By John L. Micek
In three decades in the news business, most of them spent covering government and politics, I’ve been to more than my share of press conferences.
They’re part of the gig when you’re a reporter. And you just kind of learn to make your peace with them. Some of them are informative. Most are self-serving and explicitly partisan. Some are mercifully short. And some of them, to borrow from Dave Barry, may still be going on to this very day.
But in terms of pure cynicism and rank partisanship, you’d be hard pressed to equal the propaganda event that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis orchestrated with his willing collaborators on “Fox & Friends” last month.
With a perfect set-up from host Brian Kilmeade, who waxed rhapsodic about the brilliance of DeSantis and his fellow Republicans in managing the 2020 election and the need to return to normal, the Florida governor signed into law some of the most restrictive voting “reform” measures in the country.
The bill, among other things, limits the use of mail-in voting and drop boxes, which, you guessed it, were favored by Democrats and Black voters last November, helping to put President Joe Biden into the White House.
The bill already faces legal challenges, according to the Florida Phoenix, a publication that covers Florida politics.
“Me signing this bill says: Florida, your vote counts, your vote is going to be cast with integrity and transparency and this is a great place for democracy,” DeSantis said.
Which is pure nonsense, given the circumstances under which DeSantis signed the bill: Local journalists were shut out of the event, which, in turn, meant the vast majority of Floridians who will be impacted by the legislation were similarly denied the chance to see their government in action.
So much for transparency and democracy.
Even with the laughably thin denial that there was nothing secret about the event, DeSantis’ meticulously stage-managed news conference reached its intended audience: A grumpy, reality-averse former president ensconced in his own personal Xanadu just a short hop away from the Airport Hilton in West Palm Beach.
Donald Trump, as we all know, monitors Fox News and conservative media obsessively, and with a sweep of his pen, DeSantis telegraphed his loyalty to the autocratic 45th president who’s still working, seven months later, to knock the legs out from the under the credibility of last November’s election result.
The event in West Palm Beach is of a piece with the closed-door news conference in March where Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed his state’s own restrictive voting bill, and whose most indelible image remains state Rep. Park Cannon, a Black woman lawmaker, being hauled away by police after trying to gain entrance to the room where the public’s business was being conducted.
From Atlanta and West Palm, it’s ridiculously easy to draw a straight line to Capitol Hill, where Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney lost her job in the House GOP leadership, not for being sufficiently conservative (she is staunchly conservative), but for refusing to bend the knee to the government-in-exile in Florida, and for refusing to push the Big Lie that the election was stolen.
In Biden’s first 100 days in office, Republicans refused to put up any votes for the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that was wildly popular among voters – including their own. But they have not been shy about rushing out to take credit for it.
It now seems baked in that Democrats will have to pass Biden’s infrastructure and family bills without GOP votes as well, even though those proposals are similarly popular, and as a recalibrated electorate looks for the government to spend more and to shoulder more responsibilities.
But rather than take heed of this change in the national mood, Republicans – who are equal parts terrified of primaries from their right, and dead-set on recapturing Congress and the White House – have thrown in with a twice-impeached autocrat who still commands a scary cult-like hold on the GOP base.
And instead of governing, Republicans have methodically moved to whittle away as much of the electorate as they possibly can by shutting them out of the polls.
All of which makes Florida’s DeSantis the perfect public face of the GOP as it is now: Obsessed with hanging onto power, fact-averse, representing an ever-shrinking coalition, and loyal, not to the American public, but to the sad, strange old man who can’t accept that he lost.
An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania Capital-Star, a brand-new news venture that covers Pennsylvania politics and government honestly and aggressively. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.
At least DeSantis can convey a thought. President crypt keeper needs a teleprompter for everything he says and often can not read that properly.
Did the writer compare these voting
laws to other states. Let’s say Delaware
Maybe the author should examine his own state. Last time I checked, the blue state of Pennsylvania is losing people and a house seat. Florida gained people and a house seat .Many moved to Florida were freedom is still allowed.
May GOD bless our great govenor
Gina Weiss says
Biden is under the influence of “The Squad” with his recent divisive speech continues to DIVIDE people instead of bringing people somewhat together, I personally have lost all respect for him, a “use to be dem” turned NPA! He can’t even leave our wild horses roam our great pastures, he sends them off to horrendous slaughter, all under the guise of conservation while once again people make money.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
LOVE YOU GINA… Could not have said it better.
Try applying for a US Passport to go overseas without showing ORIGINAL proof of CITIZENSHIP . not copies. Either ORIGINAL Birth Certificate or ORIGINAL NATURALIZATION PAPERS.
Try paying your grocery bill at Publix with a check without showing a Driver’s License – even if the cashier knows you for 20 years you have to show your ID every tine you shop.
My dear friend in Miami, 101 years old, told me how elated her mother often spoke of the joy and happiness she felt when she was able to vote FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE in 1920 – almost a year after my friend, still alive was BORN !
It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that we had early voting ( that is the only blessing we need to keep). Absentee ballots required 2 witness signatures on the master envelope or notarized ( in Miami-Dade)… Nobody who is not ill, who is a care taker for an ill person, overseas deployed by the US Armed Forces, working abroad or taking care of a ill family member abroad. I took time off from work when TUESDAY before 7PM ONLY day to vote; so did my mother and everyone of my voting friends and relatives. Now all of a sudden we have this ‘constitutional rights B.S.’ – So why until 1920 to allow women to vote if it is guaranteed by the Constitution?
Try telling the US State Department Passport office about your ‘constitutional rights’ to obtain a passport and don’t forget to tell them that it is unconstitutional for them to demand two color ID special photos and $$$$$. I am so glad I switched my party to NPA. The election was not stolen because of the tremendous difference but had the vote been closer you betcha’ I would have joined the group that called ‘foul’ because voter fraud is rampant. I know : a group of us overturned a Special Election in 1987 over fraudulent ballots in Miami-Dade, ( reported Miami Herald Sept 15, 1987)
My impassioned opinion: If none of the above circumstances prevail then get off your high and mighty ass and vote in person or stay home; If you don’ have enough respect for the sanctity of our voting system you shouldn’t vote!
Gina Weiss says
Jane Gentile Youd: Be careful Jane according to BILL C. we cannot use “WHATABOUTISM” another form of shutting down the voices of “we the people” as in George Orwell’s 1984 where words and language were created in order to control people. “The Art of Political Doublespeak” http://www.dictionary.com. Biden is a 50 year career flip flop politician who authored a 1994 crime law that led into the mass incarceration and aggressive policing which affected black and brown Americans disproportionately, so this is where his head is at that time; he was initially against busing therefore this is where his head is at that time, a segregationist, and now he makes his BS speech thus dividing our country further. Also do not watch Fox News , I do so please forgive me for wanting to listen to what some of the good ones have to say even if I disagree but do turn on CNN and MSNBC and listen to Cuomo or Lemon, NOT! There are others on those channels that I do respect but may disagree, and maybe some I will agree. I don’t always agree with Pierre but there are times I do agree, but not agreeing with him does not stop me from reading FlaglerLive and I do not follow the crowd who refuses to read it. Therefore people can throw stones at me on here however they want, I am not here to be liked or have a thumbs up, my life, my beliefs, my opinions and I will not allow anyone to shut me down. Thank you FlaglerLive for this valuable platform of opinions and comments. You have provided an extraordinary online discussion platform for all and it is appreciated.
Trump was the great Divider sweetie and the Dons Environmental Agenda spoke for itself. 45 did not consider anything unless He and His Cronies made money. Biden is no more under the influence than Trumpty Dumpty was with the Religious Right. There never was respect for Orangeman tthats why Hes a Civilian. Dont worry 45 will be reinstated in August. LMAO
Gina Weiss says
The name is Gina let’s not be chauvinistic Stevie. Reinstated in August? What are you taking cause I would like some of that too! LMAO too
The Big Lie and its Zombies followers alive and well GINA. FPC is a good place for you.
Gina Weiss says
Hey Stevie, so let’s see what Hiden Biden from CHINA gonna do with the wild stallions since he is such a lover of nature and about over fishing in our oceans for the environment.
Wow all that in 12 weeks while handling a global pandemic finally, getting the grown up Americans access to vaccinations, improving and getting the border crisis under control, and actually helping working Americans, imagine that!! And still so much to do to UNDO the horrors of the former administration. Your ignorance is so discouraging. I am ex-GOP now also NPA. Open your eyes.
Gina Weiss says
Eva: IMPROVING AND GETTING THE BORDOR CRISIS UNDER CONTROL are you joking! Biden did not even visit the border, he is a DISGRACE, you mean the orange man handled the pandemic INITIALLY because he got the private companies to invest in the vaccines and to develop it, without the investment there would be NO VACCINES ! What Biden did was to help Americans NOT go back to work becoming dependent on the STATE for handouts, making the STATE your father and mother,
So Biden is BUILD BACK BETTER with HIGHER TAXES. HIGHER GAS PRICES, HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS making more workers dependent on the state for handouts, MORE CRIME.
ZZZzzzzzz We watched realtime not Trump time enough already lol SSMMHH Good luck. Drink more koolaid and send money Hes running again in 2024. Right after 250 Million more is raised. Delusions of Grandeur
Gina Weiss says
Stevie: BIG YAWN: what does this have to do with my comment above , the more you comment the more unhinged you become, with YOUR lib phrases of “drinking Kool-Aid( yes this is the proper spelling) can you not debate without your routine cliches and liberal jargon as it gets boring after while also you are not qualified to diagnose unless you are a psychiatrist. May the best candidate win in 2024! Oh and also goodbye already and have a good life!
Gina Weiss says
PS: Biden also was against the attack to capture osama bin laden, but Obama is much smarter then Biden.
Time to get over President Trump – for now. He won’t be back until 2024!
He wont be back. After he steals enough money he will go away or be in jail
Desantis is not obsessed with hanging on to power but making sure the power isn’t stolen by voter fraud and cheating. One real person casting one real and accountable vote is not too much too ask for. The so called disenfranchised need ID for any other form of business from getting electricity to getting on a plane . So why not to vote? The only reason that I can see for this phony outrage is that some avenues for voter fraud are cut off. Lets make sure that all votes are verifiable. Then we will have no choice but to accept whoever wins an election.
Just the truth, please! says
Anyone catch the absolute lie?? Mail in Balloting has NOT bee effected. They tell you a story…they don’t tell you the entire story.
“…limits the use of mail-in voting and drop boxes, which, you guessed it, were favored by Democrats and Black voters…”
If you’re too damned lazy to go to your local polling place, present an I.D., and vote *in person* then you shouldn’t get to vote. Voting is one of the duties of citizenship, not a chore to be made as easy as possible to accomplish.
Pierre Tristam says
Voting shouldn’t be a poll-vaulting triathlon either.
I saw what you did there nice
David S. says
It’s time to get rid of the Trumper Humper and the rest of the republicans in this state NOW.
Sorry, but DeSantis is bad news. His handling of unemployment benefits during the Covid scenario was horrible as well as his reporting of facts and figures about the number of COVID cases and deaths. Remember how Rebekah Jones was targeted by DeSantis? I see DeSantis as nothing more that a mini version of Trump…his mentor! DeSantis was not a good Congressman as he did not do much for the District. I totally disagree with his bullshit attempt to censor slavery from the history lessons to be taught in our schools. Let’s not forget his attempt to control social media during our elections! That will be thrown out by the courts as well as the attempt of censorship of our nation’s history. Of course we can’t forget his screwing up Floriduh’s election process despite the fact that it was flawless this past November 2020.
John Stove says
Dumbsantis is a Trump wanna-be….he is trying to latch on to the cult core group of Trump followers who still fly the “Trump 2020” flag or now the “Don’t blame me I voted for Trump” or the “Biden is NOT my President” flags. Instead of coming up with new and better ways to serve the residents of Florida Dumbsantis is just trying to re-channel the anger that Republicans now have.
Trump lost LOL….Dumbsantis will lose soon and hopefully for the Republicans they will find candidates who dont walk around with a gas can and a lit match…. if not, then the flag industry will love it for all the catchy flags they will come up with!!
cindy spain says
and yet the Democrats wont let him move on. The Democrats are SO afraid of Trump they are doing everything to keep him relevant! If they would just shut up maybe Trump would move on. LOL they are so afraid of him its not even funny any more! I wonder why?? Maybe because Trump can’t be bought?
No hes Delusional that’s why. Call him out every chance you get. I mean the Election has been over for what 6 months. It’s still his fixation
Why is it that so many in our community have become such “haters” that those who find it difficult to get to the polls are “automatically” called out as being LAZY. . . just like those who simply cannot afford to live on the pitiful wages being offered in our go nowhere tourism service industries?
Is it possible that you are so very self-centered that you believe that only those like yourselves are entitled to the protections of our constitution and a reasonable opportunity to realize the American dream? Do try to OPEN your minds to the FACTS that many, many people born in this country (that has very little public transportation) live without a car, many live with disabilities, many are caregivers for their family members, many did not have the educational opportunities you had because they were forced to quit school to provide for their family, many still go to bed hungry or are unhealthy because crap food is the cheapest, many do not have internet access, many, many face discrimination at every turn merely because of the color of their skin.
I could go on and on, but I fear that those who has such disdain for their fellow human beings will not be moved from their close minded positions no matter what compelling words are written. All I can say is that many should be ashamed for their comments here. . . unfortunately I do not believe they are.
Why is it that those who thank they are smarter that everyone else cannot see through the Republican sham of voter suppression laws that are clearly meant to keep poor people/people of color from voting. Where is the legal “EVIDENCE” of widespread voting fraud? Why is it so terrible to have EASIER voting for each and every eligible American citizen? Why are we not focused on making it harder to buy a gun than it is to vote?
You show very few FACTS in your post. Many large cities provide free bus and other forms of transportation for low income people during elections. Orlando 13 news https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/politics/2020/10/27/need-a-ride-to-vote–buses–ride-sharing-options-in-central-florida LOCAL: https://www.flaglercounty.org/departments/transportation Caregivers, disabled and their family members can register to have mail in voting. Here is how: https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voting/vote-by-mail/ Please show FACTS of the less educated dropping out of school to take care of family. There are numerous local, state and federal programs that provide help. Again, please show me the FACTS where people of color are being turn away from voting.Let check this story out from DNC mouth piece NBC news. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1263205 By the way, owning a gun is protected by the constitution as is voting. Amendment 2: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.
The Truth says
DeSantis doesn’t go to the bathroom without checking with Don the Con, let’s be honest with each other. Remember he was building blocks with his young child to worship Don the Con. I guess those that support DeSantis don’t care that he continues to take rights away from all those in the State of Florida that aren’t as fortunate as himself or Don the Con. Guess you all haven’t noticed that he doesn’t care that lower-income people make horrible hourly wages and can’t survive, guess you haven’t noticed that he feels like Don the Con only the rich white people should be able to survive in the State of Florida and let’s kick everyone else by the wayside.
Guess you haven’t notice that DeSantis just only cares about those that can put money in his pocket like Don the Con.
Again. Compare the state of Delaware voting laws( President house plant home state)compared to Florida,Georgia or Texas. Who is more restrictive.
WOW! I guess we should take it to “full conspiracy” and say that all those who commit mass murder almost daily, and those violent, seditious gun owners who viciously attacked our nation’s capitol were only playing the part of a “well regulated militia”. Really?
Voter ID Laws Deprive Many Americans of the Right to Vote
Millions of Americans Lack ID. 11% of U.S. citizens – or more than 21 million Americans – do not have government-issued photo identification.
Obtaining ID Costs Money. Even if ID is offered for free, voters must incur numerous costs (such as paying for birth certificates) to apply for a government-issued ID.
Underlying documents required to obtain ID cost money, a significant expense for lower-income Americans. The combined cost of document fees, travel expenses and waiting time are estimated to range from $75 to $175.2
The travel required is often a major burden on people with disabilities, the elderly, or those in rural areas without access to a car or public transportation. In Texas, some people in rural areas must travel approximately 170 miles to reach the nearest ID office.3
Voter ID Laws Reduce Voter Turnout. A 2014 GAO study found that strict photo ID laws reduce turnout by 2-3 percentage points,4 which can translate into tens of thousands of votes lost in a single state.
Voter ID Laws Are Discriminatory
Minority voters disproportionately lack ID. Nationally, up to 25% of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of whites.
States exclude forms of ID in a discriminatory manner. Texas allows concealed weapons permits for voting, but does not accept student ID cards. Until its voter ID law was struck down, North Carolina prohibited public assistance IDs and state employee ID cards, which are disproportionately held by Black voters. And until recently, Wisconsin permitted active duty military ID cards, but prohibited Veterans Affairs ID cards for voting.
Voter ID laws are enforced in a discriminatory manner. A Caltech/MIT study found that minority voters are more frequently questioned about ID than are white voters.
Voter ID laws reduce turnout among minority voters. Several studies, including a 2014 GAO study, have found that photo ID laws have a particularly depressive effect on turnout among racial minorities and other vulnerable groups, worsening the participation gap between voters of color and whites.
Voter ID Requirements are a Solution in Search of a Problem
In-person fraud is extremely rare. A recent study found that, since 2000, there were only 31 credible allegations of voter impersonation – the only type of fraud that photo IDs could prevent – during a period of time in which over 1 billion ballots were cast.9
Identified instances of “fraud” are honest mistakes. So-called cases of in-person impersonation voter “fraud” are almost always the product of an elections worker or a voter making an honest mistake, and that even these mistakes are extremely infrequent.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in Georgia, where last week, Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law an omnibus bill that targets Black voters with uncanny accuracy.
It’s now a crime in Georgia to give a bottle of water or a snack to people waiting in line to vote. We know that in Georgia and across the country, hours-long lines to vote are more often in Black and brown communities. Mobile voting (polling sites on wheels that travel to different set locations) is also now illegal in Georgia — a practice that has only been used in Fulton County, which has the largest Black population in the state. Ballot drop boxes must now be located inside early voting sites instead of other convenient locations, and many voters who plan to vote by mail must provide a driver’s license or state ID number.
These laws will disproportionately harm Black, brown, and Native American voters. Legislators tried to pass even more onerous laws — like canceling vote by mail and souls to the polls Sunday voting, but faced a sustained and effective outcry.
A survey conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that black voters waited, on average, 16 minutes in line during the 2016 election, while white voters only waited 10 minutes. Other studies backed that up. And long queues disproportionately affect wage workers, who don’t get paid time off to vote.
Policies like requiring voters to print out a form can dissuade younger or poorer voters, who are less likely to own a printer, from voting.
Please stop with the Georgia law not allowing snacks or water. The law allows poll workers to provide self service water from a unattended receptacle within 150 feet of a polling place. It prohibits food and and drinks to be handed out in the line. New York has a similar law not allowing anything over a dollar in value to be handed out while in line to vote.
I love your “souls to the polls” reference in Texas. I remember about a year ago when the upset democrat’s of this law were demanding all churches be closed. I guess it is like the protests of last summer, social justice is more important than public health. Poll workers have the right to attended church each Sunday too.
NO one was found to have a gun IN the capital during the riot. Yes, we know 12 were arrested OUTSIDE of the capital. Many were legal gun owners of there state who violated the reciprocity laws. One person did use a gun in the building that day. A UNARMED woman was shoot in the neck and killed, the officer has never been publicly identified. A bunch idiots stormed the capital that day and should be punished. Congress concluded their work some hours later that night. Yet during the summer of love in Seattle, A real armed insurrection took place. BLM and Antifa took over 6 city blocks and a police station. Armed guards where placed around the area and police and EMS were not allowed in for over three weeks. ( Try that in north Florida were homeowners are allowed to protect themselves, that passkey 2nd amendment) Two young men lost their lives and a deaf woman was raped during this real insurrection. Webster definition: a violent uprising against an authority or government
After listening to a conservative black commentator last night, he said something that made me think about democrat’s and race. He stated the democrat party has a “bigotry of low expectations” Many of the post on here back up the claim. I can’t help but to think of what MLK said. “Judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.” Does that standard still apply today?
AH in almost every county in the WORLD, a person must have a ID to VOTE. Even in Mexico . VOTER ID , I’m all for it.
In rural parts of America, voters may have to drive for hours to reach an in-person polling station.
Four Directions, a Native American voting rights advocacy group, says that many Native Americans living on reservations have limited access to voting.
In Nevada, for instance, members of the Pyramid Lake Paiutes must drive almost 100 miles (160km) round trip to get to the closest early voting location.
In Arizona, a lawsuit filed by members of the Navajo Nation asked for extra time to get postal votes in, because there is just one post office every 707 square miles.
Gina Weiss says
Sherry: one doesn’t need a gun to commit murder, M-13 uses machetes to cut people into pieces, on 9/11 terrorist use planes and plastic knives to kill over 3,000 people.
Agree some people are so set in their liberal ways, they are blinded by reality. I lost a good friend in the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing that killed 168 and wounded 800 in 1995. . No gun was used.
Gina Weiss says
The NPA voters like myself I believe are the most inscrutable voters and can turn a whole election around, there are many of us and growing.