Will DeSantis Fight, and for Whom?

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit notes that Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, may soon have to take a stand on an issue that can severely damage his chances for reelection, not to mention his presidential prospects:

Cropped from an image by Urbantallahassee, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
He recently signed a bill into law that bans abortion in Florida after 15 weeks, a shrewd compromise that places him and the GOP in the sweet spot of national opinion on the subject. Most voters are willing to allow abortions in the first trimester but are open to meaningful restrictions after that. That's exactly what Florida's new regime does, befitting a state that's still purplish. It makes sense in the context of DeSantis's reelection campaign too. He's earned some goodwill from Democratic voters there for keeping schools and businesses open during the pandemic. He doesn't want to make any false moves months away from Election Day that might spook them, like signing a total ban on abortion into law.

But does he have a choice? If the state legislature puts a total ban on his desk, what will he do?

He should start thinking about it. The rumblings have begun. [link omitted, bold added]
Allahpundit correctly notes that no matter what DeSantis does in such a situation, he stands to lose political capital.

DeSantis has so far seemed the heir apparent to the kind of voters Donald Trump has attracted to the Republican Party, in part due to his reputation as a "fighter," and he has certainly proved happy to assume that mantle. Those of us who have been disappointed with this turn of events over the past couple of years might be tempted to heave a sigh of relief.

That would be premature, because circumstances in Florida appear to be favorable for DeSantis to be able to pander to the theocrats, and yet conveniently have his hands tied:
DeSantis's ideal solution would be to wait 'til next year, I assume. Stick with the 15-week ban until he's safely reelected, then move to satisfy righties in 2023 with a total ban knowing there's nothing Democrats can do to punish him at that point. But I don't know if he can afford to wait. Dragging his feet on a total ban would also leave him open to attacks by 2024 rivals.

There's another complicating factor: The Florida Constitution. Section 23 of that document's Declaration of Rights reads, "Right of privacy. -- Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life except as otherwise provided herein." The standard pro-life argument against Roe, that there's no "right of privacy" in the U.S. Constitution, isn't true in Florida thanks to the state Constitution. And yes, ... the Florida Supreme Court has already interpreted their state's constitutional right of privacy to encompass abortion. [links omitted, bold added]
The rest of the post explains how this could work in the governor's favor.

So DeSantis, who am sure would happily enact a complete ban on abortion if he could and he thought it would help him get or keep power, might slip through the cracks long enough to be in a position to do exactly this as President.

But I could be wrong. Perhaps DeSantis himself is closer to where most Americans are. If so, he could well have an excellent opportunity to establish himself as his own man, and to show that he will fight for what he thinks is right, regardless of who his opponents are.

That's what a true fighter would do, but I'm not holding my breath for that. I think we just have another Trumpian pugilist here, although a bit slicker and with more of a free-market reputation (however undeserved) than the original.

-- CAV

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