June 4, 2023

MSNBC’s Wednesday edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports welcomed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to the 2024 presidential campaign by declaring him to be “the face of the erosion of those freedoms.” What MSNBC meant by “those freedoms” was just a grab bag of social liberalism and fake news.

Referencing the fact that DeSantis will be launching his campaign on Twitter Spaces, Mitchell wondered, “And can he do it without retail politics? And there is a place for retail politics in Iowa and New Hampshire, as he will discover.”

Does Mitchell really believe that DeSantis won’t campaign and interact with voters simply because he’s launching on Twitter or is she just trying to contradict him no matter what he does?

The case for the latter option, Mitchell ran through a list of DeSantis’s recent policy enactments and news cycles:

He has aligned himself culturally on a lot of policies with the base, the hard base, the MAGA base, if you will, ramping up the fight with Disney, passing the six-week abortion law, outlawing gender-affirming surgeries, expanding gun rights, among other laws and, of course, all of the cultural issues with the black community that has really outraged the NAACP to put out a travel warning against going to Florida.”   

Mitchell then turned to editor-at-large of The 19th, Errin Haines and asked, “So, how does this help him in the primary, but potentially hurt him in a general election?”

Haines began by predicting that culture war issues will “galvanize” both sides. However, she then pronounced DeSantis’s side of that culture war to be the wrong side, “And you have seen Governor DeSantis really as governor and now emerging as of tonight an official presidential candidate as really of the face of the erosion of those freedoms, whether we talk about voting rights, Critical Race Theory, the book bans, LGBTQ+ rights, and access to reproductive health care.”

Haines may have hoped that by listing a great quantity of issues she can escape criticism for the quality, but she cannot. Voting rights are not under threat. Haines naturally left out the part where Florida voting controversies revolve around felons.

There is no and there has never been any freedom to teach Critical Race Theory. Headlines about book bans are usually fake news or are books that are pornographic. Haines also never specifies what she means by “LGBTQ+ rights,” but presumably she means that minors won’t be able to receive gender-altering care or that certain matters related to sexuality and sexual orientation are now off limits for classroom discussion. Finally, Haines has to rely on not-so clever euphemisms to justify the ending of a preborn life.

Haines then would repeat her assertion that culture wars will be “galvanizing” for both sides.

This segment was sponsored by Verizon.

Here is a transcript for the May 24 show:

MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports

5/24/2023

12:22 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And can he do it without retail politics? And there is a place for retail politics in Iowa and New Hampshire, as he will discover. Errin Haines, on policy, so the last few months as Tim just referred to, he has aligned himself culturally on a lot of policies with the base, the hard base, the MAGA base, if you will, ramping up the fight with Disney, passing the six-week abortion law, outlawing gender-affirming surgeries, expanding gun rights, among other laws and, of course, all of the cultural issues with the black community that has really outraged the NAACP to put out a travel warning against going to Florida. So, how does this help him in the primary, but potentially hurt him in a general election? 

ERRIN HAINES: Yeah, Andrea, I think those are exactly the stakes. I mean, we know that the culture wars are a playbook that Republicans use, because they know it is effective with some number of their primary voters to galvanize them, but then when you do go to a general election, these are also a lot of the issues that galvanize Democrats to turn out, to reject a lot of these types of policies. 

And you have seen Governor DeSantis really as governor and now emerging as of tonight an official presidential candidate as really of the face of the erosion of those freedoms, whether we talk about voting rights, Critical Race Theory, the book bans, LGBTQ+ rights, and access to reproductive health care. 

These are issues that we saw in the 2022 midterms as galvanizing for Democratic voters, so, you know, going into a general, I think that the culture wars you’re going see galvanizing both sides and that’s really what a lot of this election is apparently going to come down to with a candidate that we’ve seen use this not only as rhetoric but translate a lot of this into policy in Florida and maybe as a blueprint for what he would do as president if elected.