The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black


DeSantis has made a name for himself nationally as governor of Florida, leading a new wave of conservatism highlighted by restrictions against LGBTQ+ individuals and government regulation of school curriculum. DeSantis has led Florida’s transition from a swing state to a distinctly red state, winning his elections by margins much greater than pollsters predicted. He has been described as being the alternative to Trump — supporting very similar policies to Trump without carrying the legal baggage.

Key Issues:

Abortion: Signed a six-week ban in Florida and has indicated support for a 15-week national ban.

Climate Change: Dismisses concerns about climate change, saying that he rejects “the politicization of the weather.” Said that he believes human activity is one of many factors contributing to a changing climate and vows to “unleash our domestic energy sector” using fossil fuels.

Ukraine War: Said that the war is not a vital U.S. interest and the U.S. should stop sending military aid to Ukraine. Endorsed a cease-fire, claiming that Europe needs to do more to end the violence.

Immigration: Said he will introduce a policy that includes mass deportations and license to kill some border crossers. Vows to end birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants and finish building the border wall by taxing the money migrants send home.

Trump Investigation: Alleges that the justice system is corrupt and said that he would consider pardoning Trump. Claims that Trump acted inappropriately but is facing unfair trials.

China: Claims that China is “the number one geopolitical threat this country faces” and wants to end normal trade relations. Banned TikTok, a Chinese-owned company, from government and school-issued devices in Florida. Signed a law barring some Chinese citizens from purchasing land near critical infrastructure.

Economic Policy: Said that he would implement a flat tax in place of the current system, which would allow most citizens to pay the same rate regardless of income. Proposed eliminating the Internal Revenue Service.

Transgender Rights: Enacted a law in Florida that bans transition care for minors and heavily restricts it for adults. Signed a law criminalizing transgender people’s use of bathrooms matching their identity. Banned instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in schools K-12.

Social Security and Medicare: Said he would consider Social Security cuts for younger Americans if life expectancy increases. 

Israel: Said that the U.S. must stand with Israel, and that Israel “not only has the right to defend itself against these attacks, it has a duty to respond with overwhelming force.” 

Democracy: Signed laws that introduced more eligibility requirements for voting in Florida and has largely avoided the question of whether the 2020 election was fair.

Education: Wants to eliminate the Department of Education and implement school-choice programs nationwide. Implemented significant restrictions regarding instruction on race and gender in Florida, but claims he would not pursue ideological restrictions nationwide. Banned Florida schools from teaching an Advanced Placement course on African American history.

Health Care: Voted numerous times to repeal the Affordable Care Act while in Congress. Vows to pursue legislation that would supersede Obamacare and calls for the lowering of prescription drug costs, but has not indicated what his policy would entail.

Key Endorsements:

DeSantis received endorsements from two governors, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and five House Republicans. Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader in Iowa who commands a significant following among one of Iowa’s largest voting blocs, also extended a highly coveted endorsement to DeSantis.


The DeSantis campaign had raised $31 million and had $12 million cash on hand as of October 2023 campaign disclosure reports. Between Jan. 1, 2023 and Jan. 7, 2024, DeSantis’ campaign and super PACs spent $15.53 million on ads in Iowa.


DeSantis is polling at 16%, according to the Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll released on Jan. 13.

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