DeSantis may be worse than Trump
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may be worse than Donald Trump — and that’s saying a lot.
DeSantis is as mean as the big orange-haired menace; and he’s willing to break the law to get what he wants. The difference: Trump cheats, steals, insults, and lies with an eye on the bottom line: how he can benefit economically. DeSantis cheats, steals, insults and lies in a more Machiavellian way: political victory justifies the means. Both hate Blacks, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and anyone who might dare refute them.
Pro Publica, a non-profit newsroom that aims to produce investigative journalism in the public interest, this week posted a damning article written by Joshua Kaplan titled, “How Ron DeSantis Blew Up Black-Held Congressional Districts and May Have Broken Florida Law.” It explains that through “a ballot initiative that passed with 63% of the vote, Florida citizens enshrined the so-called Fair Districts amendment in the state constitution. The amendment prohibited drawing maps with ‘the intent to favor or disfavor a political party.’ It also created new protections for minority communities, in a state that’s 17% Black, forming a backstop as the U.S. Supreme Court chipped away at the federal Voting Rights Act.”
Sixty-three percent of Florida voters who agreed with the Fair Districts amendment were not in DeSantis’ plan. And like his mentor who believed in his own alternative facts, this legislative session he “redrew Florida’s congressional districts, making them far more favorable to Republicans” and himself.
Even the state’s Republican-controlled legislature said no and fought DeSantis on this illegality. The governor, who sees himself as judge and jury, overruled lawmakers and pushed his map through. As Barbara Pariente, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court who retired in 2019, told ProPublica: DeSantis’ collaboration with people connected to the national GOP (who helped him redraw the map to his liking) would constitute “significant evidence of a violation of the constitutional amendment.”
In other words, he broke the law.
The Pro Publica article also tell us “no Florida governor had ever pushed their own district lines before. His plan wiped away half of the state’s Black-dominated congressional districts, dramatically curtailing Black voting power in America’s largest swing state.” (Bold print added.)
And they continue:
“In four years as governor, DeSantis has championed an array of controversial policies and repeatedly used his power to punish his political opponents. A presumptive candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, he has often made moves that seemed tailored to attract headlines, such as his recent stunt sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. But it’s the governor’s less flashy commandeering of the redistricting process that may ultimately have the most long-lasting consequences.
“Analysts predict that DeSantis’ map will give the GOP four more members of Congress from Florida, the largest gain by either party in any state. If the forecasts hold, Republicans will win 20 of Florida’s 28 seats in the upcoming midterms — meaning that Republicans would control more than 70% of the House delegation in a state where Trump won just over half of the vote.
“The reverberations of DeSantis’ effort could go beyond Florida in another way. … Six political scientists and law professors who study voting rights told ProPublica it’s the first instance they’re aware of where a state so thoroughly dismantled a Black-dominated district. If the governor prevails against suits challenging his map, he will have forged a path for Republicans all over the country to take aim at Black-held districts.
“‘To the extent that this is successful, it’s going to be replicated in other states. There’s no question,’ said Michael Latner, a political science professor at California Polytechnic State University who studies redistricting. ‘The repercussions are so broad that it’s kind of terrifying.’”
Several of my previous columns have focused on the travesty that is DeSantis for Florida. And still, he seems to get away with most every instance where he skirts or acts as if he is above the law.
And what are Democrats in Florida doing about this? Please, if you find out, write me and let me know.
The saddest part of this whole story is that Ron DeSantis seems on his way to stomping Charlie Crist, his opponent for governor of Florida. I just wish I’m wrong.