Politics

DeSantis ‘won’t listen to reason’ on redistricting, and Florida Republicans are unhappy

At issue are two “minority access seats,” drawn under a Fair Districts anti-gerrymandering requirement added to the state constitution after a 2010 ballot vote. DeSantis thinks he can get that provision, which goes beyond the remaining requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act, struck down in court, though ultimately he also wants to take down the Voting Rights Act itself.

DeSantis wants to eliminate seats held by Democratic Reps. Al Lawson in north Florida, and Val Demings in the Orlando area. Neither has a majority-minority population, but both were drawn to enable Black candidates to win them. The legislature passed two maps, one of which preserves both seats and one of which changes Lawson’s district—which is sprawling rather than compact. Neither is good enough for DeSantis, highlighting his determination to pick a fight here. Given the state of the courts, it may be a successful one.

I think that is the ultimate goal [of DeSantis]: provide a vehicle for the court with the best possible facts to strike down the Voting Rights Act. And this would be the best way to do it — he’s not wrong,” University of Colorado law professor Doug Spencer told NBC News. “I think he would probably actually win.” After all, the Supreme Court has only moved further to the right since gutting the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

Florida Republicans are unhappy, but they’re doing their complaining anonymously because they fear DeSantis.

In meetings, he would just demand: ‘Pass my maps! My maps! My maps!’ He’s just bizarrely obsessed with this. He won’t let it go. He won’t listen to reason,” said one.

“[H]ere comes Ron, and he just blows the whole thing up because he wants to be president,” said one identified not just as a Republican but a “top” Republican. “And this is after we gave him everything he could want: the most conservative legislative session and all his budget priorities.”

According to a source described as close to DeSantis, “DeSantis — like his voters — lives in a world of absolutes. He doesn’t remember the 99 times you were with him. He remembers the one time you weren’t. And he’ll make sure the base knows.” In that, DeSantis is very representative of the direction of the Republican Party as a whole.




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