As RedState reported previously, the Florida Senate, led by Republican Wilton Simpson (currently endorsed by Donald Trump to run for Agriculture Commissioner), released two “final” Congressional redistricting map proposals a week ago. To be frank, those maps were an absolute giveaway to Democrats, taking things from the current 16-11 R to D map to a 16-12 R to D map.
It was beyond comprehension why any Florida Republican would look to surrender on redistricting in the face of massive gerrymanders by Democrats in states like California, Illinois, New York, and Maryland. It mimicked the inexplicable proposal coming from GOP leadership in Missouri.
Regardless, the next part of this equation became how Gov. Ron DeSantis would respond. Would he veto any such map? Would he put forth his own proposal? We now have an answer to both those questions.
This is what a continual lesson in actual leadership looks like. DeSantis’ critics derided him for releasing his redistricting plan, claiming the last four governors stayed out of the fight. But instead of backing down, the governor once again did what had to be done. In this case, that meant releasing a map that put pressure on the Florida Senate, letting it be known that he’s going to veto any map that doesn’t take full advantage of Florida’s Republican shift over the last several years.
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Now, as to the question of whether DeSantis’ map could pass muster via the courts, the answer is almost certainly yes. The Florida Supreme Court is extremely conservative and the Voting Rights Act (which has basically just become a bludgeon to attack Republican gerrymanders while leaving Democrat gerrymanders alone) would likely not apply to any of the drawn districts outside of maybe FL-5, which could draw a federal challenge. Even then, the issue is worth pressing.
In response to DeSantis’ map, leftwing election Twitter is insisting that it will never pass the legislature. But that assumes that Republicans will openly side with Democrats and go to war with the governor in order to hand Democrats a major win on redistricting. Does that sound probable, or does it sound more like DeSantis called the Senate’s bluff here? They aren’t going to nuke their own political careers to help protect Frederica Wilson.
As has been his trend, DeSantis is once again engaging in a battle worth fighting, and it’s one many other Republicans would shy away from. There is no excuse to pass anything worse than a 20-8 R to D map in Florida. The governor understands the importance of this moment as we head towards 2022’s national elections. Any Republican looking to wave the white flag on this issue, including Mr. Simpson, should be vehemently opposed.