Opinion: Businesses strike back as DeSantis criticizes corporate America
Who is the enemy DeSantis is combatting? “Woke CEOs” and any “corporate power” that aims to impose “an ideological agenda on the American people” by championing values of “diversity, inclusion, and equity” in investment considerations and workplace policies.
Going after corporate America might seem a surprising move for a Yale-educated lawyer who will likely run for president in 2024 and is backed by more than 40 billionaire donors. But having traction as a Republican candidate in many cases means posing as a defender of freedoms threatened by political correctness and the machinations of “corporate cartel elites.” DeSantis apparently is fine with harming Florida’s reputation as a business-friendly state, if that’s what it takes to make his mark and impose his political will.
Yet businesses are pushing back. DeSantis has faced a “summer of litigation” that has complicated his efforts to mandate what businesses can and cannot say and do with their own employees. Florida is now a test case for the response of American business to government interference in the private sector.
His contrarian crusade in April to strip the job-creating giant Disney of its special self-governance status, regardless of the potential costs to Florida taxpayers, is one example. (DeSantis has insisted that taxpayers won’t shoulder any of the Disney World district’s debt.) The company became a target for speaking out against what critics call his “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans K-3 classroom…