‘Beacon of freedom’ or ‘Loudocracy’? How Florida became culture war central

Patrik Jonsson in The Christian Science Monitor:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is both a Trump follower and possible Trump opponent, as he’s declined to say whether he’d face off against the former president for the 2024 GOP nomination. He’s pushed through a number of state bills that deal with hot button partisan issues, such as the recently enacted Parental Rights in Education, dubbed by critics the “don’t say gay” law, that bans school teaching of sexual topics deemed non-age-appropriate. Florida is “becoming redder all the time, and it has a very arch-conservative edge – a culture war edge,” says Orlando-based historian James Clark, author of “Hidden History of Florida.”

In some ways, Florida – the land of the hanging chads, the bits of paper that dangled from Florida ballots and were a centerpiece of the disputed 2000 presidential election – remains a tightly contested battleground state. Political scientists call Florida voters a “rootless electorate” whose preferences can switch back and forth relatively quickly. Yet as the nation’s third-most-populous state, its bare-knuckled rightward swing has been unmistakable, wobbling the nation’s political gyroscope. The best-known governor in the country may now be Mr. DeSantis, a Harvard and Yale grad who served as a judge advocate general at Guantánamo Bay.

More here.