Last night, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Trump Mini-Me who may run against Biden and/or Harris in 2024 if Trump stays out and the political gossip rags get their way, appeared on Laura Ingraham’s show. There, he regurgitated the latest wingnut talking point, that the jurors in the Chauvin murder trial were intimidated into convicting the killer cop:
Ron DeSantis on Chauvin's jury conviction: "If that's something that can potentially happen, where you have justice meted out because the jury is scared of what a mob may do — not saying that's what happened here … [but] that's completely antithetical to the rule of law." pic.twitter.com/fBDDCxmiQd
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 21, 2021
He’s not saying that’s what’s happening here, you understand — just raising the question!
Earlier this week, DeSantis signed an authoritarian “anti-riot” bill into law in front of an all-white, mask-less crowd. The dumb yet horrifying spectacle was emceed by the braying jackass in uniform pictured below, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who is a walking, grandstanding argument AGAINST making county sheriff an elected office.
During a press conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County tells new Florida residents "Don't register to vote and vote the stupid way you did up north."pic.twitter.com/HahFQVCVW2
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) April 19, 2021
In the clip, Judd warns outside agitators (he didn’t use that phrase, but his meaning is crystal clear) to keep their Yankee voting habits the hell out of Florida. It wouldn’t surprise me if boycotts of the state arise from this shitty bill, but maybe people have come to expect insanity from Florida, so the latest round of batshit won’t make a ripple?
The Tampa Bay Times has an article on what the bill contains, including a Confederate monument protection provision, though it’s not called that:
Under the law, any person, who without permission, tears down any type of memorial “dedicated to a historical person, an entity, an event or a series of events” would face a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The law also opens the door for businesses that incur losses in a riot or unlawful assembly to sue municipalities by removing caps on damages. That’s a side pocket way for the Republican statehouse and governor to punish cities run by Democrats, which is where large demonstrations tend to take place.
The governor also inserts his snout into city budgets by making them run cuts to police department funding past him:
The governor said the bill will also target calls to “defund the police,” which he said was an “insane theory.”
The law allows state attorneys in each judicial circuit or a member of a city commission to appeal local police budget reductions. The appeal would be subject to review by the governor’s office, which ultimately would rule whether it needs further review.
If it does, a separate commission, which includes the governor and the Florida Cabinet, would have the final say on whether the local government should approve, amend or modify its spending plan.
“This bill actually prevents against local government from defunding law enforcement,” DeSantis said. “We will be able to stop it at the state level.”
The president of Florida’s League of Women Voters calls that provision “incredibly authoritarian.” She’s right. So much for small government and local control. Like the orange demagogue who elevated him to the governor’s mansion, DeSantis wants to control everyone and everything.
A year ago, I would have hoped DeSantis’s coziness with the hard-right and increasingly authoritarian antics would alienate Florida voters. But after the Trump 2020 campaign outperformed its winning margin in 2016 in Florida, I no longer believe that’s likely.
If DeSantis wins reelection in 2022 and becomes the 2024 GOP nominee for president, the good news is that Democrats don’t need Florida to win. Can’t think of any other good news coming out of Florida politics these days. Open thread.