GOP’s Florida Debacle Raises Question: Will Coronavirus Change the Way Americans Think About Unemployment?

Americans enduring unemployment have typically, in the culture of the U.S. political economy, not been responded to with sympathy but rather with disdain, judgment, and blame.

And this has been true, we see, even when the nation has faced conditions of great economic austerity, begging the question, how can we blame people for not working when there is a scarcity of jobs? read more

Opinion: The GOP is Silent on Russian Interference and Trump’s Dangerous Behavior Because They’re in on it

Media pundits often wonder why Republicans have turned a blind eye to and refused to call out the myriad and fairly well-documented behaviors of both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s Russian government, which gravely undermine the U.S.’s national security, interfere in our election processes, and generally influence the White House to pursue policy that serves interests other than those of the American people.

And when it comes to impeachment, we even often hear Democrats fantasize about getting republicans on board.

The prevailing wisdom has been that Republicans don’t stand up to Trump because (1) they are afraid of the barrage of twitter attacks he will unleash on them if they criticize him, harming their relationship with their pro-Trump base and thus their chances at re-election, and (2) Trump pushes through the policies they want in terms of tax cuts, de-regulation, and so forth; and he also helps them pack the courts with severely conservative and intensely ideological justices who will aid and abet them in assaulting women’s reproductive rights, undermining union and workers’ rights (e.g. the Janus ruling), rolling back voter protections, endorsing gerrymandering, and on and on.

The investigation into Trump’s mob-routine with Ukraine (hey, I need a favor; lemme make you an offer you can’t refuse), however, is beginning to reveal much more.

It’s not just Trump who’s consorting with Russians and accepting their money to support his campaigns, and thus tacitly agreeing to do the bidding of Russia whether it serves the interests of the American people or not.

The Republicans are in on it, too.

Former  Texas Republican Representative Pete Sessions reportedly accepted money from Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the two Soviet-born businessman recently arrested for U.S. campaign finance violations. This same report also implicates House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and South Carolina Republican Representative Joe Wilson for having accepted donations as well. Remember when Joe Wilson called President Obama a liar in the middle of one his State of the Union addresses? Now who’s the liar, Joe!?

And the Tampa Bay Times   reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accepted and has now returned a $50,000 donation from Parnas and Fruman, and that U.S. Republican Senator Rick Scott also accepted money from these Russian-rooted operatives.

And remember when Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska just happened to build an aluminum plant in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky?

For a good while commentators and analysts have tried to separate Trump from the rest of the Republican party, seeing the party as a whole as not complicit in Trump’s questionable and corrupt self-serving deals.

It now turns out that many of them are in on it.  Now we know why they deny the many truths regarding Russian interference and, yes, even collusion the Mueller report details.

It’s not just that they’re afraid of him or that they need him to push their policies and stack the court.

They’re in on it too. Russia is backing them too.

The Republican party is, we now know, truly the party of Trump, by which we mean Putin.

So, in 2020, it won’t be enough to oust Trump to rid our politics of the Russian corruption and infection; we’ll need to remove Republicans.

 

Schumer Tells Trump to Stop ‘Bullying, Harassing & Lying’ About Recounts

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has had enough of Donald Trump.

On Tuesday he demanded that the president “stop bullying, harassing and lying” about the Florida recounts.

Speaking in defense of Florida Sen. Nelson, who is fighting for his Senate seat, Minority Leader Schumer called for President Trump to “stop bullying, harassing and lying” about the Florida recount efforts.”

Speaking in defense of Florida Sen. Nelson, who is fighting for his Senate seat, Minority Leader Schumer called for President Trump to "stop bullying, harassing and lying" about the Florida recount efforts. https://t.co/O2Z0ulyLBK read more

Trump Continues Bogus Florida Fraud Claims, Says Recounts Should Stop

President Donald Trump declared that “an honest vote count is no longer possible” in the controversial Florida midterm elections for the state’s governor and U.S. Senate positions. The president is now claiming (with no evidence) that many of the ballots are “missing or forged.”

Trump tweeted:

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night! read more

Republicans Are Carrying Out An Assault On Democracy In Florida

Yesterday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent out a series of  Tweets implying a vast conspiracy was taking place due to his belief that “democratic lawyers are trying to change the results” of this past Tuesday’s election. Governor Rick Scott continues to hold a slim lead  over his opponent, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), however, that margin continues to deteriorate as more votes continue to be counted.

According to Mr. Rubio, votes “still being tallied,” should not be counted due to his ignorance of Florida election law. Mr. Rubio cites a portion of the law which requires election officials to report “within thirty minutes after the polls close those ballots which are the result of early voting and vote by mail.”

States Rubio:

“#Florida law requires counties report voting and vote-by-mail within 30 minutes after polls close. 43 hours after polls closed, 2 Democratic strongholds #BrowardCountry & #PalmBeachCounty are still counting & refusing to disclose how many ballots they have left to count.” read more

Trump Charges Corruption As Scott Files Florida Lawsuit

President Donald Trump has interjected himself into another election controversy. On Thursday evening he said that law enforcement was examining a “big corruption scandal” regarding “Election Fraud” in Florida. There are two Florida counties that have found themselves in the middle of an intense fight over vote counts in the state’s too-close-to-call U.S. Senate race.

Trump Tweeted:

“Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in read more

Fears of Florida Defeats Bring Desperation to the White House

Recent polls show that Democrat Andrew Gillum has maintained a lead over Trump-endorsed rival Ron DeSantis in the race to become Florida’s next governor. As a result, President Donald Trump and his aides in the White House are getting very, very worried.

According to POLITICO, President Trump plans to barnstorm Florida over the next ten days to campaign for DeSantis and for current Gov. Rick Scott, who is running a tight Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

POLITICO writes:

The White House is planning a political rescue mission in Florida, fearing a wipeout in a key swing state next month that could damage President Donald Trump’s reelection hopes.”

“Trump is expected to visit the state at least twice, according to two people familiar with the plans. Visits from several Cabinet members are likely, as well. Presidential text messages are being sent to Floridians who still haven’t cast their absentee ballots. And discussions are underway about blanketing the state with robocalls from Trump.”

Mac Stipanovich, a Florida GOP operative, believes that Trump’s reelection chances will be hurt with a Democrat as governor of Florida. He said that if the “charismatic” Gillum is stumping for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 then he is less likely to win Florida’s large pot of electoral votes.

“A Governor Gillum would be a significant obstacle for a Trump presidential campaign in Florida, and a Gov. DeSantis would be a significant asset,” Stipanovich said. “If they think Florida’s important, which I’m certain they do, they should be quite worried.”

And apparently Trump and his people are indeed very worried about the latest Florida polls showing DeSantis trailing, with only 11 days remaining until the election.

According to POLITICO, the White House is also considering “blanketing” the state with Trump robo-calls and sending presidential text messages to voters who haven’t yet mailed in their absentee ballots.

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway were in Florida helping DeSantis and Scott, both of whom have unusually close ties to the president.

Trump aides have been in constant contact with top Florida Republicans for weeks, and it is apparent that they are very worried.

“It is both my hope and my expectation that the president will be in Florida so much between now and the election that Floridians will be hearing ‘Hail to the Chief’ in their dreams,” said right-wing Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s strongest House allies. Gaetz has reportedly been in contact with the White House and is attempting to arrange for the president to visit his district, which lies in the Panhandle area recently hit by Hurricane Michael.

Clearly Trump does not want to lose two high-profile races in his adopted home state, which some consider the “swingiest of swing states.”

Trump has placed a huge amount of his political capital on a DeSantis victory, since he intervened in the GOP primary to give him his endorsement. A DeSantis loss would be a great embarrassment and would be seen as a repudiation of the president.

One thing that is not clear at this time is whether or not Trump’s efforts in Florida will do any good. 

Florida Atlantic University poll read more

Florida Democrats Ask For Voter Registration Extension Due to Hurricane

With Hurricane Michael on a path to devastate 300 miles of northwest Florida coastline tomorrow afternoon, Florida Democrats want the voter registration deadline extended.

Michael is bringing to Florida’s northern Gulf Coast its most serious hurricane threat in decades, and the National Hurricane Center has said the devastation caused by storm surges may be greater than anything residents there have ever seen before. The storm will make landfall Wednesday as a major category 3 hurricane.

Michael is poised to push ashore a “life-threatening” surge of ocean water 10-12 feet high that will inundate low-lying coastal areas for miles. The storm will also unleash a foot of rain causing flash flooding and destructive winds of over 110 miles per hour.

As a result of this expected mayhem, the head of the Florida Democratic Party is asking Florida government officials to allow an unprecedented extension of the voter registration deadline.

A formal letter was sent by Florida Democratic Party Chairman Terrie Rizzo to GOP Governor Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Monday afternoon. In the letter Rizzo requested that Scott and Detzner extend the deadline as hundreds of thousands of Floridians face a potentially disastrous storm.

Tuesday is the state’s deadline for eligible individuals to vote ahead of the elections to be held November 6th.

In his letter Rizzo wrote:

“The impending hurricane will adversely impact the ability of these eligible, but unregistered individuals who may have waited until the last day in order to register to vote.” read more

Nelson Won’t Back Down on Russian Hacking Claims in Florida

Russian hacking of U.S. elections is becoming a big issue in the U.S. Senate race in Florida between incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott.

One week ago we reported Nelson’s claims that

“Russian operatives have penetrated Florida’s election systems ahead of the 2018 elections. They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free rein to move about.”

When Nelson was asked to provide more details, including the source of his information, he responded by saying “That’s classified.”

Since then, he has come under attack from Rick Scott and other Republicans in Florida for making the claims of Russian hacking without providing evidence. Many political commentators and observers expressed opinions that Nelson’s comments would hurt him in his tight Senate race with Scott.

But now it has become clear that no matter how much Scott and his surrogates attack him Nelson will not back down. He still maintains that Russian operatives have penetrated some of Florida’s election systems and could impact this year’s crucial election.

“U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, under fire from Florida’s Republican governor, isn’t backing down from comments that Russian operatives have penetrated some of his state’s election systems ahead of this year’s crucial election.”

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, under fire from Florida's Republican governor, isn't backing down from comments that Russian operatives have penetrated some of his state's election systems ahead of this year's crucial election. https://t.co/OM8WIyBnMt read more

Trump Crony Rick Scott Running for U.S. Senate in Florida

If you care about the environment, education, gun control or any progressive values, Rick Scott has been a disaster as governor of Florida.  And now this right-wing former CEO accused of Medicare fraud wants to go to Washington in the U.S. Senate so he can promote even more of Donald Trump’s disastrous agenda.

#Florida Gov Rick Scott expected to announce that he's running for US Senate against incumbent Democrat @SenBillNelson.????

While CEO of HCA hospitals, Rick Scott oversaw the LARGEST #Medicare fraud in US history, paying a record $1.7 billion fine‼️????https://t.co/CuoX3qMSFS read more