, gentler period of the non secular proper, or the non secular proper was by no means all that sort and delicate to start with.
(Tyler Huckabee is a author at present residing in Paris together with his spouse and canine. This text was initially printed at his Substack, the place you possibly can learn extra of his writing. Or for each thought that comes into his head, discover him on Twitter. This column doesn’t essentially mirror the views of Faith Information Service.)