Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is on a mission. It’s a congressional redistricting mission—which is to say, it’s a mission to de-Blackify a congressional district in the state of Florida.
On Tuesday, the governor who hates critical race theory but keeps proving it necessary confirmed his plan to make a change that, according to the Tampa Bay Times, “will dismantle a congressional district designed to help Black voters living in the former plantation territories of North Florida.” (Whaaaah? A white Republican wants to dismantle historic civil rights protections for Black people? You don’t say.)
“I think that what they’ll produce will be something that will be acceptable to folks and obviously we’d get my signature for proposing it,” DeSantis said during a bill-signing news conference in Miami. “It will, though, have North Florida drawn in a race-neutral manner.”
From the Times:
DeSantis cited Cooper v. Harris, a 2017 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the North Carolina General Assembly engaged in “unconstitutional racial gerrymanders” by relying on race too heavily when it drew two congressional districts following the 2010 Census.
DeSantis said the current Congressional District 5, which stretches across North Florida from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, linking urban and rural Black voters in a region that was home to the slave plantations of the 1800s, “divvies up people based on the color of their skin.”
“That is wrong,” he said. “That is not the way we’ve governed in the State of Florida. There has never been a district of that length and that shape that has been justifiable.”
We really don’t need to ask whether DeSantis has also scrutinized predominately white congressional districts the same way. It’s pretty damn clear he has no interest in racially neutralizing all of Florida—just the parts that have too many negroes gathering in one spot. DeSantis is essentially engaging in the congressional redistricting version of calling the police to break up the large crowds of minorities who are making their Karen neighbors nervous.
He also seems to understand that his proposal, if enacted, will end in litigation. He just doesn’t seem to care so long as all this Florida Blackness is contained when people go to the ballot box.
“You’re gonna have litigation either way,” he said. “But I think the odds are higher that a map that is race-neutral will be approved. And I think it’s more likely that one that did that kind of intentional drawing would be ruled to violate the 14th Amendment.”
Really, I just wish DeSantis wasn’t such a coward that he just can’t be honest and say what this arbitrary move is really about—Black people don’t vote Republican, so Black voting power needs to be diminished.
“This is the most overtly racist action that you can do,” Democratic state Sen. Randolph Bracy said Thursday in regards to DeSantis’ white-tastic proposal, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “The fact he has the gall to do something like this clearly shows what he thinks of minorities and Black voters. It’s stunning in this day and age he would try to wipe out Black representation.”
OK, let’s just acknowledge that, at this point, nothing racist done by DeSantis is “stunning.” This is the governor who proposed an ant-CRT bill that essentially bans lessons that make white people feel “discomfort,” and then months later, he backed podcaster Joe Rogan and said he shouldn’t have apologized for his use of the n-word or for referring to a Black neighborhood as the Planet of the Apes. Because who cares about Black “discomfort?”
This is the same Ron DeSantis who signed a bill that basically protected motorists who hit Black Lives Matter protesters with their vehicles.
And as far as voting rights are concerned, DeSantis has already gone out of his way to make it clear that he wants to keep as many undesirables from voting as possible. Why else was he fighting so hard to restrict felons from voting despite the fact that Florida voters overwhelmingly approved the restoration of voting rights for felons? In the mind of a white nationalist, fewer felons voting means fewer non-whites voting, which means more power to Republicans.
DeSantis’ new redistricting plan “is a continued scheme by DeSantis to erase minority access districts in Congress in order to create more seats for the Republican Party,” says U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-Florida), “whose sprawling North Florida District 5 would be transformed into a more Republican-friendly Duval County only district,” the Sentinel reported.
As usual, Republicans like DeSantis only suddenly see race problems in America when it’s time to protect or unleash the power of whiteness. They don’t see color until it’s on a congressional map, apparently. Go figure.