What does “defeat leftism” mean?

That seems to be all DeSantis has to offer.



Like any political designation, “the left” is a somewhat amorphous term, but broadly it refers to political movements that seek to achieve greater equality. That ideal is sometimes defined as being centrally about economic equality. But many modern left-wing movements are also focused, even primarily focused, on anti-racism, feminism, LGBTQ activism, and other efforts to defend and secure equal rights for marginalized people.

Anti-leftism has united large swaths of the American political establishment since at least the Cold War. Presidents from John F. Kennedy through Ronald Reagan built their political careers on denouncing left-wing ideology and Communist regimes. Right-wing and centrist politicians have long associated the left with what Reagan in 1964 called “the ant heap of totalitarianism.” For over half a century, the United States defined itself in opposition to a global enemy that claimed to speak for communists and socialists everywhere.

Even by those standards, though, the rhetoric on the right over recent decades is disturbing. Right-wing pundits have joked about murdering people on the left for years. In the 1990s, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh quipped, “I tell people: ‘Don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus—living fossils—so we will never forget what these people stood for.’” His words were echoed recently by the neo-Nazi Chris Cantwell, who ranted in a Gab post that leftists should face “complete and total destruction.” Memes and jokes about “free helicopter rides” for leftists like Bernie Sanders have become common on the right as well. This is a reference to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who murdered some of his left-wing opponents by throwing them from helicopters.

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I would love to see the “leftists” get defeated on issues such as abortion, DC statehood, abolishing the electoral college, student loan forgiveness, ending aid to Israel, age requirements over 18 for exercising 2nd amendment rights, allowing people under age 18 to get bottom surgery or undergo sterilization, etc.

I’m not sure what DeSantis means, but that’s what an expression like “defeat leftism” would mean to me…among other things.