The Sunshine State’s Dark Bully

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Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
The Sunshine State’s Dark Bully

How about Ron DeSantis? The Florida governor is the new darling of the right-wing media, funders, and other establishment powers who’re pushing him to be your next president.

Ron DeSantis is the new Republican Party,” gushed one arch-conservative media maven. That’s odd, since what characterizes Ron’s tenure (and is causing a collective swoon for him within the rightist hierarchy) is his Big Government authoritarianism. Just yesterday, these same so-called conservatives said such use of government power was evil. But here comes DeSantis, who puts the bull in bully – bellowing “culture war” hooey, demonizing immigrants, fabricating claims of voter fraud, promoting Covid lies, and so forth. Then he imperiously asserts government power to bully local communities, workers, the poor, Florida’s environment, truth, fairness, honesty, and democracy.

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Consider one of his recent maneuvers to overturn the people’s democratic will. Like most other Republican-run states, DeSantis’s Florida keeps trying to block African-Americans from the polls. In 2018, however, Floridians themselves rebuked the suppressors by approving a ballot measure to expand the electorate. A whopping 65% said YES to eliminating a vindictive lifelong ban on voting by ex-felons – people who had served their time. This long overdue measure of simple justice (approved, in fact, by a much bigger margin of voters than DeSantis got that year) re-enfranchised about 1.4 million former felons.

But wait – DeSantis had old Jim Crow up his sleeve! In 2019, he rammed a technical gotcha into state law, preventing former felons from voting until they pay in full all court fines (many arbitrarily and unfairly assessed years ago for things like marijuana possession). The fines can run thousands of dollars, so DeSantis’ new law created a partisan poll tax to price a big percentage of these newly eligible voters out of democratic participation.

Remember, he’s the “new” Republican Party.

I’m making moves!

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