FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What’s Going on in Florida, Again?

by ALAN FARAGO

Florida still hasn’t declared. Another bungled presidential election cycle where the voting process failed. The US Department of Justice ought to investigate and readers should dwell, for a moment, on the disaster that would have unfolded if Obama had not held the Midwest firewall or Ohio.

That scenario would have thrown the election right back to Florida, just like 2000, where months later the US Supreme Court selected a president. So far, we haven’t heard a single Democratic leader in the state (are there any?) raise a peep of protest at the near train wreck. It is Thursday morning. Florida still hasn’t declared.

The worst of it: the press documented how the Republican legislature and Gov. Rick Scott conspired to suppress the vote, diminishing chances of an Obama victory. The lengthy ballot wasn’t inadvertent. It was loaded with right-wing, extremist measures on purpose: to make it more difficult to process ballots from people who have a hard time reading English. Hispanics and African Americans.

This isn’t speculation. As noted by Politico this morning, “… exit polls showed the same share of African Americans turned out as four years ago, something that GOP turnout models did not anticipate.” Of course not.  The intent of voter suppression is fully briefed in acrimonious litigation between state GOP officials and the former head of the state Republican Party, Jim Greer.

Gov. Rick Scott could have authorized and expanded early voting. The early voting lines in Miami-Dade were extraordinarily long. Miami- Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican, could have insisted on a competent, timely response to what was clearly heading to an election day logjam and delays, beyond. The absentee and provisional ballots are still being counted by hand, one by one. That is a strategy, not a mistake. “We didn’t think they’d turn out more of their base than they did in 2008, but they smoked us,” one Romney operative told Politico. “It’s unbelievable that they turned out more from the African American community than in 2008. Somehow they got ’em to vote.”

It is excruciating to imagine the entire nation could now be hostage to the state of Florida’s deliberate incompetence and to GOP radicals, again.

We are at Thursday morning. The nation would be in an uproar, waiting for Florida. Again. Had that happened, then Jeb! Bush, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and the legions of GOP lobbyists and attorneys who infest the state capitol like fleas on a dog would be racing to the TV cameras. The stock market yesterday, down only 250 points, would have been down 1000.

This scenario occurred to me instantly, in that brief, extraordinary moment after three networks had projected Ohio for Obama and on Fox News, Karl Rove anchored the news desk and exposed his plan to an audience of millions: Fox needed to stonewall, reject the professional analysis of its own election experts, and delay projecting Ohio. Fair and balanced? This was not a “Hail Mary Pass” by a political quarterback who had cost his investors billions and the nation, trillions through his role as top advisor to the Bush White House. Today the New York Times is raising the question: “What role was Karl Rove playing when he heatedly contradicted Fox News?”

To the Times, Rove offers the excuse that “the ghosts of 2000 prompted him to act.” Those weren’t ghosts. Rove was setting up Florida and the federal judiciary, where he has leverage through judges he personally vetted during the Bush terms, to put Mitt Romney in the White House.

A lengthy ballot — stuffed with ridiculous measures by right-wing GOP legislators to sow confusion at the ballot, inadequate voting equipment and bad planning on election day — caused outrageous and lengthy poll lines. But queues of up to six hours long are nothing compared to the controlled experiment of botching a presidential election in order to prevail through post-election chaos.

According to the Miami Herald, “Deputy Elections Supervisor Christina White insisted Wednesday morning that an unusually long ballot and high voter turnout, which was 64 percent, was to blame, not a lack of resources. “Its not that there were any problems or glitches,” White told reporters. “It’s about volume and paper left to be processed.”

The result is a disgrace, but in its fundamental respects mirrors the results of government-designed-to fail. In Florida, anger should be directed at incumbent legislators and county officials returned by voters to office one election cycle after another.

How many of those standing in long lines in Miami-Dade even know the names of their state representatives and state senators? Or why, in November 2000, then mayor of Miami-Dade County Alex Penelas took a flight to Spain “on personal business” instead of abandoning the ship, at the department of elections, on the very day GOP operatives parachuted from Washington DC to successfully disrupt the recount?

So there it is, Ohio: thank you. Soon, when the top percent of your residents move to winter homes or vacation in Florida, the rest of Ohio should reflect on what almost happened here.

Alan Farago is president of Friends of the Everglades.

Alan Farago is president of Friends of the Everglades and can be reached at afarago@bellsouth.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail