DeSantis 'stalling' on abortion proposals over fears of November re-election damage
Ron DeSanti (Photo by Gage Skidmore of Flickr)

According to MSNBC's Zeeshan Alleem, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) who is normally not shy about jumping on the latest conservative controversy du jour, has been mostly silent on the Supreme Court Dobbs ruling giving states the right to ban abortion.

Since the controversial ruling was handed down after a 6-3 vote by the conservative majority, the high-profile Florida governor, who is doing all he can to stay in the national spotlight with an eye on the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has only briefly addressed what kind of restrictions he wants his Republican-dominated legislature to put forth with the Supreme Court's blessing.

According to Aleem, DeSantis "... pledged in a statement to 'expand pro-life protections.' But he hasn’t specified how or when."

He adds that "his spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, declined to respond affirmatively or negatively. According to the newspaper, she said, 'We very much look forward to pursuing additional legislative protections for the unborn.' And while the anti-abortion advocacy group Florida Voice for the Unborn and at least one Republican state representative have called for DeSantis to call a special legislative session for a new anti-abortion law, so far he has refused."

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As the columnist wrote, DeSantis is "stalling" and trying to run out the clock lest any move he takes to ban abortion hurt his chances at being re-elected governor in November in Florida, which would deal a deathblow to his presidential hopes even though he has signed a 15-week abortion bill in April.

"The simplest explanation for his reticence is that tricky strategic dilemmas are leading him to drag his feet and remain quiet on the issue for now. DeSantis is a leading 2024 presidential hopeful, and his hesitation reflects Republican fears of an outsize Democratic backlash and underscores how the right doesn’t have a unified vision of how far to take its anti-abortion crusade," he wrote before adding, "His first concern right now is getting re-elected this fall, and the larger the margin, the more strongly he can make the case that he should lead the Republican Party in 2024. His concerns aren't just about mobilizing Republicans in his state — they also include avoiding a Democratic backlash to an abortion ban or a near-ban."

"Florida’s Republicans may be acutely vulnerable to a backlash on abortion. The state historically has been far more permissive of abortions than its Southern neighbors, and it has had some of the highest per capita abortion rates in the country. If abortion is banned or heavily restricted in Florida, the impact will be far more greatly felt than in deeply red states where abortion was already heavily restricted even before Roe v. Wade was overturned," he continued before adding that DeSantis is well aware how it could impact his political trajectory.

DeSantis, "... has to think of not only his current constituency in Florida, but also the national Republican base and, theoretically, a general election contest. The key for him is to balance the base against a general election audience and to not take a position that requires him to backtrack later and render himself vulnerable to accusations of opportunism or flip-flopping," Aleem concluded.