Ron DeSantis often compares Florida to Democrat-run California, claiming that his policies have prevented the Sunshine State from experiencing some of the same failures in the Golden State – including spiking crime, mass homelessness and extended COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Florida governor often touts his state as a ‘citadel of freedom’ and claims it is where ‘woke goes to die.’
While going on a national book tour promoting his Blueprint for America, it is becoming increasingly clear that the governor will use his accomplishments in Florida as a platform for how to move forward in leading the country.
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has already gone on the attack against DeSantis, which the 2024 candidate responded with by visiting California as part of his book tour in March.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is ready to take his platform on the road after announcing his 2024 candidacy for president – and will likely continue to push his accomplishments in Florida as the ‘Blueprint for America’
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already gone on the attack multiple times against DeSantis, saying that Americans needs to make sure not to let him ‘make America Florida’
‘I know you’ve got a lot of problems out here, but your governor is very concerned about what we are doing in Florida so I figured I had to come by,’ DeSantis joked at the top of his remarks at the Ronald Reagan Library.
Newsom slipped in one more attack against DeSantis before his 2024 presidential campaign launch on Wednesday, saying the country should not ‘make America Florida.’
Newsom said in the email statement that everyone needs to play a role to stop DeSantis from becoming president.
DeSantis, for his part, is proud to say that he has led the way for Florida to become the opposite of California – even saying he was a help to his arch rival Disney when the parks were allowed to stay open in his state when they were closed in Newsom’s.
DailyMail.com breaks down some key differences between California and Florida under the leadership of Newsom and DeSantis respectively.
DeSantis reopened Florida while California stayed in lockdown
DeSantis led the charge in reopening businesses, schools and the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Florida was among the first states to resume in-person classes and end mandates that kept businesses closed and required mask-wearing.
On the other hand, California is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to COVID-19 precautions – with some still-lingering rules or guidelines in place more than three years after the initial public health declaration.
Many Californians pointed to the double-standard from their governor and other Democratic politicians in the state, claiming that while they were put under lockdown, the elites were resuming life as normal.
These claims even led to a successful petition for a recall election against Newsom, which was ultimately unsuccessful.
During the launch of DeSantis’ campaign on Twitter Spaces Wednesday, Stanford Professor of Medicine Dr. Jay Bhattacharya lamented the COVID-19-related restrictions in his state and how it hurt California’s economy and education.
DeSantis visited California in March to deliver remarks as part of his book tour. During his speech, the Florida leader said: ‘I know you’ve got a lot of problems out here, but your governor is very concerned about what we are doing in Florida so I figured I had to come by’
‘It was an absolute honor to work with Governor DeSantis and I was really impressed by his decision-making in the face of an absolute firestorm of criticism. But he, you know, governor, you did the right thing when you opened the schools,’ the doctor praised.
‘My kids in California, for a year and a half, didn’t see the inside of a classroom whereas Florida kids were in school. You can see that the results in the length of learning loss numbers are so much better in Florida.’
Bhattacharya asked DeSantis what sort of reforms could be expected in the federal healthcare space if he were elected president to ensure there aren’t widespread lockdowns again in the case of another pandemic.
‘Well, first, we need an honest reckoning about what happened during COVID,’ DeSantis said. ‘And the only honest reckoning is that all of those agencies, all of the elites, the public health establishment, they failed. They instituted bad policies.’
‘Obviously, it’s a novel virus, but I think what happened was when the data was becoming more and more apparent that the path they were on was wrong, they doubled down and wanted to do it even more.’
‘I really believe had Florida not just kind of stood in the way, I think this country would have had rolling lock downs for probably a two-year period. And so their impulses were authoritarian. They were not following the data,’ the governor concluded.
DeSantis: Florida is ‘a much better place to be doing business’
During the same nearly hour-long Twitter Spaces event on Wednesday, DeSantis said that he could be attributed to making Walt Disney Co. money during the pandemic because the parks were allowed to stay open in Florida when they were still closed in California.
He made the assessment despite his growing feud with the corporate giant over some of the governor’s education-related policies.
‘I’d also just finally point out, nobody probably has made Disney more money than me, because they were open during COVID,’ DeSantis said. ‘And they were closed in California and that went on for many, many months.’
‘I had all the theme parks in Florida opened in 2020 – people are going, it’s safe, they’re having fun. And the California parks were closed,’ he added. ‘I think they were closed for over a year out in California.’
‘So we were, I think, a much better place to be doing business. Certainly since I’ve been governor.’
Florida ranks No. 1 in education while LA saw 43K drop in students since 2020
‘Florida was just ranked number one in education by U.S. News and World Report,’ DeSantis lauded at his press conference on Friday in Orlando, Florida.
‘When the Nation’s Report Card reported the first post-COVID test scores, the only thing all 50 states do, Florida came in third and fourth respectively in fourth grade reading and fourth grade math.’
‘We ranked number one in education freedom,’ he said to cheers from a crowd of parents who participate in homeschooling in Florida.
DeSantis signed a law last year barring the education of sexual orientation and gender ideology in public schools for children up to the 3rd grade, which was expanded this year to include 4th, 5th and 6th grade, as well.
The Florida leader has repeatedly said he wants schools to focus on educating youth rather than ‘injecting gender ideology in elementary school.’
Keeping schools open during the pandemic has also yielded high results when it comes to educational excellence, with students in Florida doing much better than children in some other states with more restrictive COVID classroom mandates.
DeSantis says the rising crime and lack of education has contributed to a growing problem – particularly in liberal U.S. cities.
‘Nobody wants to admit that they wanted to lock kids out of school for a year and a half because you’ve seen the results,’ DeSantis lamented.
‘From 2020 to 2022, people have just totally vanished from some of these urban school districts across the country.’
‘Chicago – 25,000 fewer students than in 2020; Los Angeles – 43,000 fewer students than in 2020; New York – 50,000 fewer students than in 2020. In Florida, our school enrollment is up,’ DeSantis listed.
‘You think of a place like Chicago, these kids – you’re more likely to get shot than to get a world class education in some of these places,’ he continued at the press conference.
A March study by Scholaroo ranked California as the No. 44 state, just six from the bottom, when it comes to education, by measuring 42 indicators, including student success, school quality, and student physical and mental safety.
DeSantis has signed multiple pieces of legislation in Florida that have restriction classroom instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity, which has been dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by critics who claim it’s harmful to LGBTQ students. Pictured: Students stage a walk-out from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida to protests the law
DeSantis fights to remove ‘gender ideology’ from schools
The NAACP issued a travel advisory in Florida, claiming it is not safe for LGBTQ people to go to the Sunshine State because of Gov. DeSantis’ laws.
A contributor form the Washington Examiner noted in an op-ed that hate crimes against LGBT people are actually at a far-lower rate in Florida than in California.
There are 30.47 instances of anti-LGBT-motivated crimes per million in Florida compared to the nearly five-times-higher figure of 144.63 in California, Jack Elbaum notes.
Additionally, social acceptance of same-sex marriage in Florida is at 69 percent, which is only three percent behind California’s acceptance rate of 72 percent.
DeSantis signed a new law earlier this month requiring all transgender adults in Florida to obtain ‘written consent’ from multiple oversight boards to receive gender-affirming care.
But the governor has made clear the issue of transgenderism is more focused on youth, and specifically keeping the issue out of the education system.
DeSantis barred transgender surgery and healthcare for minors and signed another law prohibiting students from using a different restroom or locker room than those designated for the sex they were born as.
‘We have a responsibility to protect our youth from ideology run amok, including ideology in the medical profession,’ DeSantis said during a press conference on Friday in Orlando. ‘And so to that end, in the state of Florida we have banned gender surgeries for minors.
‘That is mutilation, and it is wrong. And if you do it, you’re losing your medical license and you’re going to jail,’ he said.
California has much more lax laws related to transgender youth, including protections for students who identify as the opposite sex to use facilities and compete in activities as the gender in which they identify.
Some feel the laws go too far, and claim educators and medical professionals are actually encouraging transgenderism and related healthcare – like gender affirming surgeries and other irreversible care.
California has seen a massive rise in homelessness during the pandemic – and this coupled with spiking crime has caused 500,000 residents to leave the Golden State in the last two years
Rise in crime and homelessness in California has led residents to flee
Homelessness in California has become noticeably more prevalent in recent years.
Actor Scott Baio confirmed he and his wife Renee are moving to Florida from California due to the spikes in crime and homelessness in the Golden State.
Baio says California is ‘just not a safe place anymore.’
The Happy Days star announced earlier this month he was moving his family out of California because the state’s homeless problem ‘brings down property value.’
He quoted a recent survey from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority finding ‘approximately 69,000 people experiencing homelessness in L.A. County and 41,000 in the city in 2022.’
More than 500,000 people moved out of California in the last two years, this includes celebrities like Mark Wahlberg and Jim Carrey.
DeSantis often says that he has created a state where those from other U.S. states want to move, specifically due to the laws that were enacted during the pandemic.
Between July 2021 and July 2022, nearly 444,500 people moved to Florida – compared to the previous year where the state saw a gain of 185,000 residents from other states.
The governor says job opportunities, education and reduced crime rates are some of the major reasons why Florida ranks No. 1 in domestic migration.
‘There’s a shortage of police in Los Angeles. For actual crimes it takes hours to get them,’ Renee Baio, 50, tweeted of her decision to move out of California.
While police are quitting left and right in Democratic states where law enforcement reform ensued following the George Floyd riots, DeSantis implemented a recruiting structure incentivizing those from other states to join police forces in Florida.
Manish Dutt Mishra is an accomplished journalist and the Executive Editor at Elite News, a position he has held since 2021. With a wealth of experience in the media industry, Manish brings a unique perspective and a strong editorial vision to his role.