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I'm interested in posing a relatively narrow but detailed, real problem from the sphere of politics and asking users to answer it with a political strategy that could successfully address or advance that issue. I will illustrate the intent with an example.

Title: How Could Ron DeSantis have Captured the Political Win and Moved on in Disney Dispute?

In 2022, Disney upset Conservatives and Ron DeSantis in particular, when it took a public position against Florida HB 1557 (background). I'm intereted in considering the political impact of the ensuing chain of events and what a different political strategy could have yielded.

For brevity, I will mainly describe the events in terms of their impact and how they were perceived by various groups, rather than re-hash an encyclopedic description of events, as these are widely available to anyone unfamiliar.

The dispute began when Disney spoke out against a culture war law popular with Conservatives. In line with his developing image as an unblinking conservative culture warrior, DeSantis took an adversarial position towards Disney, but strategically responded in a way that would be commonly understood by key constituencies as a laudable act of retribution against against Disney for engaging in "Woke Politics" and more generally a populist warning strike against powerful mega-corporations. While at the same time he structued his response so that he could publicly argue it had no partisan basis.

The perception of DeSantis unflinchingly fighting for conservative cultural issues, but in a way that was too clever for Disney to respond made this political windfall even more potent. But there was always going to be a Round 2 in the fight, because the initial law left important and complicated issues unaddressed, (munincipal services, debt service, utilities, etc.)

For Round 2, most commenters seemed to frame DeSantis as having two choices;

  1. He could basically drop the issue and quietly repeal the law, so that he and Republicans wouldn't be on the hook to deal with all the consequences of taking over this local government.

  2. Or he could press the attack and create a specific plan for how his personally-appointed board would not dissolve, but instead assume control over all the essential local governance functions that are essential to both daily operation and long-term development of the parks.

Disney having put up no fight to this point, DeSantis may have viewed this as a choice between surrendering a winning hand (which would be antithetical to the image he spent the last 3 years cultivating) -OR- to press the advantage and create a plan which maximizes his long-term leverage over impact Disney World, as a strong deterrent to taking any future public positions against his agenda. Since this issue was a massive political winner for DeSantis in Round 1, he chose to continue the approach of taking a hard line against Disney.

However, while DeSantis was taking his 2nd victory lap, Disney announced the long-term agreement it signed with the outgoing board and signalling very clearly that they weren't going to cede local control to the governor, without a fight. The way in which Disney's opening salvo relied upon the complacency (and some would argue overconfidence) of Florida Republicans and DeSantis, meant that Disney's action was a huge public embarassment to DeSantis.

Disney's maneuver had a major immediate negative impact on political perceptions of DeSantis' fight against them, because a substantial portion of his political windfall on this issue was based on the perception of the governor and his administration being too clever and bureaucratically-effective for Disney to counter them.

Based on DeSantis's cultivated image as a politician who doesn't give an inch in the face of opposition, he had no choice, but to respond stridently in the media and launch a series of moves to counter Disney's efforts to maintain local control. All of which is shaping up to create a protracted fight in the courtroom and media. And while he can use this opportunity to continue to burnish his image as a relentless tough guy, the image of an ultra-competent administrator who easily defeats his opposition is unlikely to return to where it was. And where critiques of his approach to Disney previously came from the Left, after the shield of competence was lost, he instantly began to receive heavy criticisms from both sides.

To summarize the political impact of the hard line approach to Round 2, what had been a simple resounding win, has now become forever complicated, and even opened him up to critiques from people influential with his parts of his base.

So the question is, while addressing the real political factors that would have pushed back against any given course of action, could Ron DeSantis and Florida Republicans have pushed for a different outcome in their dispute with Disney, that would have resulted in a greater political win than the current and likely long-term legal stalemate?

Note that this question calls for speculation, but not opinion (what would happen, regardless of how you feel about it). What else could they have done and how would that have played out?

Also note that you may not agree with how I've characterized some developments. This summary is intenionally focused upon the perceived sub-text of real world events, as a means to quickly understand the impact of them. Try not to fixate on any differences here, as most of the people interested in your answer have probably kept up with the this story and formed their own opions.

So in short, would a question like this be on topic? Or if not, can you suggest a way to update it while keeping the essential purpose?

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    This looks like it would be a highly opinion based answer and would be more of a discussion form based question.
    – Joe W
    May 11, 2023 at 20:00

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I would say that this question is off topic as it will attract highly opinionated answers and is more of a discussion based in general.

Some possible answer summaries

  1. There is nothing that he can do as it is clearly an attack on free political speech as it is a reaction to Disney making a statement about actions taken by DeSantis and the Florida government. All these actions will be overturned by the courts leaving him looking embarrassed for his actions.

  2. He has done everything right as he has shown by his actions that he is willing to stand up for conservative values and it doesn't matter if the actions stand up over time. Even if they get turned over he will still earn the support of the people he wanted to with his actions.

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