Updated: Apr 4
In 1967 Florida's legislature passed a law that led to Disney being allowed to establish Reedy Creek Improvement District giving it a kind of self-government. Because Disney reacted badly to the GOP's new "Don't Say Gay" law, Republicans want to repeal that law and put the Disney corporation more directly under their own thumb. State Rep Spencer Roach of North Ft Myers is a pretty typical reactionary Republican state legislature-- and he's proudly unawake... and insists Disney be as well:
DeSantis jumped in on Friday and said he's open to signing a big by the legislature ending disney self-government. Wow! And all those bribes they've been paying him! He's furious because Disney told its shareholders it would support efforts in the courts to strike down the homophobic law. DeSantis, who has become increasingly authoritarian and anti-business recently, claims Disney has "crossed the line." But that was the smallest of DeSantis' woes last week. On Tuesday, he vetoed the Republican congressional maps and said he will call a special session to try to get them to draw more overtly partisan maps, the kinds that have been struck down by courts.
CNN reported last week that "The two sides have been at odds for months as DeSantis has pressed his party's legislative leaders to pass an aggressive reapportionment of the state's 28 congressional districts that would eliminate two districts where Black residents are a plurality. Republicans earlier this month defied DeSantis-- who is used to getting his way-- and passed its own map that maintains the same number of Black districts. A virulent and unabashed racist, DeSantis is making a play for the national KKK vote for his expected 2024 presidential run.
Siding with the governor is a path that may lead lawakers to a courtroom-- a scenario Republican lawmakers were trying to avoid when they started the once-a-decade redistricting process. The state House and Senate initially considered maps that adhered more closely to the existing district lines in hopes of fending off a legal challenge.
DeSantis has recently acknowledged that he wouldn't mind if the redistricting fight leads to a legal battle. His own map proposal eliminated two House districts-- the 5th and the 10th-- represented by Black Democrats. It was critiqued by opponents as a clear violation of a state constitutional amendment known as Fair Districts, which requires lawmakers to give minority communities an opportunity to "elect representatives of their choice."
DeSantis' endgame is for a court to deal a blow to the Fair Districts amendment, approved by voters in a ballot referendum last decade to reduce political influence in the map-drawing process. On Tuesday, DeSantis said he believes the way Florida courts interpreted the Fair District amendment last decade could be a violation of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Although it was passed overwhelmingly by voters, DeSantis, who has never believed in democracy and, in fact abhors it, has tried to throw out the popular anti-gerrymandering decision. The Amendment passed 3,153,199 (62.93%) tp 1,857,748 (37.07%). The anti-democracy PAC campaigning in favor of partisan gerrymandering spent nearly $4 million lying about the amendment. The biggest contributions came from the most reactionary money sources in Florida politics:
Republican Party of Florida- $2.6 million
Florida Association of Realtors- $278,000
Miriam Adelsons- $200,000
Florida Crystals Corp- $100,000
Florida Chamber of Commerce- $100,000
Wayne Huizenga- $100,000
U.S. Sugar Corp.- $100,000
This year, Florida's redistricting process was chugging along without drama when DeSantis unexpectedly unveiled his own map in January, an unprecedented step for a Florida executive. That proposal from DeSantis-- who is up for reelection this fall-- is a much more partisan map, one that could 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 to 11 for the Democrats.
The DeSantis map would break up the 5th Congressional District, one of four districts in the state where Black voters are a plurality. It is currently represented by Lawson, who is Black.
If DeSantis was smart, he would be forewarned by a federal court decision Thursday that struck down another anti-democracy effort he championed-- a Jim Crow voting law meant to prevent blacks from going to the polls. The court ruled DeSantis' year old bill unconstitutional and racially motivated. Three top NY Times reporters, Reid Epstein, Patricia Mazzei and Nick Corsasaniti, wrote that "The sharply worded 288-page order, issued by Judge Mark Walker of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee, was the first time a federal court had struck down major elements of the wave of voting laws enacted by Republicans since the 2020 election. Finding a pattern of racial bias, Walker in his ruling relied on a little-used legal provision to impose unusual federal restrictions on how a state legislates. 'For the past 20 years, the majority in the Florida Legislature has attacked the voting rights of its Black constituents,' Walker wrote in the decision, which frequently quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walker argued that the attacks were 'part of a cynical effort to suppress turnout among their opponents’ supporters. That, the law does not permit.'... Walker’s decision represents one of the most aggressive legal broadsides against Republicans in the heated voting rights battles that have followed Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. The ruling also comes as Democrats and their allies pursue an uphill legal strategy, relying on federal voting protections diminished by the Supreme Court."
DeSantis is counting on the overtly racist U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the decision on appeal. But what does DeSantis care anyway... he has his very own campaign song by members of two of the worst racist white rock bands, Johnny Van Zantacs of Lynryd Skynyrd and Donnie Van Zant of 38 Special. Johnny VZ, on Fox on April Fool's Day: "We got to thank Governor DeSantis for standing and believing for what he believes... He's been a great governor for us. He stands up for what he believes. So don't come down here trying to change things we're doing all right in the Sunshine State. Stay out of our business. Leave our governor alone. Down in sweet, sweet Florida our governor is red, white and blue… He's shooting us straight, telling us the truth... We really wrote it… in a couple of hours, and we recorded it on an iPhone and sent it to the governor."
The Jezebel review was way too kind: "I listened to all four minutes and 13 stomach-churning, butt-clenching seconds of it. I don’t know what’s worse: the racist and bigoted malarky in each line, or the fact that they managed to stretch the word 'what' out so long until it sounds like 'white.' Maybe in the Red States, this is what they call a 'bop,' but after listening to the lyrics I want to upchuck..." How about you? What do you think of this masterpiece of racist Southern schlock rock?
A little different song from Randy Rainbow that sounds like a much better anthem to me... albeit maybe not for any of DeSantis' election campaigns: