March 23, 2023

Alternate headline: Florida State GOPers Are Legislating DeSantis’ 2024 Bid Into Existence

As I was editing my colleague Kaila Philo’s piece here today on the College Board’s biting response to the DeSantis administration’s “PR stunt,” this bit struck me:

“They provided these AP courses for a long time, but you know, there are probably some other vendors who may be able to do that job as good or even a lot better,” the governor said at a news conference in Naples, Florida. He also said that he’s spoken with Florida House Speaker Paul Renner about potential legislation to “re-evaluate how Florida’s doing that.”

As Josh Marshall explains a bit more here, the backstory is that DeSantis’ education department preemptively and publicly rejected the contents of an AP African American Studies course that the College Board was piloting for feedback before an official rollout. When the College Board rolled out what appeared to be a stripped down version of the curriculum, the non-profit was met with strong criticism for appearing to bend to the will of politicians. The organization corrected the record in a lengthy statement over the weekend that called out the Desantis administration for lying about its communications, which we unpack here.

DeSantis responded to the College Board criticism of his administration by threatening to cut ties with the College Board, which provides services like AP course curriculum to help students make the transition from high school to college. But he also noted that he’d already discussed the matter with Florida state Republicans.

That bit is worth surfacing. If you’ve been following our coverage of the DeSantis administration and the ways in which he is basically using his constituents and the state of Florida as pawns and props to get outrage-inducing headlines and appeal to Trump voters on a national level ahead of his expected 2024 bid, you know a bit about another stunt of his.

In an attempt to score points with Trump supporters and election-deniers post-2020, DeSantis launched a police force designed to investigate non-existent widespread election fraud in the state. And in a made-for-TV political event back in August, DeSantis announced the arrests of 20 formerly incarcerated citizens who had voted illegally, most without knowing they weren’t allowed to. But the governor hasn’t been able to net any prosecutions from the arrests (besides one guy who was partially acquitted last week) and so he got Republicans in his state legislature to change the law so that the Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSP) can now “investigate and prosecute crimes involving voting in an election for a federal or state office” across multiple counties — resolving a procedural obstacle that kept the state from being able to prosecute several of the cases.

That bill passed the Florida state legislature and is currently sitting on DeSantis’ desk. But the two nuggets of news reflect a pattern — that DeSantis may continue to compel his state Republicans to do his dirty work for him as he continues his 2024-focused point scoring endeavor.

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

State GOP Bill That’ll Make It Easier To Prosecute Voters Lands On DeSantis’s Desk

Biden Fires Architect Of Capitol After He Is Condemned By House GOP, Everyone Else

The College Board Strikes Back At DeSantis For African American Studies ‘Slander’

Georgia Judge Approves Partial Release Of Trump Big Lie Report

Comer Doesn’t Have Plans To Look Into Kushner’s Saudi Business Deals

Republicans Have Wanted To Cut Medicare And Social Security For Decades

What We Are Reading

NFL Player Turned School Superintendent: I Was Ousted for Reporting Racism — Daily Beast

White House announces interagency team to address ‘unidentified aerial objects’ — NBC


Lindsey Graham’s legal expense fund pumped full of cash by nine Republican lawmaker friends — Raw Story

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