Governor DeSantis unprecedented foray into the reapportionment fight , here in Florida can be debated on its merits. The Governor has chosen to pick a fight over Al Lawson’s current congressional seat, deeming its presence unconstitutional (despite court rulings to the contrary) and threatening to veto any plan that doesn’t eliminate the seat.
The State House attempted to “split the baby,” so to speak, passing a map that created a new Duval County-based Democratic-leaning seat while eliminating Lawson’s Tallahassee to Jacksonville seat. But even this wasn’t good enough for DeSantis, who reiterated his veto threat.
So we are at an impasse. Unlike other states, where Redistricting has become a partisan exercise in Florida (which is one of the few states that has not passed a new Congressional Map into law yet)it’s a GOP Governor, Ron DeSantis, dividing his own party.
Political people keep asking why would DeSantis do this, why would he throw away the near uniformity of the Florida GOP to pick this fight he probably won’t win. The answer is Presidential politics and DeSantis ‘own control of the national right-wing media. So let’s discuss WHY the Governor is persisting in this fight:
The FOX News play
It is almost certain DeSantis will turn right-wing media against his internal GOP-opposition. Florida legislators don’t appear on FOX generally and DeSantis has all sorts of sway with the right-wing media apparatus beyond FOX. In fact, it can be argued with President Trump off mainstream social media platforms, DeSantis now runs the national GOP from an information standpoint.
The GOP Activist Play
DeSantis is the front-runner to be the GOP nominee for President in 2024. Activists in the GOP are not following the redistricting fight but can and will be triggered by FOX News and other conservative media into backing DeSantis position.
The obvious racial play
In addition to weakening the political influence of the liberal state capital city, DeSantis redistricting views very clearly are designed to create racial animus and divisions by undercutting the voting rights act. This gives DeSantis the ability to to trigger white-identity GOP primary voters without ever using racist rhetoric. It’s sort of deviously brilliant, when you think of it that way.
This also allows DeSantis to subtly imply those who may have opposed him on the maps within his own party are “soft” on this issues that matter to white-identity GOP primary voters.