Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The early stages of the 2024 race have begun. The race between Trump and DeSantis is nasty. Now Trump can raise questions about the governor's basic competence.
Walt Disney Co. for now has outmaneuvered Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the battle for control over the more than 24,000-acre parcel of land near Orlando where Walt Disney World Resort is located.
In February, Disney went before a local board and secured approvals for the next 30 years on zoning, infrastructure and air-rights that the company might need if it chooses to expand Disney World, giving the company an advantage that has become clearer in recent days.
This week, those approvals were criticized by members of a new board that was created by the Republican governor to strip Disney of governing control over the land’s special tax district, known as Reedy Creek. Mr. DeSantis, who has been clashing with Disney for more than a year, appointed the new board after the February meeting.
Juan-Carlos Planas, a former Republican legislator in Florida who has taught law school courses about Reedy Creek’s legal structure, said it would likely be very difficult for the district to do anything about the plan. ..“Disney didn’t do anything secret. They publicized it, they advertised it,” Mr. Planas said. “If you’re in Tallahassee, and you’re replacing the board, how do you not know what that board is doing in their public meeting? This was negligence on the part of the governor’s office and Republican legislators.”
Other potential 2024 hopefuls have suggested DeSantis’s moves against Disney run afoul of the party’s traditionally conservative, small-government approach to private business.
“The idea of going after [Disney’s] taxing authority — that was beyond the scope of what I as a conservative, a limited-government Republican, would be prepared to do,” former vice president Mike Pence said last month. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has said that it “isn’t very conservative” to be “penalizing your business because they disagree with you politically.”
DeSantis initially claimed that the effort wasn’t about retaliation against Disney but rather his opposition to such special tax statuses. But he has at other times pointed to Disney’s political moves, labeling it a “woke” company.
The reignition of his showdown with Disney also comes as multiple polls have shown DeSantis losing ground to former president Donald Trump. A Fox News poll released late Wednesday showed Trump expanding his 15-point lead from last month to 30 points.
In addition to that headache, DeSantis is now faced with making good on his major claims to having brought Disney to heel.