Congressional Badass Val Demings Ready To Bring The Pain To Marco Rubio

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We're all sick of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, that spineless, weasely sock puppet for special interests. We deserve a trade up, ideally in the form of Rep. Val Demings, who officially served notice today on Rubio's sorry ass. Her campaign launch video is wonderful.

People ask me, “Val, where do you get your tireless faith that things can always get better?" I got it here, in Jacksonville, Florida. When you grow up in the South, poor, Black, and female, you have to have faith in progress and opportunity.

Demings, who is 64 and apparently immortal, acknowledges the challenges women and minorities face without leaving room for Republicans to claim she's calling America racist. Sure, they'll do that anyway, but it'll look sillier than usual.


Against a backdrop of adorable family photos from her childhood, Demings shares how her mother, who worked as a maid, told her, “Val, never grow tired of doing good." Demings has adopted “Never Tire" as her campaign slogan, and it's inspiring while also realistic. There are no quick fixes, and fighting Republicans is a never-ending battle. We can't allow our resolve to weaken. If we're overcome by cynicism, MAGA wins.

DEMINGS: Work hard, not just for yourself but for others.

This is how you say “I'm not a Republican" without actually saying "I'm not a Republican." This is an effective statement of purpose, far more compelling than just repeating, “I love me some filibuster! Bipartisanship!" People elect Democrats to solve problems, not defend senseless traditions or cozy up to coup-enabling Republicans. A recent focus group study revealed that many voters "have trouble describing a clear positive vision of what the Democratic Party stands for." In the absence of that clear positive vision, Republicans will eagerly create and run against strawman socialist Democrats.

Demings counters these obvious attacks with her 27-year-career in law enforcement. She literally was a cop, and during her time as Orlando's chief of police, violent crime steadily decreased. I'm hardly a cop booster, but I recognize an obvious electoral advantage in a conservative-leaning state. The panhandle isn't going to flip for her, but Demings will have to perform well among Florida's diverse Hispanic electorate if she hopes to beat Rubio. Joe Biden, Andrew Gillum, and former Senator Bill Nelson all underperformed Democrats' national average with Hispanic voters. Most Cuban Americans now identify as Republican, which creates some tough math for Democrats. Nelson, for instance, won 40 percent of the white vote and 90 percent of the Black vote in 2018. He still narrowly lost to Rick Scott, and “only" winning Hispanic voters by nine points is the likely culprit.

DEMINGS: And along the way, we brought “law and order" to a lawless president.

See what she did there? She flipped the script on the twice-impeached thug's “law and order" appeals. The campaign video includes a clip of Demings calling the Mar-a-Lago resident a “habitual offender committing crimes in progress." Demings was a House impeachment manager and she considers Trump the thug that got away.

DEMINGS: Unlike some in Washington, I never tire of standing up for what I believe is right, because no one is above the law, but it turns out that there are those in Washington who prefer the same, old tired ways of doing business.

That's when she turns up the heat on Little Marco, who's seen in the video canoodling with Trump and Ted Cruz. She calls him out as “too tired" to “fight the efforts to suppress the people's vote." She even includes the classic moment during the New Hampshire GOP debate when the Rubio-Bot 9000 malfunctioned on live TV. He's just a big loser is what she's saying.

Now go donate to Demings's campaign. Y'all spent the budget of every Marvel movie combined on Amy McGrath's doomed race against Mitch McConnell, and I see people already tempted to empty their wallets in an effort to oust Rand Paul. Look, you have every good reason to loathe McConnell and Paul, but Kentucky's gonna Kentucky. McConnell crushed McGrath by 20 points. Biden lost Florida by just three points. Beating Rubio isn't impossible — hey, we flipped Georgia! both Georgias! — but it's going to take all of us.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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