Readers know for whom I voted in Florida’s gubernatorial race. Congressman Ron DeSantis, in the pithiest line said by any candidate in 2018, may not have been a racist, but racists thought he was a racist. Continue reading
“Florida recount” inspires more grins than “Frank Drebin, Police Squad,” but if the results hold I expect Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott to triumph, thanks to a campaign cycle marked by demagoguery and chicanery. They will owe their support in some measure to the Cuban vote, which remains intransigent despite the steady accumulation of tombstones at Caballero Rivero Woodlawn North:
Miami communications strategist Giancarlo Sopo, himself a Cuban-American, looked at Miami-Dade’s most Cuban precincts. He found DeSantis won twice as many votes as Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum did in those enclaves: 66 percent to 33 percent.
That’s a difference of more than 160,000 votes – far more than the shrinking statewide advantage DeSantis has held since election night. The governor’s race will probably go to a recount now because less than half a percentage point separates DeSantis and Gillum.
A Telemundo poll taken the week before elections showed, guess what, that sixty-four percent of the Cuban Americans polled supported DeSantis. Not a surprise. Gillum, black and socialist, never had a chance.
Now the president, refreshed after staying in from the wet French rain, went on his morning Twitter constitutional. As reported by his faithful amanuensis Jonathan Swan of Axios, he wants to end federal Hurricane Maria aid to Puerto Rico:
More than $6 billion has been allocated to help aid storm recovery, but hundreds of thousands of people are still waiting for help, living in homes that are in desperate need of repair, according to The New York Times. The island’s leadership has said it needs billions more to rebuild, and in February said that it would cost at least $17 billion just to fix its beleaguered power grid.
Swan reported Sunday that Trump has even proposed demanding some of the money already allocated to relief back.
Swan is the fellow who acted as Trump’s errand boy when the president suggested changes to the Fourteenth Amendment that, were he alive, would have inspired Thaddeus Stevens to smother him to death with a toupee, therefore take a deep breath. But it’s a reminder of the president’s loathing for brown skinned people unless they’re supine like Cubans, who, I’ll remind readers, don’t consider themselves people of color and whom American immigration policy has considered white.
11:17 p.m. I’ll repeat: as a Floridian, it’s weird to live in a county where the Republican incumbent and the open seat held by a Republican since 1989 went down yet the governor and Senate races went to a Democrat. Meanwhile Nancy Pelosi will be speaker, it looks like. My state will live with more red tide, more gutting of environmental regulation, and more gutting of the state treasury.
11:00 p.m. Hello. Been eating chocolate. Gillum concedes, but Antonio Delgado in Illinois, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey will win.
10:29 p.m. I can’t stress how weird this is that the evening is going in our direction but Florida is not.
10:23 p.m. Democrats will take the house, NBC declares.
10:12 p.m. What a weird night. Florida may fall to the GOP, but so far the last thirty minutes has seen race after race fall to the Democrats. Texas has seen perhaps ten state race pickups despite what I just heard was a O’Rourke loss. At last the Dems are competitive in Texas.
9:59 p.m. Although the competition for Worst Governor in the United States is fierce, what Sam Brownback did to Kansas has no precedent. At last a Democratic governor can pick up the mess.
9:53. Sharice Davids picks up a race in Kansas. She’s Native American and gay.
9:47 p.m. Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell defeats Republican Carlos Curbelo. HOLY FUCK.
9:45 p.m. Look, I can’t lie: the Florida news has been enervating. What will perk me up if news doesn’t improve from Broward County makeup votes is the series of House races that remain to be called.
9:41 p.m. Conor Lamb wins in Pennsylvania.
9:33 p.m. I’m having a martini. Because why not?
9:28 p.m. Jason Crow beats Mike Coffmann in Colorado Sixth District. Another pickup.
9:23 p.m. Carlos Curbelo still clinging by his teeth, behind by a point and a half.
9:15 p.m. I can’t escape the gloom at my blogging station. But no more House races have been called yet.
9:05 p.m. Amendment 4 in Florida, restoring felon voting rights, has passed by a comfortable margin.
8:59 p.m. Joe Manchin holds. Now he can feel better about voting for Brett Kavanaugh.
8:55: Mike Braun beats Joe Donnelly in Indiana.
8:45 p.m. Beto O’Rourke at 66 percent at the early vote in Texas.
8:41 p.m. I’m back.
8:26 p.m. Still waiting for Florida.
8:17 p.m. Nelson and Scott are at 50.0 each, according to MSNBC. More wine!
8:13 p.m. Rick Scott up by 10,000 votes in Florida.
8:10 p.m. Jerry Iannelli of Miami New Times: Miami-Dade’s vote-by-mail and early-voting results just came in, Democrats cleaned up in Dade County early voting, which is typical for early votes but still could be a sign of more blue votes to come 1/x
8:04 p.m. Impressively, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is ahead of Carlos Curbelo, one of the few GOP congressman who won in a Clinton district in 2016.
7:59 p.m. Donna Shalala wins! A huge sigh of relief. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s former district, a GOP moderate stronghold, is now firmly Democratic.
7:57 p.m. Steve Schmidt, while I appreciate your betrayal of conservative values, theoretically, “fidelitous” is a word one uses the way I use “rebarbative.”
7:55 p.m. From 538:
CLARE MALONE 7:54 PM
An interesting little tidbit from the preliminary exit polls out of Indiana, where Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is fighting for his seat: 53 percent said that Donnelly’s vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation was important in deciding their midterm vote.
7:53 p.m. MSNBC projects Sherrod Brown as winner in Ohio. No one much discussed this race. What matters is Richard Cordray, former head of the former Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, beating his challenger.
7:50 p.m. I may accept a piece of dark chocolate. Help me.
7:48 p.m. Second refill. Right ring finger still throbbing. I am a martyr for blogging, though.
7:45 p.m. If Gillum and Nelson win — more full disclosure — you will have seen a transformation of Florida the likes of which I haven’t seen in my lifetime. The only comparison: if Beto wins his race in Texas and Abrams in Georgia.
7:41 p.m. Full disclosure: friend Alan Gomez gets interviewed on MSNBC on Hispanic voter trends in Florida.
7:40 p.m. Nelson and Gillum still doing very well, the latter clobbering in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
7:38 p.m. Barbara Comstock gone, Jennifer Wexton wins VA-10. First sip of red wine.
7:36 p.m. Amy McGrath jumping to a lead in the unfortunately named KY-6 60-39 against Andy Barr.
7:35 p.m. What you want, dear readers, is to follow a Negroni with red wine. What an acerbic taste combo!
7:31 p.m. Spanberger leads Brat in VA-7. Comstock behind by double digits in VA-10.
7:26 pm. Nelson 52, Gillum 51. Please, powers that be. Chuck Todd, that Miami native son, has acknowledged that Gillum and Stacey Abrams victories “have transformed” how Democrats run in the South. Well, yeah.
7:24 p.m. My posts will accumulate as the returns do.
7:23 p.m. My right ring finger, damaged by falling blender last night, is throbbing. Bear with me.
7:21 p.m. Andrew Gillum well above Hilary Clinton levels in Miami-Dade County and Broward.
6:23 p.m. MSNBC, whose coverage I will watch for a couple hours, has unleashed Steve Kornacki, a thirtysomething already mocked for his almost pneumatic enthusiasm. He wears a blue longsleeved shirt. I suspect he wears several undershirts for the sweat.
6:17 p.m. I ate leftover fricase de pollo I cooked yesterday, accompanied by a side arugula salad, the latter as comforting as a cup of coffee. My laptop is charged. I’ve read the requisite number of pages of the Olivier bio I checked out last week. I’ve graded thirty essays submitted in three classes. Is America ready for me?
“We’ve lost our self-respect,” said the woman to the Publix cashier on Sunday in Cuban Spanish. “Sooner rather than later we’re going to deal with socialism.” Who “we” was is unclear: Floridians? Cubans? Americans? All of them, like as not. The robust paranoia of the Cuban exile mind specializes in the collapsing of referents. Continue reading
So, I’m a partisan, but I’m trying to figure out what crime Andrew Gillum committed by accepting Hamilton tickets from an FBI agent other than possibly lying about where he got them? What quid pro quo happened? The POLITICO story, naturally, buries the lead twenty-five paragraphs down with a quote from a federal prosecutor:
Zimet said the acceptance of gifts by Gillum is “probably not” a federal “theft of honest services” crime “if there’s not some quid pro quo attached to it,” and a quid pro quo can either be a vote “or a promise to do something that gets you closer to criminality.”
The Tallahassee Democrat‘s story, detailing evenings of booze, trips to Costa Rica, and rooms at the Millennium Hotel, is more thorough, but all I get from this document dump is how, to quote the story, lobbyist Adam Corey, under FBI investigation, “assisted Gillum in positioning himself for a run at statewide office.” The story’s length adduces its seriousness.
It’s the kind of political reporting that drives me bonkers: narrative without analysis, reminiscent of the direst of 2016 coverage.
Because Romney-Ryan lawn signs didn’t bother me, I had to understand why the Ron DeSantis ones do six years later, as I drive to work on cooling autumn Miami mornings. Continue reading
I don’t think I’ve defended my local votes before. But with early voting beginning on Monday, I want my readers to know what’s at stake. Continue reading
The Miami Herald made too much of this protest, but, still, don’t ever accuse Cuban-Americans of living in the past:
Some of the demonstrators also condemned Democrats because they said they ignore how Cubans on the island and other oppressed people suffer — some lacking basic needs like toilet paper. It’s a charge members of the party, especially those in Miami, strongly deny.
No matter. The protesters denounced Democrats as “commies” and waved signs supporting Republican candidate Ron DeSantis, who is running for governor, and running mate Jeanette Núñez. But Miami-Dade County Republican Party Chairman Nelson Diaz said protesters weren’t officially affiliated with any group, and that, as far as he knew, nobody had paid them to be there.
Diaz said the group came together because they’re all against dictators in countries such as Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba. Protesters acted angrily, he said, because they’re offended that Shalala and Mucarsel-Powell invited Lee to Miami. Opponent Maria Elvira Salazar was quoted in the Miami Herald Wednesday explaining that she’d like President Donald Trump to meet with Raúl Castro, but the protestors had no vitriol for the Republican candidate.
“There is nothing worse in this country than Barbara Lee,” Diaz said.
Barbara Lee is worse than Ron DeSantis, who addresses racists; Rick Scott, CEO of a company responsible for the largest Medicare fraud in American history ; and, of course, Donald Trump, who adores the strongmen whom they deplore. Cuban-Americans of my grandmother’s generation, this confirms, would replace one dictator with another. They consider themselves white because the United States has encouraged them to think so. They have lived long and learned nothing.
As for the protest, remember the Brooks Brothers riot of 2000?
He’s not a racist, he just keeps popping up in places where race grifters and white supremacists gather. Continue reading
My daily reminder that Republicans are the party of white supremacy:
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a gubernatorial nominee who recently was accused of using racially tinged language, spoke four times at conferences organized by a conservative activist who has said that African Americans owe their freedom to white people and that the country’s “only serious race war” is against whites.
DeSantis, elected to represent north-central Florida in 2012, appeared at the David Horowitz Freedom Center conferences in Palm Beach, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, said Michael Finch, president of the organization. At the group’s annual Restoration Weekend conferences, hundreds of people gather to hear right-wing provocateurs such as Stephen K. Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Sebastian Gorka sound off on multiculturalism, radical Islam, free speech on college campuses and other issues.
“I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be here to speak,” DeSantis said in a 27-minute speech at the 2015 event in Charleston, a video shows. “David has done such great work and I’ve been an admirer. I’ve been to these conferences in the past but I’ve been a big admirer of an organization that shoots straight, tells the American people the truth and is standing up for the right thing.”
To quote Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, DeSantis picked some nice playmates:
Guest speakers at its conferences over the past five years have included Republican members of Congress, former governors Rick Perry of Texas and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, young conservative activists James O’Keefe and Ben Shapiro, and right-wing European politicians Nigel Farage and Geert Wilders.
Although Andrew Gillum leads in the polls, it’s an insignificant lead statistically. Ron DeSantis needs to lose to show the world that Florida comprises more than white racists and their Hispanic quislings.
The Florida governor’s race will be fought on high ground:
An assertion by a white gubernatorial candidate that Florida voters can’t afford to “monkey this up” by voting for his black opponent was widely viewed as a “dog whistle” to rally racists.
If it were a dog whistle — and GOP candidate Ron DeSantis denies any racial intent against Democrat Andrew Gillum — then a jungle music-scored robo-call that has circulated in Florida is more akin to a bullhorn.
If nothing else, the minute-long audio clip is a clear sign of how quickly racism — subtle in some cases, overt in others — has entered the contest to determine who will lead Florida.
“Well, hello there,” the call begins as the sounds of drums and monkeys can be heard in the background, according to the New York Times. “I is Andrew Gillum.”
“We Negroes . . . done made mud huts while white folk waste a bunch of time making their home out of wood an’ stone.”
The speaker goes on to say he’ll pass a law letting African Americans evade arrest “if the Negro know fo’ sho’ he didn’t do nothin’.”
It is unclear how many people heard the call.
A white supremacist group in Idaho is responsible, according to the article. To those who looked at the gathering of well-connected war criminals and deregulators at John McCain’s funeral and sighed for what we’ve lost in America, remind yourselves that operatives associated with the George W. Bush campaign slimed McCain during the South Carolina primary in 2000 using similar racist tactics.
I must say, though, that Gillum’s interviews with national outlets have been pure class. I’ve got some mild optimism.
Watching MSBC’s Steve Kornacki fly out of his sneakers yesterday as he read the results from Florida counted as one of the few moments of unalloyed pleasure since we Americans elected a white supremacist as president. I voted for Andrew Gillum two Saturdays ago expecting Gwen Graham or Jeff Greene to deliver a victory speech. But the Tallahassee mayor, whom I first noticed last September when he slammed Governor Rick Scott’s handling of Hurricane Irma’s aftermath, barnstormed the state from end to end. In his response to the red tide disaster that has strangled the west coast, he shamed Bill Nelson; he understood that livelihoods depended on how the state responds to natural disasters in large part caused by overdevelopment and Big Sugar in a peninsula with meager supplies of fresh water.
But here we are, and my Democratic friends have begun to rend their garments. Traumatized by over two decades of GOP rule in the governorship and legislature, they thought the less progressive-leaning candidates stood a better chance against Trump bot Ron DeSantis, a mendacious hustler who clothes his children in the leader’s raiment. What’s stunning about Gillum is he grabbed votes everywhere: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County, sure, but also rural Panhandle counties and Jacksonville. Turnout was stunning (look at Lee County, for crissakes). He excited people. He looked and sounded like no other candidate.
Meanwhile Graham, Levine, and Green — jeez, even their names in sequence read like a boring corporate law firm based in St. Petersburg — sounded like every amiable cautious Florida politician whom the Florida Democratic Party in its sagacity has pushed for the nomination since the civil rights era, a candidate that could unite disaffected swing voters and, of course, the mythical GOP voter “on the fence.” My well-meaning friends no doubt treasure how Buddy McKay, Bill McBride, Alex Sink, and Charlie Crist won term after term in the governor’s race after the era of Lawton Chiles, our last eight-year Democratic governor, keeping the state solidly blue. Demanding less wishy-washy candidates but cowering at the thought of how a white voter in Apalachicola might punch her ballot has quashed any flowering of liberalism in Florida.
Know this, my friends: if Graham had won the primary, the GOP would have turned her into Helen Gahagan Douglas; if Levine or Greene had won, the GOP would have turned him into George McGovern. We’ve tried that kind of candidate before and lost. How much worse can Andrew Gillum perform when exactly the right demographic groups in Florida’s most populous counties coalesced around him?
Now, of course, the candidate who had not a chance a week ago has the Chuck Todds of the American press to deal with for the next seventy days. An FBI investigation into Gillum’s community redevelopment agency has revealed influence peddling, none of which is linked to the mayor but he should expect attacks based on the dust cloud and they’ll come fast. That he offered few specifics during the primary I won’t hold against him. You need glittering generalities that excite people. I’m pretty sure the mayor of Florida’s capital and one of its largest cities realizes that ICE is a federal agency, and I’ve no doubt he knows the difference between Medicare and Medicaid; even I bollix the differences in conversation when thinking on my feet. But he’s got more attention now. Voters will notice the elisions, which will do my shellshocked Democratic friends no favors.
Still, I’ll concede that every one has said he or she would vote for Gillum — the alternative is deadly. They understand the stakes. It’s even possible that excitement for Gillum helps the hapless Nelson. But Donald Trump and DeSantis supporters had their worst scenario confirmed: after last night they’re running a white Trump supporter against a black liberal who can count on millions of minority voters.