by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
News broke Wednesday the Florida Senate had passed a bill to dismantle Walt Disney World’s half-century-old “independent special district” status, an arrangement whereby Disney has been allowed, since 1968, essentially to govern itself. Gov. Ron DeSantis says Disney’s self-governing status should be subject to review, to ensure that it is still “appropriately serving the public interest.”
Good. Disney is reaping its just reward for inserting itself into the political debate about Florida’s parental rights bill, which Disney lost in spectacular fashion. Republican governors and lawmakers across the country should be taking notes.
This is how you deal with big corporations that try to throw around their weight and force woke policies on voters and families. You punish them, not just because they deserve it, but also, as Voltaire famously put it, pour encourager les autres (as an example to others).
Disney was no doubt betting that DeSantis and Florida Republicans would do what Republicans have almost always done in the face of woke corporate pressure: simply back down. …
… Indeed, at any other time and place, with almost any other Republican governor and legislature, Disney would almost certainly not have faced any consequences for wading into the debate over the parental rights bill. After all, since when do Republicans actually wield power against the enemies of their voters and defend ordinary families from powerful woke corporations? Almost never.
By breaking that mold, DeSantis has set a clear example that other GOP governors and state lawmakers should follow. If a corporation like Disney wants to insert itself in a political battle that has nothing to do with its business — in this case, a fight over whether to prohibit classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity to children in kindergarten through the third grade — then it should be prepared to pay a heavy cost.