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Florida Gone Wild

If Ron DeSantis becomes President of the United States, he is likely to do some very frightening and undemocratic things. His record thus far makes that clear. Further, he's likely to inspire other people in positions of power to follow his lead. Two bills introduced in the Florida legislature this week speak to this point.

First up, courtesy of state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (R), is a bill he calls "The Ultimate Cancel Act." And if it becomes law, then the Florida Division of Elections would be required to "immediately cancel the filings of a political party, to include its registration and approved status as a political party, if the party's platform has previously advocated for, or been in support of, slavery or involuntary servitude." In other words, the Democrats would be outlawed in Florida. Outlawing the opposition party? That's not fascist at all. No, sirre!

Obviously, the bill has zero chance of becoming law. It's political theater so that Ingoglia can tell constituents that he "owns the libs," and so he can highlight the right-wing talking point that the Democrats are the party of slavery. This is intellectually dishonest to the extreme, and anyone who knows anything about U.S. political history, and the fact that the parties just might have changed a little in the last 150 years, knows it. But well-informed people are not Ingoglia's target audience.

The other bill comes from state Sen. Jason Brodeur (R). This one is a bit more complicated, but it would require any blogger who writes about high-ranking Florida politicians, and who does not work for a newspaper, and who collects any money in exchange for their content to register with Florida authorities and to submit monthly reports summarizing said coverage.

Requiring private citizens to report certain kinds of speech to the government for monitoring? Again, not fascist at all. Not one bit. Brodeur is trying to make this about regulation of commerce, but of course the bill would run into massive First Amendment issues if it ever become law. And note that it does not limit things to residents of the state of Florida. Since we write about Ron DeSantis, and since we are not a newspaper, and since we collect money, we would theoretically be required to submit monthly reports. You'll know we've prepared and submitted the first one the moment you look out the window and see a winged pig fluttering by.

These proposals are not serious attempts to legislate, any more than are Majorie Taylor Greene's constant filings of articles of impeachment. The problem is that the utterly whackadoodle stuff makes the sorta whackadoodle stuff seem much more reasonable. And if DeSantis becomes president, there's going to be plenty of utterly whackadoodle and sorta whackadoodle stuff on the agenda. And some of the latter is actually going to become policy, or law. (Z)

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