Salazar and Gimenez need to be challenged, ousted

Last week the House of Representatives voted to create a bipartisan (five Republicans and five Democrats), independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Every Democrat voted in favor, Republicans not so much — except for 35 of them. Included in the 35 were newly elected members Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Gimenez, both from Miami. Mario Diaz-Balart went along with the Trump Republicans who voted against it. Many in the media hailed Salazar and Gimenez for their courage.

Any person watching television on Jan. 6 saw what happened at the U.S. Capitol. A large gathering, walking distance from where the Congress was about to meet to certify Joe Biden’s victory, listened to a harangue by outgoing president Donald Trump. As he had been doing for a couple of months, Trump professed and obsessed about the “Big Lie,” that the presidential election had been stolen from him. 

On a cold day he warmed up a crowd that would later become violent: “We will never give up, we will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. […] And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. […] So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we’re going to the Capitol, and we’re going to try and give. […] …Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help. We’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. […]”

Moments later the U.S. Capitol was stormed by Trump’s troops and over hours destroyed federal property, broke laws, committed atrocities seen by millions, murdered at least one Capitol policeman, and terrorized members of the Congress who had to be escorted in hiding to avoid what could have become a massacre. 

Neither Salazar nor Gimenez has ever been known for their bravery. If I were pressed for one word to define them it would be opportunism. In both their cases, they represent swing districts where they narrowly won with the help of rabid Miami Trump voters during a presidential election. And both are districts that if studied carefully could swing back to the Democrats in 2022, under the right circumstances, the right candidates (preferably women), and lots of money spent on the races.

So, courageous? No! These two are running for their political lives in 2022.

In fact, as reported by Florida Politics, “EMILY’s List — a national organization aimed at helping elect Democratic women who support abortion rights — has placed two South Florida congressional seats on its list of top targets nationwide in 2022.

“That target lists 27 seats across the country currently held by Republicans. Two of the 27 are in South Florida. EMILY’s List will work to oust Rep. Carlos Giménez in Florida’s 26th Congressional District and Rep. María Elvira Salazar in Florida’s 27th Congressional District.”

And not only will they be attacked for their stance against abortion, but, as stated in the Emily’s release, “When faced with an unprecedented health crisis, these members [who include Salazar and Gimenez] all voted against the American Rescue Plan, which aimed to expand vaccine distribution, increase the child tax credit, reopen schools, and support the economy.”

Let us agree that at least we know where persons like Marco Rubio and Mario Diaz-Balart stand on the issues. I can sum it up by stating categorically that they will kiss Trump’s ass to get elected. But in the case of Gimenez and Salazar, the jury is still out. And to date they’ve been like a political yo-yo, back and forth on all the issues, sticking their fingers to the wind to see what’s best for them — not their constituents. 

Or have we forgotten that on January 7, in the very early morning after the attack on the Capitol that produced murder and mayhem, Carlos Gimenez voted to support President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of Joe Biden’s victory in several battleground states. Salazar, on the other hand, took the coward’s way out: she was a no show. She did not vote.

Let’s hope we find two viable candidates to represent South Florida’s congressional districts 26 and 27 next year. We have enough cowards and do-nothings (except hurt Cuba and its 11 million people) representing us with Mario Diaz-Balart in the U.S. House, and Marco Rubio in the Senate.