Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday, apparently unfamiliar with the concept of irony, ranted against liberal-led cities and likened them to “Third World” countries.
The comments, made during an event announcing a policing program meant to attract new officers to Florida, fit a pattern of right-wing officials attempting to cast cities run by Democrats as dangerous.
For that reason, my ears perked up when I heard that because "Third World” more aptly describes the state of Florida under DeSantis' leadership.
You want to have safe streets, you want to have safe communities. That used to be something in this country that we universally expected and had in most places. Now, you’ve seen that really erode, particularly over the last few years. You have some places in this country that are operated almost like Third World countries with the crime, just totally out of control. And what happens is when that happens, the whole society starts to fray.
Setting aside DeSantis’ troubling use of the term “Third World,” he ought to be careful throwing that term around — he's the archetype for right-wing authoritarian rule.
Let’s count the ways.
DeSantis himself is an anti-democratic leader who has attempted to essentially rig future elections through gerrymandering to help keep his party in power. He’s formed an armed voting police unit to intimidate voters. He’s tried to cripple businesses that don’t acquiesce to his bigotry. He's signed laws to whitewash school lesson plans, removing them of references to historic inequality, and he’s sought to ban some students from learning anything about the LGBTQ experience whatsoever. He’s also used public funds for cruel stunts meant to demonize migrants seeking to enter the U.S. through its southern border with Mexico.
Republicans like DeSantis are trying to ramp up the crime talk ahead of the midterms, cynically hoping to scare Americans into voting for them this November. They’re also hoping voters don’t realize several Republican-led states are leaders in violent crime; Republican lawmakers have widely opposed funding for local law enforcement; Trump-loving lawmakers have openly threatened law enforcement officers for investigating potential crimes by Republicans; and Republican officials like DeSantis have openly spurned the law in pursuit of more power.
Yeahhhh, DeSantis may want to steer clear of the “Third World” references before they get a little too close for comfort.