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'Make America Florida' — How Ron DeSantis Is Far More Dangerous Than Trump & Might Be Our Next President

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

"My wife and I are not gonna do the masks with the kids, we never have,” Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has said — or “Death Santis” as some like to call him. “I wanna see my kids smiling.”

And by "see my kids smiling," he does mean without the protection of masks. People can't smile when they're dead, Gov. DeSantis. Thousands of people dying might be a good enough reason to tell "the kids" to keep their smiles to themselves.

It's the kind of science-denying logic that anyone would think we'd left behind in the last presidential administration but Donald Trump has left a residing influence over American politics and DeSantis seems to be gearing up with follow in his footsteps.

Will Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis be the next President Trump?

DeSantis is certainly taking a leaf out of Trump's book in his approach to Covid, transgender rights and racial justice. But could he be even more dangerous?

RELATED: Can Donald Trump Run In 2024 If He Loses The Election?

DeSantis is downplaying the pandemic.

Florida’s COVID-19 resurgence is undeniable — but DeSantis doesn't seem to care. Newly reported cases have more than doubled over the past two weeks, hitting a seven-day average of over 17,500 cases.

How is DeSantis planning to "take action"? By issuing an executive order that bans schools from implementing mask mandates to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said of the decision. “Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies.”

Many people have suffered — or are currently suffering — because they've lost their loved ones to this deathly virus. But ok, Death Santis, think of the "healthy" children.

Now listen, Trump wasn't exactly a role model for Covid-19 prevention but his inconsistency in his approach to mask mandates may have saved at least a couple of lives.

Occasionally calling mask-wearing a "patriotic thing to do" and claiming to have urged Americans to wear them — whether or not he actually did this successfully is another issue — Trump at least entertained mask effectiveness, albeit briefly.

DeSantis, meanwhile, thinks that following safety precautions is a “parent’s right to choose,” meanwhile the CDC recommends that all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in K-12 schools mask indoors.

"It's very unfortunate that the leadership here in the state is not stepping up to the plate," State Representative Angie Nixon said, "We can't play politics with people's lives, and that's what's happening now."

This wouldn't be the first time Florida citizens have criticized their governor for "playing politics with people's lives."

RELATED: Why Tucker Carlson Thinks You Should Call Child Protective Services On Parents Of Kids Wearing Masks

DeSantis is passing anti-trans laws.

On the first day of 2021 Pride Month, DeSantis signed a bill to bar transgender women athletes from playing on public high school teams.

"In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports, and boys are going to play boys sports," DeSantis said as he signed the bill into law. "We're going to make sure that that's the reality."

By "girls" playing "girls sports" he means only cis women are allowed to play for "girls teams," completely disregarding the identity of trans kids who want to keep smiling, too.

The measure ensures a transgender student-athlete can't participate in school sports without first showing a birth certificate saying she was assigned female at birth.

It's not clear, however, if all female atheletes must do this or just girls who are having their gender questioned by peers or schools. The bill also allows students to sue if a school allows a transgender girl to play on a team with biological females.

The language around this bill is offensive and obscene. Why on earth would a transgender woman need to show her birth certificate to play soccer? Especially when she knows her right to be herself will be denied.

Transgender kids deserve the right to smile too, Governor DeSantis.

“All Floridians will have to face the consequences of this anti-transgender legislation,” said Alphonso David, the President of the Human Rights Campaign, “including economic harm, expensive taxpayer-funded legal battles, and a tarnished reputation.”

DeSantis is taking a leaf straight out of the book of former President Trump — who restricted a series of employment and healthcare protections for transgender people during his reign of terror.

But given that President Biden rolled back many of Trump's anti-trans laws, it seems particularly concerning that DeSantis is continuing the anti-trans fight.

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Florida banned schools from teaching Critical Race Theory.

The Florida State Board of Education unanimously approved an amendment that bans the instruction of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools.

DeSantis appointed a fair amount of the board and came to bat for the amendment.

"Critical Race Theory teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other. It is state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools," DeSantis claimed betraying his misunderstanding of the theory.

He claimed that CRT would teach the smiling kids that the United States “is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate. That is not worth any taxpayer dollars.”

The amendment states that instruction on required topics “must be factual and objective” and “may not suppress or distort significant historical events.”

Trump may have banned CRT from racial sensitivity training in many federal agencies but DeSantis is starting 'em young and ensuring no one has an education on systemic racism in childhood.

DeSantis has pushed back against the BLM movement.

DeSantis signed anti-riot legislation hours before Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of George Floyd.

“It is the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country. There’s just nothing even close,” DeSantis said, "We're not going to let the mob win the day."

Mob is an insanely derogatory way to refer to Black Lives Matter activists and people protesting police brutality and the murder of George Floyd.

Though it's not dissimilar to Trump refering to these activists as thugs and sending in the National Guard — DeSantis' bill has dangerous lasting consequences.

Not only did DeSantis avoid any possible riot after Chauvin's conviction, he may have prevented any extreme reaction to future killings of Black people by police officers, which could suppress BLM activism in Florida.

Speaking of racist action, he's also signed a major voter suppression bill that will limit drop ballot boxes, restrict who can drop off ballots and generally make the process of voting by mail much more complicated.

These kinds of rules are documented to disproportionately target communities of color.

Senator Shervin Jones said, "This blatant voter suppression is Jim Crow 2.0 and will make it harder for voters — from low-income rural white communities to the elderly to communities of color — to have their voices heard."

Will DeSantis run for president in 2024?

DeSantis is positioning himself to push Trump's agenda without being Trump himself.

Looks like Donald Trump isn't the only right-wing politician to be afraid of in the next presidential election. Though his run is unconfirmed, things are looking good — read: bad — for the Florida governor.

He was even a favorite among Western Conservative Summit attendees in June, winning 275 votes over Trump's 265 when people were asked who they would approve in 2024.

DeSantis supporters are starting to use the hashtag #MakeAmericaFlorida to back DeSantis.

DeSantis, the guy who wants to see the kids smiling, unless they're oppressed.

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Izzy Casey is a writer who covers pop culture for YourTango. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has been published in The Iowa Review, BOAAT, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, The Columbia Review, and New York Tyrant.