Ron DeSantis credits ‘Rust Belt’ values with surviving Ivy League liberalism

Desantis Levin
The Governor also explains how he overcame the handicap of an Ivy League education with GOP voters.

Gov. Ron DeSantis may be the pride of Dunedin, but when it came to surviving the liberal crucibles of Yale and Harvard Law School, so-called “Rust Belt” values were what got him through.

The Governor offered that insight during an appearance on the Fox News Channel‘s “Life, Liberty, and Levin,” which is set to air Sunday evening.

“My father’s from western Pennsylvania, my mother’s from Northeastern Ohio. So that is like steel country. That is like blue collar salt of the earth and, as you know Mark, Florida’s very eclectic. People kind of come from all over, we do have a culture and so I grew up in that culture, but really it was kind of those Rust Belt values that raised me.”

Rust Belt values weren’t all that he took to Yale, however. He also found that Florida’s informal dress code was a poor fit for undergraduate studies up north.

“I show up my first day and in Florida we would wear things like jean shorts, flip flops, and a t-shirt. So I show up my first day wearing that and you’ve got kids from Andover and Groton and I was a fish out of water and it was a major, major culture shock.”

That sartorial difference underscored a philosophical one for young DeSantis as well.

“I wasn’t like a refined conservative in terms of politics, because I was mostly into sports and things like that. But you start sitting in some of these classrooms and even though one of Yale’s mottoes is ‘For God, for country, for Yale,’ sit in the classroom attacking religion, attacking God, attacking the United States. I’m sitting in class and they’re saying that the U.S. was to blame for the Cold War,” DeSantis lamented.

“I had never experienced that because growing up in Dunedin, I didn’t know if people were Republican or Democrat. You know, you had both of them, but everyone kind of believed in the core American principles and so that was my exposure to the left and I think what it did for me was it was so different from what I thought was appropriate that I wasn’t influenced by it in terms of it, pulling me in that direction, I rebelled the other way.”

Ultimately, DeSantis was able to overcome the handicaps of an elite Ivy League education and frame it as a positive to conservative Primary voters when he ran for Congress in 2012, telling them “I got through Yale and Harvard and came out more conservative than when I went in. The swamp’s gonna have nothing on that and they appreciated that.”

The “swamp” term, of course, was popularized by former President Donald Trump in the 2016 campaign, years after DeSantis first ran for Congress. But we assume the Governor’s point stands.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Earl Pitts American

    February 26, 2023 at 8:29 am

    Good Morning America,
    Thank You America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Mr. Haney

      February 27, 2023 at 2:55 pm

      America doesn’t have a Governor you poor ignorant moron. However, it does have far too many fake American idiots like you.

  • Carpetbagger

    February 26, 2023 at 8:43 am

    How inconvenient that the education that brought DeSantis all his success is now a liability. It’s MAGA versus MAGA out there, and the shapeshifter from Florida will find that he can’t shed his woke credentials so easily.

  • White mountain

    February 26, 2023 at 7:42 pm

    Just listening to him I can tell Ron did a mountain of coke at Yale lol

  • Chad

    February 26, 2023 at 11:02 pm

    Interesting. Similarly, graduated from Syracuse and moved to Idaho for a job in 1999. Stayed until 2004, when an opportunity came up in Richmond, Virginia. Never could have imagined the bigotry and misogyny that still persisted their. That experience pushed me to the left. Too each their own, I guess.

  • DeSantis DeSucks

    February 27, 2023 at 11:48 am

    So he learned nothing, basically.

  • Rob Desantos

    February 27, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    “the handicap of an Ivy League education”

    Today’s Republican party, ladies and gentlemen. They’re morons.

    • Mr. Haney

      February 27, 2023 at 2:54 pm

      Ungrateful morons at that.

  • angela salas

    March 1, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    ah…shucks… Liberty University would have been more comfortable for him…has anyone seen Jerry Falwell, Jr lately…he was a big help to bring the Christian vote to Trump…perhaps he could call on God to do something about water quality in Florida.

Comments are closed.


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