DeSantis takes crusade against ‘woke ideology’ to Pennsylvania, Ohio as he rallies for GOP candidates

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference
John Raoux/Associated Press
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) railed against “woke ideology” and touched on familiar culture war issues like critical race theory (CRT) and the participation of transgender women and girls in sports as he campaigned for Republicans in the key swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

DeSantis traveled first to Pittsburgh to campaign for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano (R) and later Youngstown, Ohio, to rally with Republican Senate hopeful J.D. Vance. Both events were organized by Turning Point Action.

The rallies come amid increasing speculation that he’s eyeing a 2024 presidential bid. The Florida governor has waded into races in other battleground states, including Arizona and Nevada. Ohio and Pennsylvania, in addition to holding key Senate contests this year are considered crucial swing states in presidential elections.

DeSantis has also been leaning into national culture war issues in Florida, raising his profile among the Republican Party’s conservative base.

“I think in Florida, and we need this to be true in Pennsylvania, around the country, we can’t just stand idly by while woke ideology ravages every institution in our society,” DeSantis said in Pennsylvania.

“We must fight the woke in our schools. We must fight the woke in our businesses. We must fight the woke in government agencies. We can never ever surrender to woke ideology. And I’ll tell you this, the state of Florida is where woke goes to die,” he continued to cheers from the audience.

DeSantis touted wins in his state, including how he went head-to-head with school districts over mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic and banned “vaccine passports,” a reference to proof of vaccination was required in other areas of the country for entry in spaces, though it didn’t stop some businesses from seeking to implement them anyway.

He also talked about his more recent move to suspend Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren (D), claiming he was not fulfilling his duties by declining to prosecute gender-affirming procedures or abortion cases.

During his speech, he invoked the names of former Presidents John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, and Republican Ronald Reagan.

“I mean, I just think back to some of the other presidents we have and think about like John Kennedy, you think, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ You think about President Reagan, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’ When I think of Biden, I think of him staring like a deer in the headlight,” DeSantis said.

He said during his speech in Ohio that a “mind virus called woke ideology” is “infecting” various different institutions like schools, sports and Big Tech.

“I think that we need people in Florida, Ohio, all across the country to say we are not going to let this woke mob virus run over our institutions,” he said.

He specifically spoke against gender-affirming care for transgender youth, saying that doctors who provide such care should be able to be sued.

DeSantis also in Ohio reiterated his pledge to “fight woke” in classrooms, businesses and government agencies. “We’re not going to surrender to woke,” he said.

DeSantis himself is running for reelection in Florida. The state will next week be holding its primaries, which will decide which Democrat will take him on in November. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections 2022 midterms culture war Doug Mastriano J.D. Vance J.D. Vance Ohio Pennsylvania Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis
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