Where Things Stand: A Dark Turn In DeSantis’ MAGA Grievance-Focused Campaign Strategy

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GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - JUNE 09: Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivers remarks June 9, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina. DeSantis spoke during the North Carolina GOP Old Nort... GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - JUNE 09: Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivers remarks June 9, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina. DeSantis spoke during the North Carolina GOP Old North State Dinner held during the North Carolina Republican party’s annual convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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While former President Donald Trump makes plans to excise the so-called “deep state” that supposedly formed in the bowels of the DOJ before he took the White House in 2016, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is vowing to act against it with a blunter instrument.

Outside the realm of conspiracy theories, the answer to the question of what exactly “it” is is anyone’s guess: far-right Republicans have used the “deep state” label to help them collect all of their various enemies in one catchall bucket over the years. What’s clear is that DeSantis intends on making the dissolution of the “deep state” not just a policy point on the campaign trail, but part of his “Day One” strategy, if he were to win the presidency in 2024.

Real Clear Politics has a new report out today detailing DeSantis’ supposed eagerness to break up the Justice Department and the FBI and root out what he and other far-right politicians, like Donald Trump, are convinced is a cabal of “weaponized” bad actors working to go after their political enemies. It’s a line that Trump has raised repeatedly since his first indictment and one that DeSantis and other 2024 hopefuls have seized on in the wake of his second.

Per Real Clear Politics:

The governor has privately told advisors that he will hire and fire plenty of federal personnel, reorganize entire agencies, and execute a “disciplined” and “relentless” strategy to restore the Justice Department to a mission more in line with what the “Founding Fathers envisioned.”

But his ambitions go beyond bureaucratic restructuring. He wants to physically remove large swathes of the DOJ from the District of Columbia, including FBI headquarters, RealClearPolitics is first to report.

“We’re not going to let all this power accumulate in Washington, we’re going to break up these agencies,” DeSantis said during a private strategy session over the weekend, excerpts of which were obtained exclusively by RCP. He vowed in that call to order “some of the problematic components of the DOJ” be uprooted, reorganized, and then promptly “shipped to other parts of the country.”

Read the full report here.

The report mostly adds to what we’ve already seen of DeSantis’ campaign strategy for the past year as he carries out a rather pellucid plan to run for president on the very grievances that his opponent has spent the last eight years complaining into existence. Leading up to his announcement last month, DeSantis used his Republican-dominated state legislature to take his war-on-woke mainstream, passing laws in Florida that were seemingly hand-crafted to capture the attention of the furthest-right members of Trump’s base.

You can’t get more MAGA than vowing to use your presidency to seek retribution for the perceived wrongs inflicted upon the movement’s founder and leader.

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