Governance, DeSantis Style
Today's posting has been no fun to write this far, and this item isn't going to make things better. In his effort to
be the most far-right Southern leader since Jefferson Davis, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) keeps doing very extreme things.
We don't particularly want to write a bunch of "Can you believe what DeSantis did now?" pieces, so we have been
putting them in a file, as we tried to brace ourselves to write an omnibus DeSantis governance item. The latest
developments (the last two items on the list) have finally compelled us to bite the bullet. And so, here's a rundown
of the really extreme stuff the Governor has done in just the last few weeks:
- Medicaid: The end of the COVID-19 pandemic means that certain federal funding for Medicaid has been
reduced. There are replacement sources, but many Southern states have declined the money because they want to own the libs, or something.
DeSantis appears to be a part of that contingent, and barring a change in course,
many millions of Floridians
could lose their health insurance.
- State-Run Media: For many Republicans, including Donald Trump, the fawning media outlet of choice
is Fox, or maybe OAN or Newsmax. Those aren't fawning enough for DeSantis, so
his preferred outlet is
the Florida Standard, an online outlet with a tiny footprint whose funding is shrouded in mystery.
- Election "Security" (Part I): The Florida state legislature
S.B. 7050, which makes it harder to vote by mail, expands the investigative authority of the so-called Office of
Election Crimes and Security, and makes it much harder for third-party organizations to register voters while
establishing massive fines ($50,000/instance) for any organization that runs afoul of the new rules. DeSantis hasn't
signed it yet, it would seem, but he's sure to do so since it's also the bill that allows him to run for president
without resigning as governor.
- Election "Security" (Part II): The Governor and his minions in the legislature are making
Florida elections more "secure" despite the fact that previous efforts have literally ruined people's lives. The
has an article
about a Black man and convicted felon named Peter Washington who was told his right to vote had been restored, cast a
ballot, and then was arrested by DeSantis' election police and charged with voter fraud. The charges were dropped, but
not before Washington lost his job, his wife was compelled to drop out of school (due to not being able to afford
tuition) and his family lost their health insurance.
- Death Penalty: Currently, per the Supreme Court's decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana,
states may only impose the death penalty as punishment for murder. DeSantis
just signed a bill
that would expand the death penalty to include people who commit sexual battery against children. Nobody wants to take
the side of child rapists, of course, but DeSantis is regularly picking and choosing which laws and court decisions he
agrees with, which is not the basis for a society based on the rule of law.
- White Pride, World Wide (Part I): Having previously banned a high-school course on African American
signed a bill
yesterday that places strict restrictions on how race and gender can be taught at the state's public universities, and
also forbids those schools from using state or federal funding for diversity programs. On signing the bill, DeSantis
cleverly observed that DEI is supposed to stand for "diversity, equity and inclusion," but it really stands for
"discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination."
- White Pride, World Wide (Part II): Most readers will have heard, by now, about Jordan
Neely. Neely was mentally ill and Black, and began behaving erratically on a New York subway train. Daniel Penny is
white and a Marine Corps veteran, and he responded by putting Neely in a chokehold. Maybe that was a justifiable choice,
though (Z) can note that in his rather extensive experience on public transit, there are a lot of unstable people, and
it's generally easy enough to just avoid them. In any case, Penny held the chokehold for a long time, well after Neely
was no longer resisting and, of course, Neely ended up dead. Penny has become the latest Kyle Rittenhouse, a cause
célèbre among far-right-wing types, and his legal defense fund has raised nearly $3 million on GiveSendGo,
which is the far-right version of GoFundMe. Part of the reason that fundraising has been so successful is that DeSantis
tweeted this message:
We must defeat the Soros-Funded DAs, stop the Left's pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law abiding
citizens. We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny. Let's show this Marine... America's got his back.
Let us translate that collection of dog whistles for you: "We must stop Jew-backed Black DAs who would presume to
prosecute a white man for executing a Black man, vigilante-style." And even if you don't buy our reading of DeSantis'
tweet, consider this: Would DeSantis be on board this train if the races of the two men were switched, and it had been a
Black Marine who strangled to death a homeless white man?
We have not been looking forward to writing this item, but we also didn't feel we could just ignore all this
frightening stuff. At least it's out of the way now. (Z)
This item appeared on www.electoral-vote.com. Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news,
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