The coalition that once eagerly supported Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, known as MAGA – Make America Great Again – and composed of moderates, conservatives, populists, and some far-right Trump supporters, has faded away. While DeSantis still enjoys a wealth of support, it has become increasingly clear that the governor’s actions have alienated many members of his oncestrong base.
DeSantis’ strong opposition to measures like mandatory wearing of masks and social distancing, and his refusal to close the state amid the coronavirus pandemic, have turned off many moderates and those on the right who were once part of DeSantis’ coalition. At the same time, DeSantis’ staunch loyalty to former President Donald Trump even after the Capitol insurrection, and his advocacy for Trump-aligned figures, have caused many within MAGA to sour on the governor.
For moderates, DeSantis’ positions on matters of COVID-19 and voting have caused them to abandon him and feel he is no longer serving the best interests of the state. Conservatives, meanwhile, have been taken aback by DeSantis’ tendency to turn a blind eye to irresponsible actions by fellow Republicans and his stance on important issues like Social Security, climate change, and tax policy. And even many of the most hard-lined, far-right Trump supporters have become disillusioned with DeSantis since, they believe, he is no longer the MAGA champion he once seemed to be.
The net effect of this erosion of support has been a significant blow to DeSantis’ alliance that once seemed so potent. That once vibrant coalition has deflated and what’s left comprises mainly hard-core loyalists who have been with DeSantis from the start. The governor’s remaining coalition is much smaller than it was, but it is also much tougher, as it now constitutes those who are passionate and unwavering in their support of the Governor, no matter what.