Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has proposed a blatantly racist new congressional map that would effectively dash any Democratic efforts to regain needful ground in the critical swing state—just in time for the midterm elections.
Yesterday, DeSantis went public with the proposal that would not only break up a predominantly Black-held district in North Florida, but establish 20 Republican seats to a meager eight for Democrats in what’s being deemed a “blatantly partisan” move to solidify Florida as a GOP stronghold in presidential elections.
“The only way you can create a 20-and-8 map ... was to basically say, ‘Screw Black representation,” Matthew Isbell, a leading Florida-based Democratic data consultant, told NBC News after seeing the map. DeSantis’ map would eliminate the state’s 5th Congressional District, held by Black Congressman Al Lawson (D), and instead, establish several Republican districts.
NBC also reported that a leading Republican in the state Legislature concurred, confiding that said map was “probably” drawn with partisan intent by DeSantis, who just happens to be up for reelection this year. Duh. Last month, Desantic vetoed maps drawn by a largely Republican legislature that wouldn’t have been quite as favorable for the state GOP.
Of course, DeSantis, insisted he’d complied with the law. During a press conference just prior to the release, he claimed his intent was simply to create a ‘race-neutral’ map, going so far as to cite Cooper v. Harris, a 2017 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that following the 2010 Census, the North Carolina General Assembly engaged in “unconstitutional racial gerrymanders” when it established congressional districts.
The Florida district in question spans from Tallahassee to Jacksonville and includes swaths of Black voters in both rural and metropolitan areas. “There has never been a district of that length and that shape that has been justifiable,” DeSantis said.
At this point, court challenges seem unavoidable but considering the lack of time prior to the primaries this August, any changes that could — and should — be deemed necessary might not make it on.
It’s been a hell of a week in the Sunshine State, which is now the epicenter of the country’s culture wars. DeSantis has been busy—from waging war on Disney (Florida’s leading economic driver) for its stance on Don’t Say Gay, to refusing to reinstate coronavirus restrictions despite rising cases, to enacting a 15-week abortion ban without exceptions for rape and incest.
But of course, if we know anything about what motivates DeSantis, it’s got to be the “freedom” to further disenfranchise voters, ban books, and slowly strip away any remaining bodily autonomy. Oh, and maybe this song.