Governor Rick Scott has pulled a coup – a Friday Night Massacre that potentially will hand Florida’s 2020 Electoral College votes to the Republican nominee for President – be that President Trump or someone else.
Outgoing Governor Rick Scott waited until late on a Friday to complete a naked power grab. After years of ignoring Brenda Snipes errors in Broward County (Scott and his cohorts probably liked the Democrat on Democrat crime that Snipes office routinely committed through the years culminating in a ballot error that probably sent Scott to the US Senate ), Governor Scott removed a duly elected African-American countywide official who had already announced she was resigning in a matter of weeks and replaced him with a political crony.
Peter Antonacci is a capable executive and bureaucrat. Perhaps too capable and being placed with agenda because Scott as we’ll outline below should in normal circumstances have just left this appointment to Governor-Elect DeSantis. Antonacci it should be noted has worked closely with Democrats in the past, but that was two decades ago – as a survivor and leading individual in Florida Government circles he’s been firmly aligned with the GOP and Scott for sometime.
But Scott for some reason which we can surmise is power and influencing the 2020 Presidential Election has chosen not to leave this decision in the capable hands of DeSantis, who unlike Scott has spent some serious time studying the continued corruption in Broward County.
The death of President George H.W. Bush, the last US President who put together a clear electoral majority that united this country when he ran the first time put Scott’s heavy-handed actions even further on back pages – Friday night and the death of a US President who for whatever reason won bipartisan acclaim.
Scott’s actions came just weeks before he was to leave the Governor’s Mansion to take a seat in the US Senate. Scott is being replaced for a few days by his own Lt. Gov Carlos Lopez-Cantera and full-time by a fellow Republican Ron DeSantis. Either could have just replaced Snipes when her resignation became effective.
In DeSantis’ case, he’s spent some serious time studying the level of political corruption among Broward Democrats and thoughtfully working to understand the landscape so he can make changes- the right changes. Scott has permitted the wild west of Broward County to fester during his tenure offering nothing but words (if even that) when Broward officials, all Democrats acted outside the public interest or excessively. DeSantis, from what I understand has already been seeking out opinions and options as to how to deal with Broward County which is far more than Scott ever did.
But Scott who has never been a team player for our state or even for the GOP, wasn’t going to leave one of the most important items to DeSantis’ more consensus-oriented and informed approach. Unlike DeSantis who has spent his transition trying to build bridges even to Democrats, the gangster mentality Scott displayed in his remarks of November 8 when he came unhinged in alleging voter fraud in south Florida and summoning law enforcement to his side was once again displayed on Friday night.
Unlike DeSantis’ whose early moves since the Election have indicated a moderation and a more likable temperament, Scott as he prepares to join Mitch McConnell’s hyper-partisan US Senate has gone all in on centralizing power and influence – he will not cede to DeSantis or anyone else anything he can keep for himself.
So what will the Peter Antonacci appointment potentially mean for Florida’s 2020 Election?
- Brenda Snipes compared to other elected Democrats Supervisor’s offices in major urban counties (Hillsborough, Orange and Palm Beach) has limited polling locations in densely populated areas and not been as aggressive in election education. Much of the motivation for first appointing Snipes and then retaining her through controversy was for that reason. Antonacci is almost certain to double-down on this and perhaps even reverse course on some of the accessibility measures Snipes did undertake.
- The changes to polling locations and staffing will most adversely impact Caribbean-Americans, reliably Democratic and Latino, mostly Democrats.
- Antonacci could very well reduce the number of early voting locations and thanks to protection from Florida’s election statutes eliminate the last Sunday or early voting. This disproportionately impacts African-Americans.
- Broward was far more liberal per my sources in the recount this year than most counties in accepting provisional ballots and signatures that were questionable. Expect Antonacci with a clear mandate from the Governor to change this.
- It is possible by design we will see major condo areas with elderly heavily Democratic Jewish-Americans have less election attendants and more balloting errors, forcing voters potentially to cast provisional ballots that are never counted.
In Florida’s most Democratic County and the bluest metropolitan county in the southeast United States, any retrenchment of accessibility to voting benefits the Republicans. The lack of partisan bite on Broward County’s Commission these days despite having nine Democrats and no Republicans is something that might enable Antonacci.
Or perhaps the Commission will step up and challenge any attempts to curtail voting access and education? Ultimately budgeting is up to them, they should work within their means to ensure the SOE office is properly funded, otherwise Scott, Antonacci and others will have a partly-legitimate built-in excuse for reducing voter accessibility.