Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has received numerous cautionary remarks that he is foolish to take on Disney from donors, supporters, and consultants. Disney World is very popular. The economy of Florida will suffer as a result of this public battle. Politics has gotten worse, so they claim.
However, Republicans who would make up the majority of primary voters might have a different perspective. Nearly 30 potential voters, strategists, and pollsters were questioned by NBC News, and the results painted a picture of a primary electorate that was critical of Disney and in favor of DeSantis criticizing the corporate giant.
Three surveys showing Republican support for DeSantis over Disney are used to support this conclusion. However, once Democrats and independents weigh in, DeSantis will be taking a much bigger risk.
DeSantis has drawn criticism from inside and outside his political universe, including from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Trump declared that DeSantis had been “absolutely destroyed” by Disney. Former U.N. ambassador and GOP primary candidate Nikki Haley mocked DeSantis and invited the entertainment giant to bring its tens of thousands of jobs to South Carolina.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board warned that DeSantis “is escalating a feud with a business that risks alienating moderate and independent voters who otherwise support Florida’s sex-education law and his good policies such as school-choice expansion.” Holman W. Jenkins Jr., a member of the paper’s editorial board, wrote a separate column titled, “The Stupid War Between Disney and DeSantis.”
The protracted battle has left some in the donor world unsettled just as high rollers are deciding with whom to place their loyalties. Ron Gidwitz, a major Republican fundraiser who has also served as finance chair to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, groused to NBC News over DeSantis’ “craziness” in his war with one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
“How do you get into a fight with Mickey Mouse?” he asked.
But Salmon sees it another way: “Mickey Mouse was where that company was 50 years ago — 60 years ago. Not now.”