Rick Scott has stuffed himself into a hat and now pulls himself out as a “defendant” in his own war against voters in Florida.
When you think of the way political lines are drawn, you may want to picture Florida as being shaped like a ballet shoe doing a pirouette because Florida has gently danced around the idea of a fair election for more than a decade now.
Let’s review this ballet & magic show, shall we?
V is for Voters
In 2008, voters in Florida overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Primary. However, the Republican powers that be decided that they would rather run against Barack Obama and successfully invalidated the votes of Democrats in both Florida and Michigan. Barack Obama, to the dismay of many Republican tricksters, won the election anyway and resurrected Hillary Clinton as perhaps the most effective Secretary of State the USA has ever known.
Republicans are still sore about that. Especially in Florida.
V is for Vendetta
In 2010, Republicans saw an opportunity to harness the anger, racism, homophobia, resentment and economic turmoil that voters were experiencing and re-package it as a revolution. Through a complex and manipulative marketing strategy, they birthed the “Tea Party” with funding from the Koch Industries and Florida’s own Amway.
(As a quick side note: Lady GaGa has broken her promise from the National Equality March for the 6th time by performing at an Amway Arena on Tax Day in Orlando. This is also after signing exclusive deals with Target and being the first to break the Arizona boycott.)
Once again successful, the Republicans elected a new leader for Florida… a billionaire proponent of privatization named Rick Scott. Since 2008, Republicans in Florida are keenly aware that racism and sexism, if made too obvious, can both come back to bite them in the ass. Therefore, Rick Scott was flanked throughout his campaign by a pretty black woman named Jennifer Carroll who satisfied both under-represented demographics for Republicans. She is rarely heard from since Scott won the election.
Intermission – A Puppet Show in the Lobby
V is for Ventriloquism
Believe it or not, Tea Party rhetoric was useful beyond what Republicans had originally anticipated. As it turns out, liberals gained traction with talk of “fighting the elitist cronyism at play in our big government”. Of course, the liberals were speaking of state-level politics which have been gerrymandered to benefit the Republican Party for as long as anyone can remember in the Sunshine State.
So it came to pass that the same puppets who denounced the validity of our President’s birth certificate could be used to promote the passage of Amendments 5 & 6 which would end the practice of re-drawing district lines to favor incumbent career politicians. Like naked emperors, Tea Party Republicans had proudly marched around Florida complaining of cronyism, nepotism and suppression of their fair representation. The unintended result was a window of opportunity to finally castrate Florida’s Republican machine – the machine that delivered George W. Bush to the United States of America.
V is for Voodoo
In order to understand someone like Corrine Brown (D-FL), in my opinion, you need to see a movie called ‘Just Cause’ with Lawrence Fishburne. Fishburne plays a Sheriff in rural Florida who is one of the few black people permitted by the well-oiled establishment to hold a position of power. For this reason, he nearly terrorizes his own black community for the purpose of self-preservation.
Corrine Brown is a member of the US House of Representatives from North Florida and as such is situated in the same uncomfortable position (although, to my knowledge she has never terrorized anyone). She is one of the few Democrats in Florida who has systematically been permitted to win reelection for the last 17 years in a row. But Brown’s status as an incumbent comes at a steep price.
The district lines are re-drawn (gerrymandered) every year to capture almost every black voter in North Florida’s 3 largest cities (Orlando, Jacksonville and Gainsville) and throw all of them into her district so that other legislators needn’t worry about appeasing “those people” during their Republican campaigns. So, the tradeoff is that we get 1 black female Democrat in the House but we have to take as many as 3 hard-right Republicans in the area who don’t have to answer to a single black Democratic voter in their own districts.
Ultimately, this sort of injustice is what brings Corrine Brown to the rescue of Republican Governor Rick Scott as he tries to do away with Fair Districts Florida’s Amendments 5 & 6 (which have now become Article 3, Section 20 of the Florida Constitution). Corrine Brown has even called former leaders from the NAACP to her side and asked them to go against the current majority of civil rights figures (including President Obama) who support the new re-districting laws.
In what seemed like an alternate reality for Florida Democrats, Corrine Brown turned on a dime and sided with Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) (who voted against protecting minorities in every other situation) and the Republican establishment to sue the State of Florida in Federal Court for her perceived “right” to retain an unfair advantage in future elections. When Rick Scott purchased his way into election by the slightest margin ever, he became “the defendant” (along with the ACLU) in this case by default. The ACLU might be of some help in defending our new law, but Rick Scott will throw everything he can into stopping it.
It's confusing to voters because it makes it appear that Rick Scott is now defending fair districting practices in Florida against a black woman and a Hispanic man who want special treatment… That view of the situation is exactly how Rick Scott wants it to go down in the papers. But in reality, all 3 have been on the same side and wasting your tax dollars to fight against the Amendments that you voted into law. These three pirates have seized the throne and refuse to accept that they’ve already been outmoded.
In a time when teachers are being laid off by the thousands and medication for working-class people with HIV is no longer provided by Florida, it’s comforting to know how many tens of millions of dollars these 3 career politicians are willing to spend on their own job security.