I think I’m now comfortable describing Ron DeSantis as a political genius. The way he has navigated other issues, many of which the smart set insisted he would lose on, has been masterful. But the way he’s handled redistricting in Florida is truly his greatest work yet.
For months, the state’s legislature, run by Republicans, has tried to surrender on redistricting. After originally proposing a 16-12 map, a ridiculous giveaway of Florida’s GOP gains, they settled on an 18-10 map. But that map kept in place a racial gerrymander in FL-5 that protected a Democrat. DeSantis, in the face of criticism from his own party, promised to veto it, and he followed through.
That set up a game of chicken that DeSantis won. The legislature requested that the governor submit a map to vote on, and now he has. Here’s what it looks like.
You’ll notice the distinct lack of a 200-mile-long Democrat district in northern Florida, spanning Jacksonville to Tallahassee. That’s because DeSantis had the guts to stand his ground on getting rid of that ridiculous gerrymander. His own party members in the Florida legislature tried to undercut him, but he refused to let them lose — no matter how badly they wanted to.
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Now, the map will come up for a vote. If the Republican legislature still chooses to shoot it down after specifically requesting the governor’s office submit the map, they deserve the wrath they will get from voters. Somehow, I doubt that take that path, though. I believe the map will pass.
That leads us to the next part of this, which is the rage coming from the leftwing over DeSantis completely outflanking everyone.
You can just feel the consternation from the left, including supposedly apolitical election analyst Dave Wasserman, as they beg the courts to step in and save them here. That’s highly unlikely to happen, though. The Florida Supreme Court is 7-0 GOP after DeSantis stacked it with constitutional conservatives. There is no legal reason to strike down the map, and there’s certainly no reason to expect the court to do so on political grounds, as some other state Supreme Courts have.
What this all adds up to is pain and loathing for Democrats who thought they had outmaneuvered Republicans on redistricting this cycle. Just weeks ago, analysts were bragging that Democrats had picked up 4-6 seats via redistricting alone. But once the DeSantis map goes into effect, those gains will be completely wiped out, finishing the job that Alabama and Ohio Republicans started when they won court battles over their redistricting maps.
Really, my hat’s off to DeSantis. This was a masterwork of political strategy, and it didn’t just happen by chance. There was real forethought put into how to go about this. That’s what makes DeSantis unique. It’s not just that he triggers the libs. It’s that he wins on the issues while triggering the libs. The phrase “4D chess” has been thrown around a lot over the years, but in this case, it absolutely applies.