A few crumbs hurled at Democrats cannot the nature of the Florida Republican Party’s triumph this legislative session. In addition to banning sanctuary cities, allowing teachers to carry guns, easing the restrictions on the creation of hospitals, the Florida House and Senate will send a bill to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk that declaws, neuters — use whichever appropriate verb you wish — or destroys the voter-approved amendment allowing felons to vote. And the Democrats were nowhere to be found:
Democrats, the minority party in both chambers, lacked the leadership or strategy to make much difference, and in many cases submitted willingly to their conservative colleagues.
In the Senate, they put up no resistance to the president’s top priority, an idea from the Jeb Bush era that includes building a massive toll road through rural parts of the state. It gained traction despite any evidence the project was warranted or coordinated with the necessary participants, such as neighboring states like Georgia or the rural counties where the roads would go.
Yet after little discussion or debate, and heavy criticism from environmental groups, only one Senate Democrat voted against it.
Democrats also repeatedly gave up one of the only tools they have to challenge Republican bills: they can slow the process by tacking on amendments.
Let it be said: Florida has no statewide Democratic Party. Andrew Gillum’s loss last November, let me speculate, proved to the Gwen Grahams who still effectively run the ship that a black liberal cannot win in Florida. This means we will nominate another white centrist corporate lackey in 2022 who will lose in another close election.
Meanwhile the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to whom I have overextended credit in the last five months, finally admitted that she doesn’t understand the constitutional crises we may face, and I mean Donald J. Trump’s Emoluments Clause violations as well as his attempting to persuade White House officials to get Robert Mueller off his back. Nor do senior Democrats. Joining the field of 54 candidates, Colorado’s Michael Bennet has premised a presidential run on — get this — his record of bipartisan cooperation.
A centrist politician in 2019 doesn’t understand the enemy; while the centrist reminds him of the things they share, the conservative enemy wants to behead him at the same time that his allies are stacking the courts, preparing to exonerate him of murder charges. Bipartisanship for the sake of progressive/liberal causes is doomed to fail when the other side won’t even grant the premises of your arguments. They have to be defeated, and when we lose we have to explain why loudly, calling then names.