The ReidOut Blog

From The ReidOut with Joy Reid

NAACP’s Florida travel advisory highlights DeSantis’ statewide sabotage

Florida’s Republican governor is going scorched earth ahead of a widely expected presidential bid. And his state will pay the price.


Backlash is mounting against Florida over the state’s right-wing laws targeting various marginalized groups. And as the wave builds, potentially threatening Florida’s economy, we’re able to see how Gov. Ron DeSantis’ seeming thirst for the presidency — and his desire to burnish an ultraconservative reputation — is likely to undermine his own state’s interests in the long run. 

On Saturday, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning that the state is “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.”

“Before traveling to Florida,” the NAACP wrote, “please understand that the State of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African Americans and other minorities.”

The advisory follows a similar one recently issued by the group Equality Florida that warned LGBTQ people about Florida’s anti-LGBTQ policies, such as bans on trans health care and school curricula regarding the LGBTQ experience. The League of United Latin American Citizens, an advocacy group for Latinx people, issued a similar warning last week for Latinos, noting Florida’s anti-immigrant policies

The NAACP previously issued a travel advisory for Missouri in 2017, warning Black people about racist laws and policing tactics in the state. And Black individuals devising ways to warn one another about travel destinations wrought with racism isn’t new — see, for instance, The Negro Motorist Green Book from the mid-20th century. 

But the three new advisories, taken together, highlight a reality that ought to disturb people in Florida — not merely those who have thought about traveling there.

As governor, DeSantis has been an overbearing and dictatorial executive, even when it comes to right-wing lawmakers in the legislature who are, for the most part, politically aligned with him. Whether it’s watering down the power of Black voters, demonizing LGBTQ people, maligning migrants or targeting private corporations that defy the governor’s political will, Florida Republicans largely acquiesce to DeSantis’ wishes.

But all of these things stand to negatively affect Florida — not just by debasing its politics, but, as the travel advisories show, by threatening the state’s economy as well. DeSantis is going scorched earth in Florida as he looks toward greener pastures. 

The travel advisories, much like Disney’s decision to nix a future development in Florida as DeSantis wages a political war against the company, are instructive. They show that no matter where DeSantis is living after 2024, it’s Floridians who will be dealing with the firestorm he has created.