Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who apparently feels threatened by teenagers wearing PPE in his presence, has seemingly found his backbone when it comes to trying to disenfranchise Black voters.
NBC News reports that as Florida’s legislative session ends, DeSantis–who plans to run for the White House in 2024–is likely to call legislators back for a special session in an attempt to force them to take up his own voting map, which would eliminate two Congressional seats currently held by Black Democrats. The seats in question, currently held by Rep. Val Demings and Rep. Al Lawson, remained intact under a map adopted by the Florida legislature, which is controlled by Republicans.
That–along with state law and a Florida Supreme Court ruling against his own redistricting effort–should have meant that both seats were safe when the legislature left them along following the 2020 census. But DeSantis has promised to veto the legislature’s map anyway, something no governor has ever done before to a map draw by members of their own party.
DeSantis is hinging his presidential bid on appealing to conservatives who have largely bought into ex-president Donald Trump’s Big Lie of mass voter fraud, and who have worked around the country to curtail Black voter participation, so he’s willing to push members of his own party off a cliff to score political points.
From NBC News
Now Republicans are bracing for DeSantis to keep his promise and haul them back into a special session, worrying that he might hit the campaign trail and use his popularity and the bully pulpit to bring election-year pressure on those who bucked him.
Dragging legislators back to Tallahassee, which would be the ultimate power play for DeSantis, is on brand for a governor who became a top 2024 Republican presidential contender — second only to former President Donald Trump — for his willingness to fight anyone who hints at crossing him.
According to NBC, Florida voters in 2010 passed amendments to the state constitution which “prohibit legislators from intentionally drawing seats that favor or disfavor incumbents or parties or reduce the ability of minority voters to elect candidates of their choice.” DeSantis, apparently, does not care.
DeSantis is taking a page out of Trump’s wanna-be strongman political playbook, bucking a legislature controlled by his own party that for the most part has given him whatever he wants and refused to criticize him, even when he bullied teenagers for wearing protective masks that their parents told them to wear.
Among other gifts feal Republicans in his legislature have delivered to DeSantis: passed his election police force, designed to investigate and prosecute non-existent voter fraud, passing his homophobic “Don’t Say Gay” law and his ban on teaching Critical Race Theory, which isn’t actually taught in any school in Florida.