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Mickey Triumphs in Florida: The Disney-DeSantis Saga Takes an Unexpected Turn

The showdown between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the behemoth entertainment company, Disney, has taken quite a turn. In an intriguing twist, the animated mouse seems to have one-upped the Sunshine State’s governor in what has been an intriguing chess game.

It all started when Governor DeSantis began to use Disney as his poster child for businesses that support diversity and propagate what he terms as “woke” values. This was an interesting choice given that Disney is a pivotal driver of Florida’s economy, contributing billions of dollars through tourism. A cynic might say it would’ve made more sense to pick on other high-profile companies that share these values, like Starbucks or Target. Yet, these businesses hadn’t directly confronted the governor the way Disney’s former CEO, Bob Chapek, did.

Chapek had publicly opposed DeSantis’ controversial legislation, colloquially referred to as the “don’t say gay” bill. This was not a decision made in isolation; it came in response to the Disney workforce’s demand for the company to uphold LGBTQ+ rights. Current CEO Bob Iger, while not commenting on specific issues, has hinted at the possibility of rerouting some of the $17 billion Florida development funds elsewhere if the need arises.

Why Disney, one might ask? Aside from the obvious provocation, DeSantis probably saw it as an easy target. His goal was to make an example out of the company – to show that any business championing gay rights, diversity, or inclusivity would face repercussions. DeSantis’ “war on woke,” as he dubs it, is more of a branding campaign, an attempt to bolster his own image by setting himself apart from high-profile companies supporting values he disagrees with.

The game plan was to use Disney as a stepping stone to greater popularity while tarnishing the company’s reputation. However, recent poll results suggest that DeSantis might have miscalculated. Instead of boosting his image, it seems his efforts have backfired.

A June 15 poll from Navigator reveals that while Disney’s popularity remains unscathed, with nearly two-thirds of Americans expressing favorable views, DeSantis’ favorability has plummeted. The governor’s popularity has dipped from a net positive in November to now being 16 points underwater. This decline isn’t just restricted to Democrats and Independents – his standing has taken a significant hit among Republicans as well.

Moreover, the idea of making America more like Florida, once proposed by DeSantis, seems to be losing its appeal. This change in attitude spans across party lines, with marked declines, particularly among independents and Republicans.

While the Disney-DeSantis face-off continues, it’s clear that for now, the Magic Kingdom seems to be holding its ground. As for entrepreneurs and investors watching this saga unfold, the take-home message is clear: values matter. Aligning a company with progressive ideals and inclusivity might face opposition from certain quarters, but it also seems to engender strong public support – a crucial ingredient for long-term success.