DeSantis sacrifices trans teens for political points. That says enough about him

(JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

DeSantis sacrifices trans teens for political points. That says enough about him

Opinion piece, Elections 2024

LZ Granderson

Dec. 15, 2023

If charisma is a gift, says Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is clearly working with lumps of coal. His town hall on CNN confirmed it this week, but we already had a pretty good feeling about it.

In February, NPR reported that Donald Trump was viewed twice as unfavorably by conservatives as DeSantis. When he launched his presidential campaign in May with the help of Elon Musk, the governor had money and momentum. Then the voters met him. What followed was not

Awesome. very.

Layoffs of staff. Shrinking funds. And all those awkward attempts at retail politics.

My favorite remains he scolds a little girl for eating an Icee in the dead of summer. Something with a lot of sugar. A politician doing that in California would have been weird. Doing this in Iowa, a state known for its fried butter, shows he can’t read a room or a fairground.

Now with the Iowa caucus


in a month, and DeSantis 2024, desperate for a shocker, is trying to read voters. And in this desperate hour, he’s betting that the good people of Iowa want to see him rail against transgender teens.

Starting with the most recent GOP debate, DeSantis has consistently found ways to mention the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation he signed shortly before announcing his campaign. The legislation even goes so far as to target companies and parents who support transgender people. He characterizes the legislation as protecting children and parents’ rights, but not protecting queer children or their parents’ rights.

It’s not shocking that a Republican is anti-queer. But why does this Republican think that being anti-queer is the best way to distinguish himself from other anti-queer Republicans?

Before the CNN town hall, DeSantis presented himself


less combative on social issues, realizing that his efforts to outmaneuver Trump made him a household name but hurt him politically. But don’t be seduced by rehearsed national performances. Get informed about what DeSantis is saying to locals in Iowa.

He is dedicating his future campaigns to being anti-trans. How do we know? As the time before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15 grows shorter, he continues to talk about it.

Less than a week after Hamas attacked Israel in October. On October 7, DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Florida due to the effects of war. However, when asked about the war the day after the debate

CNN reported this

DeSantis turned back to attacking transgender people,

CNN reports this


If even as Republicans we can’t agree that cutting off the genitals of a 14 year old child is wrong, then what is going on in this party? he said during a campaign stop. The bigger question is why he would discuss the genitals of 14-year-olds during the campaign.

DeSantis came up with ways to ban transgender children from competing

in sports

during a conversation with the Des Moines Register recently. But Iowa already has a ban on trans athletes. Nearly half the country is participating, predictably all red and purple states, a trend that started in 2021. And yet he continues to talk about it because he believes it will get him an opportunity.


I always thought he was just clumsy. Apparently he’s small too.

Even conservative Caitlin Jenner, no fan of progressive LGBTQ+ politics, called out DeSantis on social media for being so desperate to do whatever it took to get ahead, which was the theme of his campaign.

Only he doesn’t just do anything. He’s quite calculating.

DeSantis turned a question about sending troops to the Middle East into an attack on the trans community. He could have touched on any topic of conversation, from AI to affordable child care and high-paying jobs. Instead, he chose a vulnerable minority group (less than 1% of Americans) to attack, hoping that fear mongering and hate would do what his personality can’t do to get voters to like him.



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