A judge on Friday gave a victory to the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, rendering a decision that effectively forces voters to choose candidates in November based on a congressional map that he ruled was invalid because it favored the GOP.
So a GOP-carved district that bobs and weaves 160+ miles through NINE counties and shoves every single black neighborhood from Jacksonville to Orlando into it will stand. This despite a clearly-worded CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, passed in 2010, that districts had to be drawn fair, compact and sensible without concern for demographics.
Beleaguered Floridians cheered the initial ruling from same judge throwing out the maps. The foremost experts on gerrymandering in the nation testified that these were the most blatantly biased maps ever drawn. The GOP had the audacity to submit the monstrosity through a a website for "public input" moments before the 5 am deadline through an FSU student who testified, under oath, that he never submitted it. (HE did somehow get a great job working for the House Speaker's brother.)
Documents were destroyed, all of the Speaker's emails were "accidentally" deleted, and internal data and drafted maps were shared with only GOP political consultants in clear violation of our state sunshine laws.
Activists brought the suit, because our overpaid, ideological Attorney General, Pam Bondi, wasn't going to do jack about it. I was proud because they not only shined a light on these cockroaches; they had them scampering.
What SHOULD have happened is a demand from Judge Terry Lewis that a nonpartisan panel or the Supreme Court redraw the maps since the legislature proved wholly incapable of following the Constitution.
What SHOULD have happened is the legislators engaging in such devious behavior should have not only been taken out of the process, but SENT TO PRISON!
But this is Florida....
The GOP legislature made very, VERY minor tweaks to the map, only cutting off some of the extraordinary appendages. Despite our state Constitution demanding that districts be drawn fair, compact, and sensible with no regard to demographics, we are stuck with pretty much the same map that the judge earlier called reprehensible.
You know this was a victory for the GOP because their leaders are crowing about how awesome this all is, while the Democrats are furious and vowing an appeal.
You can get mad or you can GOTV. People are fed up. Even people in gerrymandered districts like District 51 or District 53 are running neck and neck. Keep in mind that the GOP gerrymander the statewide races... so let's fight hard to throw our Rick Scott and Pam Bondi.
Your arrogance blinds you, Florida GOP. The state has suffered for 4 years under a Teabag regime, and we are leaning more left and getting more diverse by the day.
You can rule by lies and cheating only for so long. Enjoy your day, GOP. We'll be preparing for ours.