Ron DeSantis completes a triumvirate of power on the right as Republicans get ready to ramp up the primary contest.
With his campaign announcement Wednesday night on Twitter, Florida’s governor joins Tucker Carlson in moving his main stage to Elon Musk’s social media platform.
The three men are powerhouses in their respective fields – politics, tech, and media. Fields which have been accused of colluding against public interests in the past few years.
However, the current cultural and political moment has created strange bedfellows, and this triad has the potential to be a powerful force, not only for DeSantis’s campaign but for American conservatism at large.
The New Conservatism
DeSantis, Musk, and Carlson represent a less conventional, more populist version of conservatism that has been made more common by Donald Trump and the National Conservative movement.
This is not the conservatism of the Reagan era that promotes an unfettered free market and trickle-down economics.
It contests corporate influence in policymaking and questions unfettered meddling in international conflicts, particularly when it comes to regime change.
As one recent president so blatantly stated, it seeks to put “America first.”
Like Trump’s brand, it encourages abolishing the elite ruling class and a cabal of intertwined political, corporate, and social agendas as exemplified by the World Economic Forum.
Yet, unlike Trump’s paradigm, it is less libertarian and more forceful in promoting classical notions of virtue, particularly in education.
It also encourages a return to governance as outlined in the Constitution with the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
This new contingency on the right is willing to sacrifice economic gain for other highly held ideals. Principles such as truth, morality, and freedom.
DeSantis’s latest clash with Disney certainly demonstrates this.
Musk claimed in an interview with CNBC that he would never sacrifice truth for profit.
While Carlson hasn’t officially been fired from his $20 million a year job at Fox, his most recent musings demonstrate he’s all too willing to speak up against the hand that once fed him in order to voice his opinion.
Of course, it’s easier to go against the grain when you’re the world’s richest man or your net worth is reportedly $35 million.
Regardless, it’s nice to know those who can afford to do so will take the hit for those who cannot.
Undeniably, the most unifying issue for these three is the battle against the woke agenda.
It would be difficult to pick just one example from Carlson’s long list of tirades against the cultural forces that seem to be infiltrating every aspect of American life.
However, a rant at the end of 2020 summarizes the need for concern. Tucker begins by describing the antics of woke activism as a “childish side show that plays out mostly on college campuses and public radio shows.”
“The cringing self-hatred, the hair-on-fire hysteria, the total obliviousness to historical reality. The whole thing is like an adolescent rage fit that goes on forever.”
He continued, “Our grandchildren are going to read about this moment and are going to laugh in disbelief. But what if the current lunacy turns out to be more than a passing phase? What if woke race obsession is not a fad but instead an incurable brain virus that’s infected our country’s entire leadership class? If that’s the case than we’re in trouble.”
Three years later, that’s exactly where we are.
Ron DeSantis who has notoriously declared that Florida is where “woke goes to die,” is fortunately not one of those leaders. More and more, it’s becoming clear fighting the “woke mind virus,” as Gad Saad refers to it, is the hill DeSantis dies on. He’s willing to sacrifice nominal economic gain to protect it.
Musk has been increasingly vocal about the contagion that seems to be spreading, particularly when it comes to the poor work ethic of millennials and GenZ, who seem to be captured by such ideology.
According to Musk, an anti-meritocratic model and the suppression of free speech are among the top dangers of wokeness.
Free Speech Under Attack?
Many have accused Musk of veering from his initial promise to protect freedom of speech on the social media platform and increasingly sliding right on the political scale.
However, in a now famous diagram, Twitter’s no longer CEO asserted that his views haven’t changed – it’s progressives increasing shift left that has made him seem “far right.”
Musk joins a long list of people including Bill Maher, Joe Rogan, and Tulsi Gabbard, who are now defined by this shift.
The liberal media loves to conflate a rise in conservative voices on Twitter with Musk’s promotion of so-called far-right extremism.
What’s closer to the truth is that Musk rejected the notion that opinions from the likes of Carlson and even more liberal pundits like Rogan or Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. should be suppressed. He reinstated accounts that promoted ideas that made progressives squeal. Ideas the far left likes to call hate speech or misinformation.
The digital town square, as Musk likes to call it, responded by elevating those voices and positions – much to the dismay of Hollywood elites, progressive pundits, and a media captured by corporate interests, who traditionally ruled the roost on Twitter.
In turn, many decided contrary beliefs were not for them, and left Twitter, making it the new playground for more conservative, or really, simply logical, views.
The truth is, Musk’s political views are somewhat elusive and often contradictory.
Regardless, both Carlson and DeSantis have claimed that Twitter is one of the last forums for free speech and are happy to support Musk’s platform, which has struggled to turn a profit.
While Musk continues to claim neutrality in the upcoming presidential race, this new triumvirate could be a force to be reckoned with and I’m here for it.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review.