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DeSantis May Cede One of His Biggest Advantages over Trump...

Ron DeSantis wants everyone to know that he really, really hates undocumented immigrants. And while passing harsh anti-immigrant legislation helps on that front, it's not showy. So, the Governor has really embraced the stunt first pioneered by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) and then-Arizona-governor Doug Ducey (R), namely rounding up a bunch of immigrants (who are generally asylum-seekers, and thus not actually undocumented), and delivering them to some blue city or state.

Everyone knows about the Texas-to-Florida-to-Martha's-Vineyard flight that DeSantis perpetrated, possibly in violation of state law, and by making a sweetheart deal with one of his friends to provide the airline service at something like ten times market rates. Now, it appears that the Governor has done it again, this time using the same friend/airline, and the same false pretenses, to dump a couple of planefuls of immigrants in... California.

Before we continue, let's note that the Governor's stunts are already costing Florida taxpayers gobs and gobs of money. There's the cost of the initial stunt, of course, whether it's paying an airline to transport people or severance pay for some "woke" teacher who has been fired. But on top of that, DeSantis' war against Disney, his anti-drag laws, his anti-trans laws, his book bans, etc. have triggered dozens of lawsuits that have to be defended against. The price tag for those suits was $17 million by the end of 2022, and is likely approaching $30 million by now.

DeSantis doesn't care one whit about wasting Floridians' money in order to advance his own political prospects. However, with these immigrant flights, he may have exposed himself to a very different sort of legal problem. Yesterday, Bexar County sheriff Javier Salazar (D) filed a criminal case against DeSantis, charging him with numerous crimes related. And hours later, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) said he was considering doing the same, once California AG Rob Bonta (D) finishes his investigation of the Florida-to-California flights.

As with his war against Disney, we wonder what was going through DeSantis' head when he decided to declare war against Newsom. It's true that the California Governor has poked the Florida Governor in the eye more than once. However, it is also true that Newsom, like Disney, has massive resources at his disposal when it comes to waging this particular battle. Did DeSantis really need to awaken yet another sleeping giant, when he's already got more then enough on his plate dealing with Donald Trump?

We do not know for certain whether DeSantis has committed criminal acts here. However, Salazar and Newsom both know something about the subject, and they certainly think so. On top of that, former federal prosecutor Michael Wildes, who now does immigration law, also thinks so. "If you take people and you give them the impression that they're going to get work, which is what was found, and they were just transporting them around the United States haphazardly, of course charges could be leveled," he said during an appearance on News Nation yesterday.

And politically, it probably doesn't matter much if DeSantis is convicted, or could potentially be convicted. What matters a lot more is whether or not he is charged. Recall that the heart and soul of DeSantis' pitch is "I can get the Trump agenda implemented, but without all the extracurricular drama." But if the Governor is triggering tens of millions of dollars in civil lawsuits, and is also facing one or more criminal lawsuits, then so much for "without all the extracurricular drama." If he's smart, DeSantis will stop these stupid, cruel flights right now, and will hope that Newsom doesn't come up with enough evidence to pursue the matter. That said, if he was being smart, DeSantis would also have stopped fighting with Disney long ago. And we know what happened there. (Z)

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