Trump vs. DeSantis: A Tournament of Radicals

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

With the entry of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis into the fight for the Republican nomination against Donald Trump, the conservative race will become a tournament of anti-immigrant and xenophobic candidates.

On May 10, Mother’s Day for Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans, DeSantis signed into law one of the most draconian anti-immigrant legislation, Florida Senate Bill 1718, which goes into effect on July 1.

In the words of Ron DeSantis, the initiative seeks to “combat the dangerous effects of illegal immigration caused by the reckless border policies of the federal government,” by applying the following measures:

  • Legislation makes the use of E-Verify mandatory for any employer with 25 or more employees
  • Imposes enforceable penalties for those who employ illegal aliens and raises penalties for people smuggling
  • Prohibits local governments from issuing identification cards to undocumented aliens
  • Voids identification cards issued to illegal aliens in other states and;
  • Requires hospitals to collect and report data on the costs of providing medical care to illegal aliens.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the country, is considering a federal lawsuit against Ron DeSantis and is warning Latinos traveling in Florida with family members to be careful if they encounter the police.

“We do not doubt that if Abuelita or Tía are with us and we are profiled, DeSantis’ application regulations will treat us as criminals, transporting a ‘dangerous person’ who only wanted to visit family or enjoy Disneyworld,” warns the president of LULAC, Domingo Garcia.

But that is not all. DeSantis has destined a culture war where there is no room for minorities or anyone who does not agree with his conservative ideology.

Ron DeSantis has already signed a bill banning abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy; criminalized medical care for transgender minors; established the “Don’t Say Gay” law in schools; it facilitated the execution of those sentenced to death, authorized the concealed carrying of weapons in public without the need for a license and, as we know, unleashed a war against the Disney company with adverse consequences for job creation in the entertainment industry.

With that political agenda, Ron DeSantis wants to be president of all Americans.

But it’s not all bad news. As Henry J. Gómez publishes in an interesting report for NBC News: Not all states in the country want to be like Florida. Several Republican governors have made it clear to Ron DeSantis that they do not agree with his ideas and that Florida is not his model country. And that, in this toxic environment, is a ray of hope.

Ultimately, it will be the Republican militants who decide who will represent them in the 2024 presidential elections. And it will be up to Latino voters to decide which of the two parties best represents their principles and aspirations. The answer is obvious.