Today’s suspension of Hillsborough State Attorney, Andrew Warren, a twice-elected prosecutor who committed no crime, nor is accused of one should send chills down the spine of every Floridian.
For third time since becoming Governor, Ron DeSantis has removed from office an elected Democratic official in a large urban county he lost in 2018, who was not facing prosecution or did not commit a crime. DeSantis view is clear – voters are not to be trusted in selecting local officials if they conflict with DeSantis’ broader world view, which by the way isn’t a consistent one, because the Governor isn’t a conservative nor a populist, but meanders back in forth between ideologies, based on what is stimulating right-wing media at a given hour. His one true ideology is a desire to consolidate power in HIS HANDS.
Back in April I wrote:
What would we call a place where the head-of-state does the following in one week:
- Wades into drawing districts in an unprecedented manner for any head-of-state in this place. Draws district lines without input from the public or other elected officials and conflict with court rulings of the recent past.
- Without public hearings, input or debate, proposes a major change to the governance and status of one of the largest economic drivers in the realm he governs. This is done squarely for retribution against a private corporation.
- Expresses dissatisfaction with university accreditation so sets up alternate path for Universities so they can play politics with him.
- Bans math (not English or History) textbooks from primary and secondary schools based on political ideology.
- Threatens retributions again a company based elsewhere for not following his wishes as to the sale of the company.
Is this Idi Amin’s Uganda of yesteryear? Viktor Orbán’s Hungary? Bashar Assad’s Syria? Donald Trump’s USA? Vladimir Putin’s Russian Federation? Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey? Nope…
It’s Ron DeSantis Florida in a single, sorry week.
DeSantis is no ordinary GOPer, nor an ordinary American politician. He is a man who consistently used the power of the state to crush the autonomy of local governments and private businesses. He has also very carefully constructed an image nationally that finds him the preferred choice to be President of the Murodch families media empire and several other conservative outlets. He’s so-well known now, that his name is regularly being raised voluntarily in focus groups of GOP voters in places like Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Never has Florida faced such a heavy handed leader, one whose disregard for dissent, established norms or the law is so extreme. One whose interpretation of the role of an executive, is akin to that of an absolute monarch in pre-Revolutionary France.
This is how democracy dies…