Let's Not Quibble
Ron DeSantis has been fighting with scientists, with Robert Mueller, with Florida businesses (but only the ones that don't bribe him), with Florida's vibrant immigrant communities, with Trump and, most recently, with his own GOP legislature. That's because he's a dick who went to Yale and thinks he knows everything-- even though he doesn't know crap.
His latest bout is because he's demanding the legislature draw a clearly unconstitutional racist redistricting map. It isn't something you'd expect the legislature to push back against-- it is Florida-- but they have. Reporting for CNN, Steve Contorno wrote that DeSantis is aggressively pledging he won't sign off on this new maps until they demolish Al Lawson's north Florida congressional district. Lawson is black. DeSantis is a notorious racist. "DeSantis has taken issue with the historical boundaries of Florida's 5th Congressional District, which connects predominantly African American communities in Jacksonville and Tallahassee 150 miles apart. Opponents of DeSantis say removing the district is a blatant violation of the Voting Rights Act. The district is one of four in the state designed to improve African American chances of representation in Congress. US Rep. Al Lawson, who is Black, represents the district." DeSantis, reventing too the royal "we," fumed that "We will not be signing any congressional map that has an unconstitutional gerrymander in it, and that is going to be the position that we stick to. Just take that to the bank."
In taking this stance, DeSantis is at odds with Republican lawmakers. Maps approved by the state House and Senate would keep the district largely untouched for the next decade. If he sticks to his word, DeSantis won't sign either, creating new uncertainty of where lawmakers go from here.
DeSantis' remarks come a day after the state Supreme Court rejected his request to provide guidance on whether breaking up Florida's 5th would violate the Voting Rights Act and the state's Fair District Amendment.
In a 5-0 decision with two justices recusing, the court said it couldn't issue a ruling about a single district without considering the entirety of Florida's congressional map, adding that it lacked the "functional analysis of statistical evidence" to make that call.
DeSantis acknowledged the setback on Friday from a court stacked with Republican-appointed justices, including three of his own. But he remained determined to see the district broken up.
"That is not changing my position at all," he said.
DeSantis has involved himself in the state's decennial redistricting process far more than his recent predecessors. Last month, he introduced an aggressively partisan map that would net Republicans more seats in Congress.
The unusual step by DeSantis followed grumblings from Republican operatives that the GOP-controlled legislature wasn't pressing its advantage enough during the state's redistricting process. His map would also reshape another seat held by a Black Democrat, an Orlando-area district represented by Rep. Val Demings. Demings is now running for US Senate.
The map proposed by DeSantis would give Republicans the advantage in at least 18 of the 28 districts in the state and as many as 20. Florida Republicans currently hold 16 seats in the US House of Representatives.
The state Senate has already approved its map, which keeps the current district lines largely in place. Those boundaries were approved after legal challenges that dragged on for years. By not making many changes, state senators were hoping to avoid a protracted court fight this time around.
The state House's map makes significant changes to give Republicans more of an advantage but kept the 5th District intact.
DeSantis has now set the stage for a showdown with his own party, with the future of Congress potentially hanging in the balance.
DeSantis had split the North Florida district in such a way that it eliminated one of four districts in the state where Black Floridians had a reasonable chance of electing representatives from within their community. He also made it far less likely for a Democrat to win any district north of Orlando.
In 2010 Florida voters overwhelmingly passed two anti-gerrymandering amendments to the state constitution. Needless to say Republican leaders immediately got busy undermine and stalling the popular measures. This week, the <https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/npwlx2cq4r/econTabReport.pdf>latest national poll<> from YouGov for The Economist asked several questions about gerrymandering. Most registered voters (69%) say gerrymandering is a "major problem." 22% term it a minor problem and 9% say it isn't a problem at all. Asked if they support gerrymandering, most people said they strongly oppose it:
And among registered voters, 69% said they want redistricting done by nonpartisan redistricting commissions. Only 10% of voters oppose that (13% among Republicans). And 61% of registered voters say the Supreme Court should strike down maps-- like the one DeSantis is demanding-- that that have been drawn to give lopsided advantages to the party in power. Only 12% of voters say the Supreme Court should uphold them.