Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a historian at New York University abd a scholar of fascism. She wrote the following for MSNBC. Readers of this blog will not be surprised to read her assertion that DeSantis is no better than Trump, and may even be much worse, given his insistence that there is only one right way to teach, act, and think—and he decides what it is. I think of him as DeFascist.

She writes:

If DeSantis is becoming many Republicans’ answer to their “Trump problem,” his rise is because of his authoritarian sympathies and attitudes, not in spite of them. He promises a more “respectable”-seeming version of illiberal rule than the baggage-laden outrage specialist that is Trump. No wonder dozens of billionaires backed him even before his November re-election….

But let’s be clear: The man whom Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post celebrates as “DeFuture” would, in fact, continue Trump’s relentless attempts to turn back the clock on social progress in America by silencing and disenfranchising tens of millions who don’t fit into Republicans’ white Christian vision for the nation.

DeSantis has made Trump’s lines, and lies, his own.

From his education bills that ban the teaching of critical race theory in public schools to his crusades against commonsense public health protocols like mask mandates, DeSantis has made Trump’s lines, and lies, his own. His preference for ideology over science (his surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Lapado, has spread misinformation about Covid-19 prevention) had tragic consequences for Floridians.

Who can forget DeSantis mocking children who wore face masks? Or firing an elected county prosecutor who defied DeSantis’ hatred of abortion? Or endorsing extremists for school board races? Or spending millions to dupe Venezuelan migrants to fly to Martha’s Vineyard with false promises of jobs?

He may be worse than Trump because Trump was a fool. DeSanctis has the potential to be a fascist, unafraid to impose his personal views on everyone, using the power of government.