Ron DeSantis, unconstrained by constitutional checks, is flexing his power in Florida ahead of 2024 decision

(CNN)When Gov. Ron DeSantis abruptly suspended Tampa’s elected prosecutor last week, it was not accomplished in a late-night sacking or buried in a 5 p.m. Friday press release. Rather, DeSantis summoned reporters and cameras for a midday media event, as he does several times a week, stood before officers in uniform and elected allies and matter-of-factly walked through his decision to kneecap a twice-elected Democratic official.

It was a striking scene, not just for its extraordinary outcome, but for how it had been choreographed. The event was premeditated to trigger — as his spokeswoman wrote on Twitter the night before — “the liberal media meltdown of the year.” Pat Kemp, a Democrat who sits on the local Hillsborough County commission, described it as “our own Jan. 6th moment.”

The ruthless display of raw political power in removing Hillsborough County state attorney Andrew Warren, however brazen and unprecedented, was merely the latest example of a new reality in Florida: DeSantis is governing unconstrained by the traditional checks on executive authority. In the last eight months, DeSantis orchestrated a new law to exact revenge on Disney amid a political feud with the entertainment giant, bulldozed an aggressively partisan redrawing of congressional boundaries through the state legislature and pushed nearly every facet of state government to the front lines of the culture wars. And he has done it all with limited dissent from the Republicans who control the other branches of government in Florida.

R&I – FS

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