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Rick Scott Wants Florida To Cut Out All This 'Counting Votes' Nonsense

Culture

Florida has been a hot mess of electoral shenanigans if not outright fraud for as long as I can remember. I still have the Katherine Harris-inflicted scars from the 2000 election. Tuesday night, Republicans Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott pulled ahead in the vote counts for Florida governor and senator, so they just sort of stopped counting. Not counting votes is a reliable, Supreme Court-approved strategy. Why wait for all those pesky returns to come in when we've already tabulated the results from the Republican candidates' own homes? They even counted those votes twice!


Things started to get fishy when shortly after midnight Marco Rubio started wondering aloud on Twitter why his Senate colleague Bill Nelson wouldn't just lie down and die already. "C'mon, let's pull the plug already! The old man's costing this family a fortune!"

This wasn't like when Donald Trump spanked Rubio in his own state's primary. That was called in seconds because Trump won pretty much everywhere and even tied in Rubio's own residence. Barely a percentage point separated Nelson and Scott, and there were still votes outstanding. Those are the "legitimate reasons" for waiting to concede.

Palm Beach, Broward and Duval counties still hadn't finished counting all of their ballots by Wednesday afternoon. The first two are areas Hillary Clinton carried by a significant margin in 2016. And most counties hadn't counted all provisional and overseas mail ballots. A cautious approach seemed reasonable. But the media and the antsy like to declare victories early and set their narratives, even when they might prove wrong.

Scott declared himself the winner Tuesday night and probably rocked the casbah "new Senator-style" but both actions might've been premature. His lead kept decreasing and soon dropped below the threshold that automatically triggered a recount. Someone call Woody Harrelson's agent to block out time for the eventual movie.

Scott didn't like this turn of events, because he's done with governor-ing and wants to get busy rubber stamping Trump's right-wing judges. He announced Thursday night that his campaign had sued the Democratic elections supervisors of Broward and Palm Beach Counties (he was cool with Duval for some reason). He also requested the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which kinda reports to him, investigate them because that's not at all sleazy.

"The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency, and the supervisors are failing to give it to us," Mr. Scott said. "Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward Counties."

"We've all seen the incompetence and irregularities in vote tabulations in Broward and Palm Beach for years," he added, "but here we go again. I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida."

"Basically, this state I've run for almost a decade is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Please make me your senator." Also, sir, the race is virtually tied. It's not really theft when half the state wants a different result. This is more an acrimonious divorce. Scott went on to single out Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes, whom he claimed "has a history of acting in bad faith." Right-wing rags have already pointed to incidents where Snipes "illegally destroyed" ballots. Shockingly, this is not entirely true. A judge ruled that Snipes had destroyed prematurely in the 2016 primary race between Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova. But there was no evidence of malicious intent and all the ballots had been counted in Wasserman Schultz's decisive victory. She "mistakenly" destroyed the physical ballots after a year, the standard for state elections, rather than the required 22 months for federal elections. And yes, there were scanned digital copies.

But that is enough for conservatives to believe Snipes is part of some conspiracy to "steal" the Senate election from Scott. Rubio went full Lindsey Graham temper tantrum on Twitter Thursday, announcing a "Long but IMPORTANT THREAT ON ELECTIONS IN #FLORIDA." I assume he meant "thread" but he was getting ahead of himself about the existential "threat" of counting every vote cast in an election.

Rubio snarkily tweeted that "Bay County was hit by a Cat 4 Hurricane just 4 weeks ago, yet managed to count votes & submit timely results. Yet over 41 hours after polls closed Broward elections office is still counting votes?" Maybe a hurricane hit Rubio's brain as well, because Bay County has a population of 178,361 and cast an estimated 63,768 votes. Broward County has a population of two million and cast an estimated 707,223 votes. Can you count, Senator?

Yeah, it's taking a long time. This is not unprecedented, of course. As recently as 2012, it took forever to call Florida for Obama, who also was ahead by less than a percentage point. Most news sources didn't even declare Obama the winner until the Friday after the election. Because Florida was ultimately superfluous to the outcome of the presidential race by that point, there were fewer complaints or demands for instant political gratification. It's worth reminding folks that Florida is the third largest state behind just California and Texas, both of which are generally speaking solidly blue and red so prominent statewide races rarely go down to the wire. Gavin Newsom beat his Republican opponent in the California governor's race by almost 20 points. It's safe to say it's over while folks take their time making it official.

But Li'l Marco clearly fears a scenario where Nelson wins so he's preemptively tainting the outcome while talking out of the other side of his ass about how "the last thing our already dangerously divided nation needs is an important election 1/2 our people believe was rigged by the other 1/2." Huh? Nelson voters didn't rig shit, you useless partisan hack.

Former House representative Gwen Graham, who recently lost the Democratic primary for governor, took out the Twitter switch and dragged Rubio behind the woodshed. It was beautiful.

She even referred to Rubio's rants as "Utter Trumpian BS," which perhaps inspired the president to come out this morning with his own, original recipe BS. Accept not substitutes!

"And if you look at the person, in this case a woman, involved -- she has had a horrible history," Trump said.

Sweet Christ! Women are literally people, you moron. What do you even mean with "in this case"?"

"All of a sudden they are finding votes out of nowhere," Trump said of the Senate race.

They're not "finding" votes like a common J.J. Evans. They're counting them.

"Every couple of hours, it goes down a little bit," Trump said of Scott's lead.

This can happen when you count the votes.

Trump then started connecting the recount efforts to the officials behind the "phony dossier" on him.

When Trump and Rubio are spinning the same mad conspiracy theories, you know that Bill Nelson is in good shape to keep his Senate seat. At least we hope.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins is playing NOW at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo. All Wonketters welcome.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!

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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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