Ron DeSantis Would Like To Do To The U.S. What He & Other GOP Governors Have Done To Their States
Republican Efforts To Recall Democratic Governors In California And Louisiana Are Failing
This morning, sports betting aggregator US-Bookies.com noted in a press release that though the recall for California's neoliberal governor will make the ballot, he probably will not be voted off the island. "The odds that Newsom is recalled are 15/8 (34.8% implied probability). Newsom’s odds to not be recalled are 2/5 (71.4%), indicating the more likely scenario." Pity.
Better news out of Louisiana where AP reports that the Republican attempt to recall Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards flopped. "The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office said Friday that all parishes but one have completed counting signatures on a petition seeking to recall the Democratic governor, and the numbers have fallen far below what is needed to force a recall election."
Only 26,679 signatures were submitted-- less than 1% of registered voters, when they needed around 600,000 signatures (20% of voters). The crackpot Republicans trying to recall him cited his efforts to combat the pandemic by impinging on their "constitutional freedoms" and jeopardizing their livelihoods "without concrete scientific data" [and] "unconstitutionally mandating that masks be worn in all public places." Louisiana courts have sided with Edwards on his restrictions.
Today Louisiana reported another 194 new cases, bringing the state's total to 439,737 (nearly 10,000 deaths). Louisiana reports 94,592 cases per million residents but the good newsies that there are just 3,506 active cases, the 10th best in the country and Edwards' mandates are being credited with the great results.
Of the 15 worst states in the country with the worst pandemics-- each with over 100,000 cases per million residents-- all but one (Rhode Island , whose governor is a neoliberal DINO) are run by anti-mask Republican crackpots. These are the worst pandemic governors in America:
Doug Burgum (R-ND)- 133,064 cases per million residents
Kristi Noem (R-SD)- 130,223 cases per million residents
Gina Raimondo (D-RI)- 125,185 cases per million residents
Spencer Cox (R-UT)- 118,635 cases per million residents
Kim Reynolds (R-IA)- 118,181 cases per million residents
Bill Lee (R-TN)- 116,650 cases per million residents
Doug Ducey (R-AZ)- 114,664 cases per million residents
Kevin Stitt (R-OK)- 109,699 cases per million residents
Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)- 108,703 cases per million residents
Pete Ricketts (R-NE)- 106,254 cases per million residents
Henry McMaster (R-SC)- 104,395 cases per million residents
Kay Ivey (R-AL)- 104,024 cases per million residents
Laura Kelly (D-KS-- aggressive GOP state legislature)- cases per million residents
Tate Reeves (R-MS)- cases per million residents
Eric Holcomb (R-IN)- cases per million residents
Except for Rhode Island, these are all Trump states, where people are stupid enough to vote for Trump and embrace the pandemic.
And then there's Ron DeSantis, always competing to be the worst-- obviously the most Trumpist-- governor in America. He's working on the theory that if he can be the Trumpiest, he can get the GOP presidential nomination. And that he's better than Cuomo-- a low bar. Republicans deserve DeSantis... especially now, as Florida spirals down back into COVID-hell. The DeSantis regime has consistently lied about COVID statistics and has now been caught prioritizing vaccine distribution for wealthy Republicans over the working class. Flor-i-duh is open for bizniz... and COVID is booming. Yesterday there were 5,093 more cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,994,117 (92,846 cases per million Floridians). There are 631,839 active cases... but business is booming. 83 more deaths yesterday-- 32,613 total.
Michael Kruse's interminable Politico Magazine puff piece, Ron DeSantis Is Very Pleased With Himself, ran this morning. His gubernatorial project is entirely focused on persuading voters that he's done a great job on handling COVID. Other than correctly noting that DeSantis has screwed up unemployment checks like no one else in America, Kruse should have stopped here: "All successful politicians tell stories most favorable to their electoral aims, but this one surprised me. A year ago, after all, at the outset of the pandemic, the name Ron DeSantis had reached the stature of some dark meme, derided as 'DuhSantis,' 'DeathSantis' and 'DeSatan.' He was pilloried as a reckless Republican governor driven more by ideology than science. He was dogged by images of crowded beaches and bars teeming with heedless tourists. He scrapped testily with reporters over the emerging consensus-- at least within conventional media-- that Florida surely would become a downright peninsula-of-death. Six months ago, as the state’s caseload surged again and DeSantis nonetheless pressed to open schools, his critics piled on."
But Florida has fared no worse, and in some ways better, than many other states-- including its big-state peers. The most controversial policies DeSantis enacted-- locking down later and opening up earlier, keeping nursing homes closed to visitation while insisting schools needed to be open to students, resisting intense pressure to issue a mask mandate—have ended up being, on balance, short of or even the opposite of ruinous. Even his fiercest detractors by now have a hard time mustering outrage over his edict on schools. And his standing looks far sturdier than his gubernatorial counterparts now teetering from Covid-related crises-- Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall in California, and Andrew Cuomo, who is on the precipice of political extinction in New York. DeSantis’ approval ratings after plunging into the low 40s last year are now flirting with the mid-50s, and a variety of (admittedly very early) polls peg him as the 2024 GOP presidential favorite if Donald Trump opts to not run again.
Newly ascendant though he might be, the “future of the party” is just as standoffish and uncharismatic as he’s always been. For somebody with his manifest electoral potential, it amounts to an unusual, even unique mixture of natural talents and glaring liabilities-- qualities that typically would be political kryptonite. DeSantis used the rise of the Tea Party to get elected to Congress. He used the rise of Trump to get to the governor’s mansion. And he has managed that vital alliance, say Trump and GOP insiders, arguably better than any other high-profile Republican—accruing the benefits while for the most part evading the frequent, familiar nicks and complications. Most nonpartisan observers have had to grant that DeSantis is not so much a Trump toady as he is perhaps a Trump trade-up-- similarly transactional but significantly less bombastic, more ideologically coherent and much more disciplined and strategic.
“We will be proven correct,” DeSantis asserted with certainty to members of his famously minuscule inner circle at times last year when they worried openly about the withering national coverage. Matt Gaetz, the attention-grabbing congressman from the Florida Panhandle and his fellow (but more cartoonishly supportive) Trump ally, told me DeSantis told him that he’d do just one thing differently if he could have a re-do. “He told me,” Gaetz said, “that his biggest regret as governor is that we ever locked down for even one day.”
...“Florida is third in the nation in terms of confirmed cases and fourth in deaths,” Peter Hotez of Baylor University told me. “And the worst might be yet to come.” He mentioned the B.1.1.7 variant—of which Florida has the most cases in the country. He frets about a fourth wave... Crist told me DeSantis’ pandemic response has been in his estimation “horrific” and “immoral.” Ditto two others seriously weighing runs for the right to take him on next November: Nikki Fried, the state commissioner of agriculture and consumer services who is the highest-ranking statewide elected Democrat, said it’s been “very politicized” and “very chaotic.” And Miami state senator Annette Taddeo said she likes to call DeSantis “No Plan Ron.”
“When in modern political history,” asked the South Florida Democratic consultant Ben Pollara, “has taking a victory lap in the midst of an ongoing crisis ever worked out well politically?”
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot to celebrate with 32,000 dead,” Crist said.
Mayors say DeSantis didn’t make the hard decisions—they did. He shunted the onus as well as the political peril, they contend, by making them enforce rules he wouldn’t and hasn’t.
“I like how now he’s taking credit for how well the state did while it was really local governments and mayors,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said, “that put orders in place that kept our residents safe.” He added that he’s never met or spoken to DeSantis—and that that’s not unusual for his fellow mayors around the state—and that it’s not out of a lack of trying.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have predicted disaster in Florida where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted lock-downs and mask mandates and fully opened schools. But a year after the pandemic’s start, the third most populous state is neither the best nor the worst in some key categories. In terms of deaths, it is well below New York and roughly equal with California, both of which imposed more aggressive lockdowns. South Dakota and Texas, whose Republican governors are considered possible 2024 candidates along with DeSantis, have higher death rates than Florida. In terms of vaccines, Florida has fully vaccinated roughly the same percentage of its citizens as New York and California.