Ron DeSantis sits in a restaurant, staring off wistfully.

Ron DeSantis’ Latest Campaign Ad Is Too Bizarre for Words

“Make America Florida” may not be Ron DeSantis’ official campaign slogan but the ridiculous fan-created message definitely captures the spirit of his entire strategy. Despite Florida’s less-than-favorable reputation among much of the rest of the country, DeSantis has made it clear he has nothing but disdain for everyone but his staunchest, most bigoted supporters and that he wants to spread his most atrocious values to the rest of the country.

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DeSantis definitely thinks bigotry is a winning strategy and that tactic is on full display in a new wildly homophobic and transphobic (but also weirdly homoerotic?) campaign ad. The video starts by mocking Donald Trump as being an LGBTQ ally (sure) before going on to tout DeSantis’ “draconian” discrimination record—and yes, the ad does use “draconian,” along with other harsh headlines and quotes criticizing his policies, as an approving compliment.

The video, which was shared by the rapid response campaign account “DeSantis War Room,” is set to a deep thumping beat, and in between quick clips featuring Trump, DeSantis, and those critical headlines, there are, inexplicably, flashes of shots of beefy guys—body builders and also Brad Pitt from the movie Troy—as well as Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) from Peaky Blinders, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) from Wolf of Wall Street, and, by far the most perplexing, fictional serial killer Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) from American Psycho. There is no explanation for any of these cameos.

The ad is straight-up weird on multiple levels. Obviously, the stylistic choices are bananas but they’re so perplexing and jarring that they might distract from a deeper question: What is the point this ad is trying to make? Its entire purpose is just to boast about how regressive DeSantis’ policies are, how discriminatory and hateful his administration is, and how much he hurts LGBTQ people and communities.

Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential cabinet member, appeared on CNN recently and he summed the video up nicely:

“I’m going to leave aside the strangeness of trying to prove your manhood by putting up a video that splices images of you in between oiled-up shirtless bodybuilders, and just get to a bigger issue that is on my mind whenever I see this stuff in the policy space, which is, again, who are you trying to help? Who are you trying to make better off?” he said, adding, “We’re focused as an administration how to get things done to make people better off.”

Even Donald Trump’s glaringly white-supremacy-coded slogan “Make America Great Again” provided a twisted and oppressive but still aspirational message for voters. What is DeSantis’ message? That he hates gay and trans people? We already knew that since it literally seems to be the entirety of his campaign platform.

(featured image: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.