Disney Might Play Central Role In DeSantis-Newsom Debate

While there are seemingly endless differences between California and Florida, there is one notable similarity: they were both selected by the Walt Disney Company as sites for massive theme parks — Disneyland and Walt Disney World, respectively.

As the governor of the two states prepared this week for a debate set to air during Thursday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel, some pundits have suggested that Disney could be a relevant factor in the event.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken on the influential entertainment company over its opposition to a state law meant to shield young children from age-inappropriate themes in the classroom. 

While many social conservatives embraced his position on the matter, it has also sparked harsh criticism from the left. Retired political science professor and Disney historian Rick Foglesong suggested that harping on this issue could be a winning strategy for Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“If I were Newsom, I’d bring it up,” he said. “I’d bring up that DeSantis is hurting his state’s economy, or potentially hurting it, as a way of undermining DeSantis … running on the basis of his success in Florida.”

Disney’s campaign contributions also suggest that the company has a vested interest in the Newsom-DeSantis rivalry. The company donated $10,000 to Newsom’s re-election campaign last year, and the cash ultimately ended up in a political action committee used to air attack ads aimed at, among other Republicans, the Florida governor. 

Although Newsom’s focus on Disney might be one way to highlight the differences between him and DeSantis, an examination of issues that impact the daily lives of all Americans seems to show that Florida is in a much better position than California going into this week’s debate.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board compiled a “scorecard” for both governors that cast DeSantis in a much more positive light.

Among the statistics included in the editorial was the fact that Florida has added more than 1 million jobs over the past four years, during which time California has lost more than 85,000 jobs. California’s unemployment rate currently stands at just a hair under 5%, or nearly twice as high as the 2.8% recorded in the Sunshine State.

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