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Jack is a graduate of Rutgers University where he majored in history. His career in the life and health insurance industry involved medical risk selection and brokerage management. Retired for two decades after many years in NJ and NY, he occasionally writes, paints, plays poker, participates in play readings and is catching up on Shakespeare, Melville and Joyce, etc.

Friday, May 13, 2022

05-13-2022 - The Tenth Amendment, Why NOT to 'Go High,' Analyzing the Enemy and a Solution, SevenTraitors to their Sex,

 

Warning: This posting finds me in an angry mood. But perhaps that is what is necessary to get these ideas across.
JL                                            

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The Danger Presented by the Tenth Amendment

While we are aware of the protections given to us by the First Amendment and the rights born of the Fourteenth Amendment, we seem to ignore the Tenth Amendment which is at the root of many of our present problems.  

The desire of the majority of Americans for (1) better regulation of businesses including agribusinesses such as meatpacking, (2) for stronger protection of civil rights including voting, (3) for guaranteeing women's rights including abortion, and for (4) passing laws to reduce gun violence, is not only blocked by the Constitution's undemocratic structure of the Senate, but also the authority given to States by the Tenth Amendment. It says that 'powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'

Just as the late Justice Antonin Scalia disregarded the first thirteen words of the Second Amendment, resulting in ‘pistol packing’ by almost anyone, we seem to ignore those last four words of the Tenth Amendment, ‘or to the people.’  State government is organized to take advantage of this gift to them, but 'the people' are not. 

Our government is built upon a Constitutional foundation of compromises that is beginning to show cracks, through which if we don’t watch out, can expand until our democracy tumbles through them into oblivion.  (Though they are today applicable elsewhere, these compromises were originally intended to gain the support of States where human slavery was legal for the approval of the new Constitution.)  Benjamin Franklin said that the 1789 Constitutional Convention gave us a ‘republic if we could keep it.’ That’s what we should be trying to do.

JL                                            

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Why Go ‘High’?

In the last posting in this blog, Robert Frost was quoted as writing,  ‘a liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.’ 

Michelle Obama - Not Always Correct
This is the trap the Democrats have fallen into by not recognizing that Michelle Obama’s words (‘When they go low, we go high’) lead to a failed strategy. If you don’t believe that, look around you and see where that has gotten us and what is happening right now: Abortion rights being threatened, Voting rights being threatened, Books being banned in schools. The correct tactic when they ‘go low,’ which is the usual Republican position, is to kick them in the teeth, at least verbally.  A boxing match is unfair if one fighter wears boxing gloves and the other uses his bare fists.

But meanwhile, you must remember that:

There is only one real issue of political concern right now. That is how to defeat Republicans on Nov. 8, about 26 weeks from now.  The future of democracy in the United States is at stake.  Really.

A tsunami of Democratic votes from persons of color and from women is needed to retain control of both Houses of Congress and to take over as many State Legislatures as possible. Republican actions at National levels and especially at State levels are never in the interest of these two voting groups whose voices and votes are necessary.  Republican positions on abortion rights and their attacks on voting rights prove this!

The Democratic Party must recognize this and not let intra-party disagreements deter them.

If Paul Revere were riding tonight, his message would be ‘The fascists are coming! The fascists are coming! Get out the vote!’ 

You must do your part. 

JL                                            

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Know Thy Enemy and What to Do with Them

Here’s a part of what history professor Heather Cox Richardson wrote in her ‘Letters from an American’ posted on May 10.  The Republican she quotes (in red below) is running in Michigan’s GOP gubernatorial primary.  He probably won’t win their nomination, but the fact that he is even running helps identify the enemy our democracy faces.  He, and anyone who agrees with him, have obviously been totally taken in by the legitimization of ignorance.  Even the Republican Party is belatedly recognizing that QAnon-influenced nut-jobs are seizing control of their MAGA movement and outdoing their usual cadre of liars. Here’s what Richardson wrote. 

‘In Michigan, Republican Ryan Kelley, who is running for governor, has openly attacked the idea of democracy. “Socialism—it starts with democracy,” he said. “That’s the ticket for the left. They want to push this idea of democracy, which turns into socialism, which turns into communism in every instance.”  Kelley’s distinction between “democracy” and a “constitutional republic” is drawn from the John Birch Society in the 1960s, which used that distinction to oppose the idea of one person, one vote, that supported Black voting.

In turn, the Birchers drew from the arguments of white supremacists during Reconstruction after the Civil War, who warned that Black voters would elect leaders who promised them roads, and schools, and hospitals. These benefits would cost tax dollars that in the postwar South would have to be paid largely by white landowners. Thus, white voters insisted, Black voting would lead to a redistribution of wealth; by 1871, they insisted it was essentially “socialism.”


That context explains Kelley’s insistence that
“we truly are losing our country to the radical left.” But the argument is not only racial and economic. American evangelicals are converting to the Russian Orthodox Church out of support for its nativism, white nationalism, rejection of LGBTQ rights and abortion, and support for authoritarian Russian president Vladimir Putin. Like him, they object to the diversity inherent in democracy.’ 

Wow!  These Republicans actually are admitting that they are against ‘democracy.’  It’s out in the open.  They think it’s a bad thing.  And fools still vote for them in droves.  HCR’s comments also draw attention to the hypocrisy of some American evangelical Christians who seem to be susceptible to the legitimization of ignorance.  A little more attention to what’s in the newspapers and less to the Bible might help them, or perhaps just a closer reading of what is written in that holy book. 

It is all starting to come together into one monstrous plot to destroy democracy in the United States and to invest power in an autocratic government that will not answer to the majority of the people 

At this point, we do not know who is pulling the strings but I suspect that it is a coalition of individuals and groups dedicated to subverting democracy.  Like this pathetic Kelley fellow in Michigan, they seem to think that government OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people amount to socialism, and that Lincoln was some sort of communist, though they never quite say that. Some will never get over his ‘freeing the slaves.’

In some way, all those in this weird coalition are connected. Let’s look at them and try to figure out how, and finally, what to do about it.  See how ...

The Republican conspirators who inspired the January 6 attack on the Capitol in order to prevent the legally elected president from receiving the electoral votes required by the Constitution to confirm his election … are connected to 

The defeated former president himself who still claims, with no evidence whatsoever, that the election was stolen … and he is connected to 

The Republicans in the Senate and the House who obstruct any legislation which is in the interest of the majority of people in the country and who … are connected to 

A politicized Supreme Court which is in the course of repealing Roe vs. Wade by virtue of three Justices, handpicked by the defeated former president, and who came very close to lying (as lawyers, they knew how to mince their words) at their confirmation hearings, and is willing to throw away the half-century of protection of women’s rights that decision brought about … and which is inspired by

The archaic Federalist Society which preaches and teaches a literal ‘originalist’ interpretation of the Constitution which would deny the validity of some of its Amendments guaranteeing rights to the people … and which is connected to 

Easily manipulated State legislatures where right-wingers have the sole power to pass undemocratic measures concerning schools, textbooks, and election procedures … and this is supported by 

Right-wing media, owned by the business community, whose stock in trade is outright lying supposedly permitted by the First Amendment, and is dedicated to the destruction of democracy in the United States … and their giving credence to  travesties like 

The Mueller Commission’s report’s being whitewashed by a dishonest Attorney General, thereby ignoring the defeated former president’s connections with illegal Russian aid in winning his 2016 election … that we now find to be connected to 

The Republican Party’s long-term relationship with Russia’s dictatorial government, going back several administrations which was hidden by …

That same 'bought' right-wing media … which was also heavily connected to 

Evangelical Christians being duped by lies fed to them on radio, TV, the internet and sadly, often from the pulpit … and this media contamination is also connected to 

NRA-based opposition to any legislation concerning controlling civilian use of weapons, based on a total misinterpretation of the Second Amendment by that corrupted, politicized Supreme Court … which also makes 

Decisions weakening the regulatory role of government in acting to protect the interests of ordinary citizens … and this is connected to 

Support of Unfair Tax legislation that gives relief to businesses and the very wealthiest of Americans, shifting the tax burden to middle class and impoverished citizens, reducing funds for medical care for those in greatest need of it, and reducing the welcome which has always existed here for those fleeing oppression elsewhere. 

It's all connected. 

The glue that bonds them together seems to be a mixture of right-wing media liars and the Republican Party.  Crazy Glue? A Crazy Party!  

Now perhaps Americans will understand why the next gathering of the totally Republican Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), at which a key speaker will be Fox’s in-house fascist, Tucker Carlson, will be held in Hungary with their undemocratic President Orban as the honored guest, a clever way of avoiding demonstrations by loyal Americans.  There you have it.  They are all connected. And they are ashamed to tout their program within this country's borders.

 We cannot sit still any longer!  No more ‘going high’ while they ‘go low.’  Along with registering for and voting in the November 8 elections, remedying this situation deserves the highest priority. And here is what we must do about it right now!

The Solution There is no question that the way to proceed at this point is for the Department of Justice to indict those who planned and inspired the January 6, 2021 insurrection and that should include the defeated former president.  The House Select Committee has amassed enough sworn evidence to indict them all, including him.  This should take priority over prosecuting the actual foot soldiers who were convinced to participate in the attack on the Capitol. Only then, with the threat of imprisonment for seditious or even traitorous acts looming, will this weird coalition begin to unravel. 

It is time to play hardball.  We cannot let this go the way of the Mueller investigation and the two failed attempts at confirming the defeated former president’s impeachment in the Senate. 

If it results in violence by the supporters of the defeated former president, including any who are armed, in elected office, or involved in law enforcement (too many are), military force should be used to subdue them and maintain justice.  That’s what Abraham Lincoln did when the Union was threatened by secessionists.  The foes of democracy are no less of a danger to the nation. 

It is time to play hardball. 

JL                                            

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Senate Vote to Create Federal Abortion Rights Fails - Seven Traitors to their Sex Helped Scuttle It

On Wednesday, all the Republican members of the Senate voted against a measure designed to bypass the Supreme Court by guaranteeing women to right to make their own decisions regarding abortion.  Needing 60 votes, this brought about its defeat. (One Democrat voted with them.)   

Because of their Party’s united position on this issue, no woman in this country in either ‘red’ and ‘blue’ States should cast a ballot for any Republican running for any office whatsoever, local, State or Federal.  Doing so would make them a traitor to their sex 

And as for the seven female Republican Senators who voted against this measure, they should be shunned by those Senators who voted for it, particularly their female colleagues.  Senators Blackburn, Hyde-Smith, Ernst, Capito, Fischer, Murkowski and Collins disgraced the body to which they were elected as well as betraying their sex.  

And if you think it’s just about abortion, you are na├»ve. Same sex-marriage, contraception, gender identification, and perhaps the 14th Amendment itself (partially quoted below) are next on their agenda. ('Equal protection of the laws frightens them.') In fact, they already are emboldened, in places where ignorance reigns supreme like Florida, to censor schoolbooks and put limits on the right to assemble guaranteed by their next target, the First Amendment. 

They think this approach is a winner because too many Americans believe being against these things is doing God’s will.  I don’t know of any Republicans who have spoken with the Creator lately to confirm this, but when that happens, I am sure FoxNews will interrupt its regular programming to announce it.

 

14th Amendment – Section One - All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

JL                                            

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Can you see why I am angry?  You should be tooDonate some money to defeat Republican candidates.  Get the uninvolved ‘involved.’  Do your part to save democracy.

 

JL

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

05-10-2022 - Rich Strike Inspring to Democrats- Getting out the Vote - Liberalism Goes Awry - A Big Print Shop - Two Fine Columns

 

Rich Strike Wins Kentucky Derby Against Bigger Odds than Democrats Face

For those who don’t believe the Democrats will ‘win big’ on Nov. 8 and end up with even larger majorities in the House and in the Senate, and at the same time take control of a bunch of red State governorships and State legislatures, just look at what 80-1 long shot Rich Strike did in winning the Kentucky Derby on Saturday!  Anything is possible.

(Rich Strike didn't come out of nowhere. His inbred ‘bloodlines’ go back to some great horses, particularly the stallion 'Curlin,' who is his grandsire and also his cousin on his dam's side, just as the Democratic Party’s ‘bloodlines’ go back to some great leaders such as Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt and by adoption, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, both abandoned by the Republican Party.)

All it takes is very hard work and unwavering faith in what you believe.  It is up to you to get more voters registered. It is up to you to support the candidates you believe in. It is up to you to vote for them. It is up to you. It is up to you. It is up to you. Get it?

 

JL                   

 

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GettIng Out the Vote 

It’s easy for the Republicans to get out their vote.  All they have to do is appeal to the emotions of voters who openly or tacitly harbor an animosity toward non-whites, who are bothered by same-sex marriages and by people who are not ‘straight,’ who feel that our new tech-oriented economy has taken something away from them and given it to others who haven’t ‘earned’ it, and who feel we have strayed too far from the Bible or mistakenly, from the original intent of the Constitution.  They find easy targets to attack in the person of immigrants, minorities, and even teachers.  To get their votes, Republicans don’t have to make these points in speeches. Dog-whistles and hints are sufficient. They are good at that. 

It’s more difficult for the Democrats to get out the vote. They have to satisfy their voters with rational reasons for supporting them.  They have to satisfy academics and voters who don’t understand issues unless they are explained for them in the honest newspapers and magazines.  Dog whistles don’t work with them. 

Getting tangled up in arguing issues wastes their already scarce resources.  It is better to simply state that  Republicans never support legislation that is in the interest of women, non-whites, are on the wrong side of all LGBTQ issues and give no respect to non-believers in traditional religions. The don’t want the government to regulate anything, not even food or drugs and of course not the financial marketplace. They lie about continuing Social Security and Medicare, just as they lied about preserving a woman’s right to have an abortion. They want to go back to the final three decades of the 19th century and the third decade of the 20th century when business interests ruled the nation.  There is no reason for anyone with half a brain to vote for them.  But despite all that they are against, and despite their not being for anything constructive whatsoever, all too many still vote for Republicans.  Democrats have a hard row to hoe. 

Campaigning ‘positively’ is harder than campaigning ‘negatively,’ as Republicans do.  That’s why the best tactic for Democrats must be to simply ask Americans to vote ‘to save democracy.’  This blog does that.  Without getting deeply into issues, urging Americans to vote for Democrats is enough. (That’s why the appeal from the prior posting is reproduced somewhere below.)  

 

JL                   

 

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(Reproduced from the previous blog postings.)

 

There is only one issue of political concern right now. That is how to defeat Republicans on Nov. 8, about 26 weeks from now.  The future of democracy in the United States is at stake.  Really.

A tsunami of Democratic votes from persons of color and from women is needed to retain control of both Houses of Congress and to take over as many State Legislatures as possible. Republican actions at National levels and especially at State levels are never in the interest of these voters whose voices and votes are necessary.  

The Democratic Party must recognize this and not let intra-party disagreements deter them.

If Paul Revere were riding tonight, his message would be ‘The fascists are coming! The fascists are coming! Get out the vote!’ 

You must do your part.  

JL                   

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Voice of the Poet on 'Liberalism'

Frost

Robert Frost once wrote that ‘a liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.’  ‘Liberal’ was once defined as keeping an open mind, closer to the way ‘libertarian’ is used today in the sense that ‘anything goes.’  By that definition, liberals could be on the left or on the right or anywhere, including out in space.  But no more.  Today, ‘liberal’ has become synonymous with left-leaning ‘progressives.’

Frost's words, if you accept that latter definition, synonymous with progressivism, describe how such liberalism got us to where the position of the United States regarding abortion rights has become like those of undemocratic and backward nations, places where you would not want to live.  It explains how Democrats, satisfied with knowing that the Courts were on their side, remained almost silent while the right-wing minority screamed about repealing Roe vs. Wade for half a century.  Well, screaming loud enough has changed that and the broadmindedness of liberals has allowed that to happen.  

It is time to heed the sarcasm in Frost’s words and strongly, if not violently, take the side in which one believes in the great quarrels now going on.  This not only applies to abortion rights, but to other rights Americans have enjoyed for years and which are under attack. Doing things politely, quietly, broadmindedly, doesn’t work.  Screaming does. 

Let’s contradict Frost’s definition that ‘a liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.’  Get out there and fight for what you believe, every day!

JL                   

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IF YOU LIKE THIS BLOG, PLEASE FORWARD IT TO AT LEAST ONE OR MORE FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS WHOM YOU FEEL MIGHT ENJOY READING IT. Suggest that they pass it on to others.

There’s a little envelope at the bottom left corner of each posting enabling you to easily do that.  It looks like this:  . Just click on it and follow the instructions.  It will forward the full text of the blog posting (but not any illustrations or images, like that little envelope with the arrow) to whomever you want.

JL                   

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 A Very Busy Printing Operation

Did you know that besides printing the South Florida Sun Sentinel (circulating mostly in Broward and portions of Dade and Palm Beach Counties), that newspaper’s printing plant in Deerfield Beach also prints the Miami Herald, the Palm Beach Post, (and both papers’ ‘en espanol’ versions), the Palm Beach Daily News, the Stuart News, the Port St. Lucie News, the Indian River News, the Fort Myers News-Press, the Naples Daily News, as well as the New York Daily News, the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the weekly Barron’s Financial Review for these publications’ Florida readers?

Imagine what effect a power failure or other disaster would have on news dissemination if that plant were disabled.  Keep your TV and radio in working order.



What?  You don't read newspapers any longer?  That makes you part of the problem and not part of the solution to the problems besetting us!  At least read their online versions, or selected items, including their columnists, from them each day for a very modest  price, like $4 for a whole month (a few pennies more than the newsstand or delivery price of one issue of most daily papers).  Check out the New York Times or the Washington Post for deals like that.

 

JL

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Column by E. J. Dionne

 E. J. Dionne’s Washington Post column of 5/9/22 dealing with the SCOTUS and Roe vs. Wade is well worth reading.  To read it, just CLICK HERE or somehow find your way to:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/08/supreme-court-conservative-majority-extremism-not-limited-to-roe/

But If you’re not going to do that though, here are the first and final sentences of Dionne’s column.  The ‘meat’ is in the middle, so please try to read the whole thing.

First Sentence:  If the Supreme Court adopts the substance of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s draft ruling ending the constitutional right to abortion, the conservative majority’s radicalism will deepen the crisis of American democracy and further divide an already torn country.

Final Sentence:  Conservatives (as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may be telling his colleagues) should understand that a change as radical as the one Alito contemplates almost always blows up in its authors’ faces.

JL

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Florida’s Election Battles

(If you're fortunate enough not to live in the Sunshine State, you can skip this piece.  But you still might like to read it because it might happen to you someday. National issues are involved.)

It is important that Democrats turn out to defeat Marco Rubio in November.  He is less than worthless.  And the Democrat candidate, Val Demings is excellent.  With the votes of women and persons of color, she should win.  

But that will only happen if you make certain you are registered to vote and vote for her on November 8, and that you urge others to do the same.  A Rubio victory will be your fault!

More difficult is defeating Florida’s extreme right-wing, if not dictatorial, governor.  Registered Democrats will choose a candidate to oppose the ‘Florida Fuehrer’ in a primary election this Summer.  Here is a column from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel concerning one of the three (Crist, Fried, Taddeo) running in that primary election.

Abortion – Guns -  Is it enough to wake up voters?

By Steve Bousquet

May 06, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Abortion and guns.  Guns and abortion.

·        Eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion after nearly 50 years.

·        Allowing legal gun owners to openly display firearms without a permit, in Florida of all places — the scene of two of the worst mass shootings ever at Pulse nightclub and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Abortion and guns.

If there’s another political issue that can more effectively motivate Democrats and independents and get them to go to the polls — especially women, who already vote more reliably than men — I can’t think of one.

We know a few things about midterm or non-presidential statewide elections in Florida. Republicans have massively more money than Democrats, a lot more Republicans bother to vote than do Democrats, and Republicans win — though often by very small margins.

We also know too many Democrats in Florida blissfully ignore political campaigns until a few weeks before Election Day.

If that ever were to change, you’d think it would be this election, with the anticipated repeal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court and Gov. Ron DeSantis giddily pledging to sign an open-carry gun law before leaving office. There’s a reason why even this pro-gun Legislature has not sent that to him: It’s highly controversial and opposed by much of the voting public and in the past by Florida sheriffs.

History shows us Democrats and independents need an overwhelming reason to vote in a midterm, and at the moment they have at least three: abortion, guns and DeSantis, whose intensely polarizing presence and increasingly extremist agenda is a campaign issue all by itself. He’s a serious contender for president in 2024 — if he’s not stopped in 2022.

Can anybody stop him? There appears to be only one person: Charlie Crist. At first glance, that appears highly unlikely, if not impossible, in part because this looks like a rough mid-term cycle for Democrats because of inflation and other factors.

Besides, DeSantis has $100 million in the bank and all the trappings of incumbency, and the Republicans have passed Democrats in registered voters in Florida.

But on abortion and guns, he’s on the wrong side of public opinion, on top of his bullying tactics toward Blacks, LGBTQ Floridians, protesters, private businesses, kids wearing masks, voters, school boards, Disney — the list goes on.

So cocky and certain of his re-election prospects, DeSantis is clearly playing to a political audience far beyond Florida, and he has likened the Democratic Party to a “dumpster fire.”

As for Crist, he lost his last two statewide elections before winning a seat in Congress in St. Petersburg. His story is familiar as a Republican-turned-Democrat and a perpetual candidate who in the past tried too hard to be all things to all people.

Crist will face Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Sen. Annette Taddeo of Miami in the August Democratic primary.

It’s time for voters to take a fresh look at Crist and for Crist to forcefully explain, news cycle after news cycle, why the stakes are so high, and to remind voters that we live in a treacherous moment that is unparalleled in Florida history.

Crist took a step in that direction this week with a forceful speech that made the case against DeSantis.

Marking one year since he entered the race, from the lobby of a law office in Tampa’s Ybor City and speaking with a TelePrompTer, Crist looked past his primary rivals. He called DeSantis a bully, compared him to the world’s worst dictators, like Putin and Maduro, and said what can’t be easily distilled into a snappy sound bite: Our political institutions, starting with the Legislature, are breaking down before our very eyes.

“In normal times, Floridians could count on the checks and balances woven into the fabric of our state to limit an authoritarian-minded, power-hungry governor. Not anymore,” Crist said. “We have a moral responsibility to stop him.”

The speech is on Crist’s Facebook page. As is so often the case, the news media paid only perfunctory attention and the public ignored it completely.

Does a majority of Floridians really want to keep living like this? That’s hard to fathom.

Slowly but surely, Democrats are coalescing around Crist.

“I think he has the best chance to win against DeSantis. I think we need to consolidate around one candidate,” said Sen. Tina Polsky, D-Boca Raton, who said she’s hearing from more voters who are scared about a future with more DeSantis. “I can’t tell you how much angst there is out there.”

Abortion and guns.  Abortion, guns and DeSantis.  Isn’t that enough?

Steve Bousquet is Opinion Editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel and a columnist in Tallahassee. Contact him at  sbousquet@sunsentinel.com, call 850-567-2240 and follow him on Twitter @stevebousquet.

JL

 



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