A Republican Who Might Make Me Vote for a Democrat

The New York Post published an opinion column on Easter Sunday highlighting a “fresh face of the Republican Party, promoting business innovation as well as embracing minority groups. Fans are buzzing that he could be a potential presidential candidate.” This extravagantly praised celebrity, Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, is a favorite of “the young” and “one of the top Republican contenders to watch in 2024 and 2028, with rumors that he might join Nikki Haley’s presidential ticket if she runs or even emerge as a presidential candidate himself,” according to commentator Jacquelyn Powers Maurice.

The major strength of Suarez, the son of a Cuban-born former mayor of Miami, seems to be his exuberant accommodation of both large corporations and the LGBT lobby. He “famously didn’t vote for Trump” and to the delectation of other NeverTrumpers, denounced the former president from a “personality perspective.” Trump, according to Miami’s mayor, is a bully, who riled up his Democratic detractors, and as Suarez explained to Maurice, “if you’re trying to be abrasive or trying to create conflict, I just don’t see that being healthy for America.” 

Presumably the Democrats will show themselves to be peacemakers should President Suarez stretch out a friendly hand to them. Also, the mayor hopes to get part of Silicon Valley to relocate to Miami and is acting accordingly. He challenged Governor Ron DeSantis on masks and mandates, as Suarez believes citizens should not be allowed to decide such things for themselves. Freeing people from masking requirements is also not something that Suarez’s corporate friends and sponsors would like done.

Suarez also fought DeSantis over the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, a parental rights law that prevents exactly no one from saying “gay.” According to Suarez, the new law “has deflated some of Miami’s efforts to continue to attract new residents, conventions, and business opportunities.” Having previously opposed DeSantis’ resistance to the sexualization of the young via the public school system, Suarez is now trying to have his cake and to eat it, too: “My perspective is that we don’t want little kids being taught about sexuality in the classroom. We want parents to do that. But we also want to be a country that is pro-equal rights for the LGBTQ community, which is what Miami is about.” Further, “the LGBTQ community is a large stakeholder in this country and deserves to be treated with respect.”

There is of course nothing in DeSantis’s bill, which passed with bipartisan support, that stripped anyone of the rights of citizenship. But let’s look at Suarez’s supposed clarification more closely: If he truly believed that parents should be the ones to teach their offspring about sexuality, instead of a woke and/or transgendered instructor, he would have considered DeSantis’ bill to be nothing more than a modest first step in the proper direction. Why stop at the third grade in denying woke teachers the right to challenge biologically determined gender identity? Why not forbid this practice in public education entirely? Oh, I forgot; the corporations whom Suarez hopes to attract wouldn’t like that!

Calling Suarez and his backers RINOs would be an insult to Me-Too Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski. Following the RINO tradition, Republicans allow themselves to deviate from the party line toward the Left—e.g., on social issues and confirming Democratic nominees for federal posts—when that step seems necessary for electoral reasons or in order to avoid the full ire of the leftist media. Despite these moves, RINOs are still vaguely identifiable as Republicans. Suarez exemplifies an even more mind-boggling transformation of the Republican brand. He is a woke leftist who seeks to please the cultural Left, yet he sometimes walks back (ineptly) what he says when he opportunistically pivots rightward.

Even more ominously, Suarez represents a possible direction in which the GOP might go in its desire to appeal to college-educated white women and flush corporations. This direction assumes the social Right has no choice but to vote for wokesters on the make, with corporate connections. According to this reasoning, Americans are so turned off by economically disastrous Democrats that they will go out and vote for left-leaning Republicans.   

Lately I’ve been wondering if a Republican presidential candidate could be so bad that I would vote for the Democrats. Mayor Suarez of Miami easily fits the requirement for making such a choice. Indeed, I might even vote for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if Suarez were her Republican opponent. 

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About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: Joe Biden greets Francis Suarez with a fist bump on January 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)