DeSantis: Class Warrior

The common narrative about Ron DeSantis sees him as Trump without Trump’s likability. Having read Desantis’s memoir, Courage to be Free, I see he’s Trump with ideology.

Trump tapped into a populist movement that was up for grabs, folks who are right-wing on culture and left-of-center on economics. Trump doesn’t show signs he thinks this through much. He’s an entertainer that shoots from his hip with a sense of how to read a crowd.

In contrast, DeSantis is a thinker. Reading his memoir, which is of course a campaign book, tells me he has studied the realignment in the Republican Party, extrapolated its underlying ideology, and hitched his political wagon to it.

Desantis understands, his enemy is not the left – it’s America’s upper class.

The United States has been increasingly captive to an arrogant, stale, and failed ruling class. Over the years, these elites empowered the Chinese Communist Party by granting China “most favored nation” trade status (to the detriment of America’s industrial base). They supported military adventurism around the world without clear objectives or prospect for victory, indulged in social engineering regarding home ownership that set the foundation for a major financial crisis and the taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street banks…

You’d find the same thing in any book by Bernie Sanders. However, DeSantis goes on to say things critical of the cultural values of America’s upper class that would not make sense to Sanders’s affluent supporters. Ron DeSantis is not just a class warrior on economics. He’s a cultural class warrior that knows who his enemy is the: “coastal, college-educated, self-appointed elite.”

A good chunk of today’s Republican Party exists as the movement the far-left has dreamed about, a blue-collar party that takes on the bourgeoisie. The problem with Western Marxism, however, is that it’s based on America’s academic campuses which are filled with privileged students, not the industrial campuses filled with the proletariat.

DeSantis gets all this on a level beyond Trump’s capacity for systemic thinking. DeSantis would be a far more effective president in achieving these Alt-Right policies. The problem for Desantis is that America’s proletariat is not prone to systemic thinking either. People that work with their hands tend to connect with candidates on a gut level. They won’t be reading Desantis’s well-written memoir.

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of We were winning when I was there.