In a scorching column in the Miami Herald, Fabiola Santiago brutally called out Florida Gov. Don DeSantis (R) for the latest piece of legislation that he has signed which she called just another step down the path to fascism as he sets himself up for a White House run in 2024.
As the columnist notes, DeSantis has signed a bill he demanded that would, in essence, criminalize protesting in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution.
Santiago notes, "Florida lawmakers have assaulted and trampled the U.S. Constitution during this legislative session like the state hasn't seen since Jim Crow days. Every bill, every strategy was already cooked, party-ready, at the behest of the state's maximum leader, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis," before adding, "DeSantis is, after all, channeling his political mentor, Donald Trump, and following his bombastic, destructive script to reelection next year, and onward, to the White House in 2024, perhaps."
Focusing on the bill, the columnist notes that any Floridian caught up in a protest against DeSantis's polices --or malfeasance by the police -- could quickly find themselves in jail without bail for "rioting."
Writing "DeSantis and his enablers turn the Constitution into a pliable document, chipped away by legislating at the state level in order to win elections, then so be it," the columnist added, "If, in the process, DeSantis quacks like a racist, that's just the price of doing business with the base."
Pointing out that DeSantis "surrounded by more than a dozen white men and women" signed the bill as America awaited the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, Santiago explained that the state can expect to be hauled into court as civil rights attorneys have a field day challenging the law.
"Without an ounce of sensitivity, DeSantis assaults the rights of Floridians to protest, presiding over a major crackdown on free speech, delivered by the acquiescent, overwhelmingly Republican Legislature via the HB 1 bill — their No. 1 priority after more than a year of a pandemic. Coming in a close second: voter suppression," she accused. "Who's going to go to a protest knowing that if a few protesters get violent or more rowdy than police feel like tolerating — and you get caught in the melee — you'll be carted off to jail, charged with a felony and held without bail like a murderer? What low-income minority resident who works — and they're the ones holding down essential jobs tied to a schedule — is going to risk losing a job to stand in hours-long lines when they find themselves without a mail-in ballot?"
"In his quest for absolute power, the Ivy League-educated governor, a lawyer, forgets the law of the land isn't that of his scribes in the Legislature, but the document signed on Sept. 17, 1787. Bring on the civil-rights lawyers," she wrote before concluding. "Florida needs them to show the governor who's boss."
You can read the whole piece here.
On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the extreme conservative majority of the Republican Party removed Liz Cheney (WY), who had insisted on the legitimacy of Joe Biden's election and condemned the January 6 Capitol insurrection, from her leadership position in the US House of Representatives. This dramatic act is a harsh warning to partisans who dare to challenge the Trump cult of personality and the far-right agenda. 170 years earlier, Democrats did the exact same thing. In the short term, it split their party; in the long term, it nearly destroyed the Union.
In the antebellum era, the Democratic Party was the conservative partisan vehicle, defending white supremacy, maintaining the reign of elite Southern enslavers, and quashing all reforms, including much-needed infrastructure improvements. Central to the Democratic agenda was the expansion of slavery and the forging of a vast hemispheric pro-slavery empire. By the 1840s, however, opposition to the spread of slavery had grown dramatically in the free states. Democrats in the North began to feel pressure from their constituents to halt the march of the enslavers and challenge King Cotton.
Despite growing opposition from Northern Democrats, the Southern party bosses pursued their aggressive pro-slavery plans. In the 1830s and 40s, they waged war on Indigenous Americans to remove them from fertile cotton lands, passed Congressional "gag rules" to prevent any discussion of the "peculiar institution," and aided the pro-slavery Texas Revolution. In late 1845, they launched an invasion of Mexico. Anti-slavery Northerners, including several Democratic office-holders, balked at the blatant grab for more slavery territory. Led by Pennsylvanian David Wilmot, Northern Democratic moderates made a stand in August 1846, adding a "proviso" to a war appropriations bill stipulating that slavery would not be permitted in any territory stolen from Mexico. Since spreading slavery was the entire point of the war, party leaders were incensed. The motion was defeated. Nevertheless, the damage had been done: a dramatic split occurred in Democratic ranks.
In the 1848 state and national elections, moderate Northern Democrats who opposed the expansion of slavery ran on the new Free Soil Party ticket. The rupture proved fatal. Both the Democratic and Free Soil presidential candidates went down to defeat and the Whigs (who had no formal position on slavery) took the White House.
Needless to say, Democratic leaders wanted blood. Over the course of the next four years, they expunged any anti-slavery sentiment from their ranks, either by outright expulsion of intransigent Northerners or forcing them into submission through party discipline. Votes on the infamous Appeasement of 1850 (a massive pro-slavery victory for enslavers) became the litmus test of party fealty. Democrats who did not vote in favor of various pro-slavery measures, such as the horrific Fugitive Slave Act, were denied campaign funds, attacked in the press, and deprived patronage -- a political death sentence. Contrite Free Soilers who voted as they were told, however, were allowed back and duly rewarded.
Things were even uglier and more chaotic at the state level. In Indiana, Democratic boss (and secret enslaver) Jesse Bright resorted to physical intimidation and illegal wire-pulling to defeat the anti-slavery faction and reward repentant Free Soilers with offices. In the Empire State, a three-way political war erupted between intransigent "Hards," who refused to brook any opposition from anti-slavery moderates, "Softs," who were willing to make deals with former Free Soilers, and the "Barnburner" majority, who bolted the party in 1848 and wanted to expel the Hards. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, pro-slavery conservatives James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, respectively, seized control of county and district conventions to deny former Free Soilers elective office at any level. "Old Buck" and "Handsome Frank" would later be rewarded with the presidency for their service to the Slave Power.
A united Democratic Party emerged in time for the election of 1852, thoroughly shorn of any anti-slavery elements. "We have got rid of all negroism," chirped Buchanan with pleasure. Though good for enslavers, the victory was pyrrhic. The party was now free to pursue even more aggressive policies without any internal debate or discussion.
In short order, Democrats passed legislation that spread slavery to formerly free territories, nullified the Missouri Compromise, launched illegal invasions of Caribbean and Central American nations, enforced the Fugitive Slave Act with a vengeance, tried to force slavery on the unwilling settlers of the Kansas Territory, and physically assaulted anti-slavery activists in the streets and in the halls of Congress. These actions precipitated the Civil War. By 1856, Northerners had set aside their differences over banks, immigration, and internal improvements to unite against the spread of slavery in a new Republican Party. The election of the first Republican president in 1860 triggered secession and the Union was nearly torn asunder.
The lack of ideological diversity and any meaningful policy debate within the antebellum Democratic Party caused that organization to enact an extreme program that enraged the majority of Americans and caused national disaster. Republicans in 2021 seem to be following that same strategy: punishing dissent, expelling moderates, and favoring conservative purity over practical policy. Moreover, just as Democrats in the 1850s tried to force slavery on anti-slavery populations, Republicans today are forcing their minority agenda on the majority through voter suppression laws, gerrymandering, and illegal activity. If Republicans value the health and future of their party, and the nation, they need to take a look at the past and reconsider their persecution of moderates.
Dr. Michael Landis teaches history at Union College and serves as a trustee of the Saratoga County History Center. He is the author of Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis (Cornell, 2014). He tweets @DrMichaelLandis
Former U.N. Ambassador and future presidential hopeful Nikki Haley delivered a stark message in a mass email campaign today:
"Israel is being attacked by violent rioters and the terrorist group Hamas. America must stand strong alongside our ally and friend."
If you trust Haley, there's a very simple step she wants you to take. You need "to let the White House know how critical it is to support our allies." And you can do that if you'll just "rush your signature to our STAND WITH ISRAEL PLEDGE right now."
It's not clear whether President Joe Biden will see your signature anytime soon if you take this important step. But this much is certain, press the blue button that reads "Sign the Pledge Now" on the email, and you'll get to see an opportunity to donate money to the group "Stand for America."
If you're wondering how much of your Stand for America donation will be directly funding Israel's Iron Dome, wonder no more. This version of "standing strong behind our ally and friend" is a bit more indirect than that.
Stand for America is Nikki Haley's political PAC.
It's possible that many recipients of the email fundraiser knew that before. Haley does say in the email that she's "calling on every member on Stand with America" to rush that signature over.
But if you're like me and never heard of Stand for America -- and apparently you just received this email because at some point you allowed the Daily Wire to pass along your address to "sponsors" such as Haley's PAC -- you might have never known better.
If you make it to the bottom of the email, Haley does manage to disclose that "founded by Ambassador Nikki Haley, Stand for America is an advocacy group promoting public policies that strength America's economy, culture and national security." I suppose that makes everything cool legally.
But it still doesn't say anything about Stand for America being a political PAC.
Haley must figure that since she has gotten in hot water with Dear Leader Donald Trump for saying "his actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history" -- only to grovel back for forgiveness -- it might be wise to show the boss that's she cool with grifting supporters. Just like he does.
Haley got plenty Trumpy with her email analysis, such that it is, of the current situation in Gaza.
"It is a shame that some on the Left are pushing misinformation and anti-Israel propaganda that stokes the flames. President Biden has called for restraint on both sides, but what he should be doing is having Israel's back.
Now is the time to stand strong with Israel against a TERRORIST assault.
"It should not be a difficult choice. Yet, President Biden is too focused on Trump policy reversal to do what is right. You and I know that Biden could put a stop to this right now.
"As U.N. Ambassador I worked alongside the Trump Administration to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and always stood up for our allies at the U.N. This put the world on notice and set the tone for U.S. foreign policy.
"Hamas is testing the Biden administration because they don't think he will do anything severe. Inaction is unacceptable."
Haley's email omitted the detail that the only action she is advocating today is that chumps like me send money to her PAC thinking it's somehow going to send Hamas into retreat. It isn't.
And I'm not.
Arizona's Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in a letter sent Monday slammed both the State Senate Republican President and the company she chose to perform a highly-controversial recount of the 2020 presidential election ballots.
That recount, which has been going on for nearly four weeks, has been plagued by regular reports of irregular and suspicious actions and, as the Board of Supervisors said today, "ineptitude."
Already the U.S. Dept. of Justice has notified the company performing the recount, Cyber Ninjas, that it is watching their actions and warning them their actions may violate the law.
The Maricopa Board of Supervisors – which is made up of four Republicans and just one Democrat – Monday did not hold back, blasting Senate President Karen Fann, accusing her of lying, among other disturbing actions.
Fann, in a false accusation picked up and repeated by Donald Trump over the weekend, claimed Maricopa County deleted an entire database. The accusation was made either out of ignorance or political vengeance, or both, but the damage has been done.
The County responded today, calling the accusations "false, defamatory, and beneath the dignity of the Senate."
"We demand that you immediately rescind your false and malicious tweet," the county tells Senate President Fann in a 13-page letter, "asserting that Maricopa County 'spoiled evidence' in the days before we provided the server to the Senate. Your tweet, which relies on the 'modified date' shown in the screenshot as evidence of wrongdoing, is demonstrably false; the only thing it does demonstrate is your auditors' incompetence. Their stunning lack of a basic understanding for how their software works is egregious and only made worse by the false tweet sent defaming the hardworking employees of Maricopa County."
The Senate, Maricopa County adds, "is only interested in feeding the various festering conspiracy theories that fuel the fundraising schemes of those pulling your strings."
You have rented out the once good name of the Arizona State Senate to grifters and con-artists, who are fundraising hard-earned money from our fellow citizens even as your contractors parade around the Coliseum, hunting for bamboo and something they call “kinematic artifacts" while shining purple lights for effect. None of these things are done in a serious audit. The result is that the Arizona Senate is held up to ridicule in every corner of the globe and our democracy is imperiled.
A few more excerpts:
"Your various questions about our election procedures reveal a serious lack of understanding of election law."
"a spectacular lack of understanding on your part"
"we cannot give you a password that we do not possess any more than we can give you the formula for Coca Cola. We do not have it; we have no legal right to acquire it; and so, we cannot give it to you."
"We will not be responding to any additional inquiries from your “auditors". Their failure to understand basic election processes is an indication you didn't get the best people to perform in your political theatre. We have wasted enough County resources. People's tax dollars are real, your 'auditors' are not."
"Your 'audit' is harming all of us, and we ask you to end it."
But perhaps among the most disturbing accusations Maricopa County makes, is, as The Guardian's Sam Levine reports, Cyber Ninjas is "just straight miscounting ballots." Read this short tweet:
Maricopa county says Cyber Ninjas is just straight miscounting ballots https://t.co/riK3xBi6l3 https://t.co/vM5Wa9XjnX— Sam Levine (@Sam Levine)1621286015.0
Jack Sellers, the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, concluded a meeting Monday afternoon by announcing to the Arizona Sensate, "Finish your report and be ready to defend it in a court of law."
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month