I’m not a fan of Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. I’ve long been a critic as these articles show. I felt years ago she should be removed from office, either in a Democratic Primary or by an executive action of the Governor. That Governor, Rick Scott did nothing, because inefficient elections in Florida’s most Democratic county benefits none other than Governor Rick Scott and his party.
It is against this backdrop that today Governor Scott, locked in a super-tight race for the US Senate sought to interfere in the normal process of vote counting in Broward and Palm Beach counties, both heavily Democratic in order to ensure his own election to the nation’s highest legislative body. This decision came hours after I was hopeful Governor Scott would resign his office early or at least recuse himself so not to give the appearance of meddling in a close election where he was one of the candidates.
In plain sight, in front of television cameras, Governor Scott tonight not only didn’t recuse himself, but choose to order the instruments of power in the state – whose levers he controls to crush any opportunity his opponent, Senator Bill Nelson has of overtaking him in the statewide vote count. This is the move of a tinpot dictator, the type of person many on CNN and MSNBC constantly claim Donald Trump.
Scott gave no rational justification for his actions and did not clamp down on the election offices in Republican dominated counties that still haven’t submitted their provisional ballot counts or finished counting voters that have come military personnel and overseas. Scott picked on Broward and Palm Beach, two heavily Democratic counties with over a million people for strictly political reasons. He used colorful language blaming liberal activists and alleging fraud while giving no proof – the sort of reckless, sloppy talk that an executive official should not give AND is unacceptable in representation of this state as a US Senator.
President Trump talks like authoritarian and admires strong men. Perhaps that’s why he tweeted his strong support for Governor Scott tonight – the Governor’s action would make Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and Mohammed Bin Salman proud. In fact those authoritarians that Trump keeps company with may be asking the American President why when trying to crush dissent he meekly uses Twitter rather than the full force of law enforcement the way Governor Scott did on Thursday.
One can only imagine if Trump had pulled what Scott did tonight – we’d have swarms of protesters on the street ginned up by professional leftist talking heads on MSNBC and CNN. We’d be hearing about how our democracy has been derailed and the republic is crumbling.
But since Scott isn’t Trump, we’re getting intellectual discourse on the election law in Florida. That’s refreshing but is plainly not the point – the bottom line is we have someone in Florida controlling the levers of power, using those levers to try and place himself in another office through a process which circumvents the normal electoral procedures. He’s using terms such as fraud and liberal activists to gin up anger among his base while acting in a manner reserved for foreign despots. The same despots, his ally Senator Marco Rubio admires. Today, Rubio’s tweets were so bizarre and unbecoming of an elected official, Scott perhaps was inspired to emulate them in action.
Scott’s mild mannered personality has allowed him to get a virtual pass from many for his reckless behavior. One wonders if Trump would ever be afforded the same courtesy by those in the media and political class who have accepted Scott’s move.