Since being elected governor of Florida in 2018, Ron DeSantis has sought to build a coalition of Republicans, Independents, and MAGA supporters. However, the governor’s bold leadership and aggressive agenda has alienated many of the moderates in the state. These moderates had helped DeSantis win the gubernatorial election in a close victory. As a result, the coalition that DeSantis worked so hard to build has been weakened.
DeSantis’s victory in 2018 was a surprise to many. He ran as a strong conservative, but won the support of moderate and independent voters. He was seen as the antithesis to the “establishment Republican” primary opponent, Adam Putnam. With his victory, DeSantis sought to solidify the coalition he had built during his campaign.
But since his election, DeSantis has become increasingly strident and confrontational in his politics. He has repeatedly clashed with the Florida Supreme Court, and has pushed through controversial policies such as establishing Florida’s first “religious freedom” bill. His hardline stance often alienates the moderates, who view DeSantis as a far-right ideologue.
DeSantis’s MAGA supporters, on the other hand, have been pleased with his agenda. But even these die-hard supporters have been dismayed by the governor’s recent actions. His signature legislation, a revamp of the Florida education system, has been widely panned as a corporate giveaway. As a result, the governor’s MAGA coalition may be starting to tire of DeSantis’s leadership.
The weakening of DeSantis’s coalition has become increasingly apparent in recent polls. A recent survey found that the governor’s approval rating had slipped below 50%, a sign of eroding support. With both his moderate and MAGA supporters increasingly dissatisfied, it remains to be seen if DeSantis can rebuild the coalition he needs to remain successful in Florida.