SAN DIEGO — A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in a case from the Poway Unified School District that public officials who use social media accounts to discuss official duties can violate free speech rights when they block comments. The unanimous ruling from a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals centered on the Facebook and Twitter pages of school district trustees T.J. Zane and Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff. The pair posted information about district business on the pages and in 2017 blocked comment from two parents in the district, Christopher and Michelle Garnier. The couple fil...
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Ron DeSantis is facing much more challenging odds of winning re-election than some would assume as a just-released poll finds less than half of Floridians would vote for their Republican governor.
The poll, released by Florida progressive groups but more heavily weighted toward a GOP electorate finds just 48 percent of all registered voters would vote for DeSantis, and 43 percent would choose the Democratic nominee, Florida Politics reports. The Democratic gubernatorial primary is August 23, between U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, their former governor, and Nikki Fried, the current commissioner of agriculture.
“About 2,244 registered Florida voters [were] weighted to reflect a midterm electorate favorable to Republicans. Respondents were surveyed between July 26 and 31.” The poll was released by by Progress Florida and Florida Watch.
DeSantis is viewed favorably by 50% of voters, but unfavorably by 48%.
“Given his financial advantage DeSantis remains a favorite to win re-election, but his polarizing nature could put a ceiling on his support,” a memo from pollsters Geoff Puryear and Annika Ramnath reads.
Given DeSantis’ nearly-daily press conferences, often surrounded by children or law enforcement, many forget he won his gubernatorial election in an extremely tight race, by 32,463 votes, a margin of just 0.4%.
To beat DeSantis the Democratic candidate would need to overcome the poll’s five-point spread, meaning securing more than half of the nine percent of undecideds or pulling several points away from DeSantis, or greatly increasing Democratic voter turnout. Back in April DeSantis decried Democrats moving to Florida, calling it “a problem” because “they would continue to vote the same way.”
The polling memo notes that 65% of Florida voters “prefer the Democratic message” on abortion.
“Democrats in Florida need to make sure that as surely as abortion rights were on the ballot in Kansas…abortion rights are on the ballot this fall, and that voters know that Marci Rubio, Ron DeSantis, and legislative Republicans support extreme abortion bans, even for victims of rape and incest,” the pollsters’ memo adds.
DeSantis has doubled down on many of his highly controversial moves, including signing into law the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which made nationwide news for months. He reversed a 50-year law that effectively granted Disney World the ability to assume most governmental operations for its district, as a punishment for the company, a huge employer in the Sunshine State, speaking out in opposition to the anti-LGBTQ law.
Authoritarianism exert Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, in June told Insider DeSantis is “a very dangerous individual” because “he is equally repressive, but doesn’t have the baggage of Trump.”
In an interview with Business Insider, former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort admitted he was in contact with the Russians and sharing information during the former president's 2016 presidential run.
For years, questions have been raised about Russian involvement in the campaign that saw the New York businessman beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Manafort is now stating that he handed polling data over to the Russians -- in particular to "Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime business associate with suspected ties to Russian intelligence."
According to the report, "Kilimnik then passed the data on to Russian spies, according to the US Treasury Department, which has characterized the data as 'sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy.'"
In the interview, Manafort excused his actions stating he wasn't looking for help getting Trump elected and did it purely to make money, with Business Insider reporting, "Manafort told Insider that he directed his deputy, Rick Gates, to feed Kilimnik polling data via email to 'keep Konstantin informed.' The goal was to use his access to Trump to drum up business for himself.
"The data that I shared with him was a combination of public information and stuff for the spring that was — it was old," the former Trump, advisor explained.
The report adds, "Manafort said he had no reason to think Kilimnik was spying for Russia and pointed out that Kilimnik had been vetted and cleared by Yanukovych's staff, stating, "None of us believed KK worked for Russian intelligence."
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The conservative network has been giving two potential 2024 challengers, Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis, plenty of airtime, including two recent prime-time interviews, although coverage of the former president remains overwhelmingly positive, reported The Guardian.
“You were allowed to attack Donald Trump during the primaries in 2015 and 2016 on Fox News," said Angelo Carusone, Media Matters’ president and chief executive. "That doesn’t happen now, at all -- ever."
The media watchdog conducted a recent study that found Fox News continues to talk about Trump far more than any of his potential rivals -- 8,556 mentions of Trump from January to July, with 1,083 for DeSantis and 589 for Pence -- but the network has been less willing to carry his speeches live to avoid the sort of false election claims that got them served with a $1.6 billion lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems.
“The debate among the liberal media on this topic is the very reason Fox News exists and is the most watched cable news channel in the country with more viewers of every political persuasion than any other network," said a network spokesperson.
Although the twice-impeached former president hasn't been interviewed on Fox News for more than 100 days, the network's hosts still daydream about how Trump would handle various challenges and praise his record in office.
“They’re still fetishizing and fantasizing, it’s just that there’s no longer an audience of one,” Carusone said. “There are other people in the audience that they care about.”