Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race via Twitter on May 24.
Gov. DeSantis drew a high of around 900,000 concurrent viewers on Twitter Spaces where he discussed his policy agenda if elected president.
Twitter Spaces is a live audio-only platform where multiple speakers can speak to those who join the space via their Twitter account. This space reportedly had the highest number of concurrent listeners since the feature debuted in Nov. 2020.
The high listenership was responsible for multiple auditory and server-side technical issues according to Twitter Owner Elon Musk.
DeSantis was joined by billionaire Elon Musk, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Republican Financier David Sacks who founded PayPal alongside Musk, among others.
During the space, DeSantis outlined his policy agenda:
- Immigration: DeSantis said that if elected his administration would declare a national emergency on immigration at the southern border and he would build a border wall.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI): DeSantis said DEI initiatives were teaching “segregation” and added he was praised for banning DEI in Florida, although DeSantis did not qualify who praised him.
- Education: DeSantis said he would create an ‘alternative accreditation’ system for education institutions outside the Deptartment of Education. DeSantis repeatedly said he would rid educational institutions, the military and the government writ large of ‘woke-gender ideology’.
- Environmental, social and governmental investment guidelines (ESG): DeSantis mentioned his initiative in Florida to ban state pension funds from using ESG criteria to make investment decisions. ESG investment guidelines are a loose set of investment parameters that are based on the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. These principles state that investors should consider the environmental, social, and governmental impacts of a company or financial instrument according to the UN.
- Censorship: DeSantis mentioned Florida’s digital bill of rights which prevents state agencies from working with private companies to censor content.
- Chevron deference: DeSantis took issue with Chevron deference. Under Chevron deference, congress could pass a law saying the level of lead in the air needs to be limited to a safe level without directly defining the safe level. The Supreme Court found in Chevron v NRDC, that the role of deciding how the Clean Air Act was implemented relied on the Environmental Protection Agency, not Congress.
DeSantis’ announcement came as a surprise for many considering former President Donald Trump had already announced his candidacy for president in Nov. of 2022. The former president has also been polling higher than DeSantis and leveling preemptive attack ads against DeSantis, according to a poll done on May 24 by Quinnipiac. DeSantis also previously said he was “not a candidate” for president.
Though DeSantis did not mention him by name, in response to a question asking what sets DeSantis apart from Trump DeSantis said, “I follow through on what I tell people I am going to do.”
The Cal Poly Republicans were supportive of DeSantis’ decision to make his announcement via Twitter Spaces.
“[The] 2016 [presidential election] proved the importance of social media such as Twitter,” the club said via an Instagram message to Mustang News. “Our club is very supportive of any platform that promotes free speech.”