DeSantis Is Relatively the Best Ever but Absolutely Typical, so Far
DeSantis shouldn’t settle for being relatively great. He has the emotional intelligence to usher into practice the Constitution’s absolute standards for limiting governments.
March 20, 2023 drafted
December 15, 2023 published
On March 16, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pledged with 18 other governors to consider yet-to-be-determined state legislation to limit state governments’, local governments’, and financial businesses’ environmental, social, and governance investment practices . Already, on February 13, DeSantis had recommended Florida legislation to limit ESG .
DeSantis has unilaterally implemented executive changes and has recommended and signed legislation to deliberate and limit covid restrictions, illegal immigration, fraud-prone election processes, woke initiatives in schools, and privileges to Disney.
Relatively, DeSantis’s actions have been the best ever at limiting unconstitutional actions by other governments and by businesses, and at managing unconstitutional actions by DeSantis’s own government.
Absolutely, DeSantis’s actions have fallen far short of fully supporting the Constitution.
An Executive’s Executive Powers
In a republican form of government that uses the Constitution as its specification , the executive power of a given jurisdiction shall be vested in a chief executive.
This rule’s fundamental meaning has been clear from the start. Even so, when the rule was written, the constitutional practice of executive power was undeveloped. A president had never existed. Kings were dangerous. The ratifying generation was determined to not empower a monarch.
Although the ratifying generation was well aware of legislators’ unscrupulousness , it was simple and politically palatable to let legislators grab executive powers. The full meaning of executive power would need to be worked out over time.
Time’s up! Legislators have amply shown that unless limited by other jurisdictions or by executives, they will logroll incessantly, systematically depriving persons of life, liberty, and property .
Executives in other roles have meanwhile fleshed out what constitutes executive power. In the nuclear Navy under Admiral Hyman Rickover, executive power was exercised by taking full responsibility .
In business, executive power obviously controls organizational structures, layoffs and hiring, spending allocations by department, projects, and operations.
In governments, executive power has as its end purpose to faithfully execute the rules and sanctions of constitutional statutes and of constitutional opinions that uphold them.
Constitutional statutes contain no misleading parts, only use limited powers enumerated for the government, contain no delegation of legislative power, and contain no grabs of executive or judicial power. Constitutional statutes therefore consist simply of rules and the associated sanctions, nothing more . Statutes that set goals, create agencies, and delegate powers to agencies are, in multiple ways, thoroughly unconstitutional .
Oaths of office empower and require executives to independently interpret correctly that the administrative state is unconstitutional, and immediately not execute its statutes.
Immediate, strong action is a hallmark, duty, and distinct advantage of executive power. But neither DeSantis nor any other executive has immediately laid off his jurisdiction’s unconstitutional administrative state.
DeSantis and other governors abrogate their executive power to interpret constitutionality and take action when they instead jointly pledge to recommend legislation, or when they instead recommend that their attorneys general jointly put lawsuits in front of judges, deferring to judges’ opinions on constitutionality.
Committees abrogate power by their very nature. Committees work by weakening their members’ final course of action to win the support of the members who will only agree to take the least action.
Besides, committees of governors who recommend legislation aren’t exercising executive power, they’re exercising legislative power. Committees of attorneys general who press lawsuits aren’t seeking outcomes that would be exercises of executive power, they’re seeking outcomes that would be exercises of judicial power.
An Executive’s Legislative Powers
In a republican form of government that uses the Constitution as its specification, the chief executive shall recommend (constitutional) measures and shall sign (constitutional) bills, or shall return them with his objections.
DeSantis, in building a coalition of governors to recommend to state legislators that they act, is using a dodgy approach to follow a previously-trod path. The legislatures of Virginia and Kentucky famously opined in favor of supporting the Constitution, but not as individual legislatures, only as multistate coalitions .
This path historically has only provided indirect political support for national-government action . And this has come at the cost of defusing individual governors’ stronger, faster power and individual state legislatures’ even-stronger, enduring power—that is, at the cost of these politicians using little of their own powers, and therefore at the cost of these politicians doing none of what they should have done directly themselves to limit governments.
DeSantis, like many trailblazers, gets too-little leading-edge help that would sharpen his thinking and actions.
With DeSantis’s time as governor already drawing short, it becomes increasingly unlikely that he will assert his executive power in Florida in the ways called for by the demanding rules of the Constitution. If DeSantis is president, it could also become unlikely that he would assert his executive power in the national government in these demanding ways.
As governor, DeSantis is living through just how quickly 2,922 days fly by. As president, he would get a fresh new start to make every one of his days count .
DeSantis doesn’t have to settle for being the all-time best in a nonperforming field, for only pausing the Progressives’ takeover, or even for only following Reagan in slowing a Great Inflation  without slashing governments . DeSantis has the emotional intelligence to be the first person to bring the full promise of the Constitution into practice to severely limit governments, ratcheting up freedom.
DeSantis has surprised us before, and he could surprise us again here. Unfortunately, as of now we have no reason to anticipate that he would .
James Anthony is an experienced chemical engineer who applies process design, dynamics, and control to government processes. He is the author of The Constitution Needs a Good Party and rConstitution Papers, the publisher of rConstitution.us, and an author in Western Journal, Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, American Greatness, Mises Institute, Foundation for Economic Education, and Free the People. For more information, see his about, media, and overview pages.