The Andrew Gillum/Ron DeSantis MURRRRRDER Debate, Pt. Deux!
Hello Wonks! Welcome to a very special Sunday Rundown as we cover some moments from the CNN's "The Florida Governor's Debate." Did Stephen already write this up? Well you can't over-cover a MURRRRDERRRR.
Moderated by Sunday Rundown favorite Jake Tapper, the debate was the very definition of contrast, from the calm and precise demeanor of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to the more frantic and misleading nervousness of Congressman Ron DeSantis. It was a debate in which Andrew Gillum showed why he should be the next governor of Florida. You know besides that WE LURVE HIM and RON DESANTIS SUX GOATBALLS. Highlights forthwith!
On the Environment and Energy:
DESANTIS: Well, what I said was I don't want to be an alarmist. I mean, I want to look at this and do what makes sense for Florida. What I don't want to do is do things like what Andrew wants to do which is do a California-style energy policy that will cause our electricity rates to skyrocket 20 percent, 30 percent. That's going to hurt senior citizens on a fixed income. That will hurt our blue collar workers.
First let's marvel at the gall of a Florida gubernatorial candidate not wanting to be an "alarmist" on climate change when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report details that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the Earth will face cataclysmic planetary changes by 2040, from worsening food shortages to wildfires and droughts as well as rapidly rising sea levels. Florida is already at the center of sea-level rise, toxic algae and more devastating hurricanes.
DeSantis also derided a "California-style energy policy that will cause our electricity rates to skyrocket 20 percent, 30 percent" when California's average monthly residential electricity bill in California is $88, compared to Florida's average monthly residential electricity bill of $123. (Okay, "reasons" and "math" elided for you, the grateful reader.)
TAPPER: Congressman DeSantis, you voted for the Republican health care plan in the House which would have strapped Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Do you believe insurance companies should be allowed to charge more to people who have pre-existing conditions?
DESANTIS: Pre-existing conditions should be covered in that bill. They were required to be covered. It just gave states the ability to be able to do that in a way that would lower premiums for other people. Here's what I would say as governor, if somebody somehow falls through a crack, if there's a change in law federally or court decision, I will sign a bill to take care of people with pre-existing conditions. We need to take care of those folks. But you know what? I know people in the military, families with people with pre-existing conditions who are on TRICARE. Andrew is running away from "Medicare for All," but he ran commercials in the primary saying how he was for it. "Medicare for All" takes away TRICARE. It forces military families on to a single-payer government plan. You ran a commercial saying you supported single-payer. You said you would do a single-payer confederacy with New York and California. Man, our taxes will go up and then we'll send all the money to California? That's not a good healthcare plan for Floridians. Under a single-payer plan, man, that will make the VA waiting list look like a FastPass at Disney World.
First, TRICARE is a health care program of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) Military Health System. In other words, IT IS government-run/single-payer healthcare for active military members, their families, and retired military members. This is essentially the "Keep the government out of my Medicare!" argument, only with the added usage of the hallowed military and veterans as a shield. It's also stupid to say that people will be "thrown out of Medicare" if we implement Medicare for ALL. I mean, it's in the name! DeSantis again brings up California as a nice dog whistle for his base about "sending them all the money" when in reality California is one of 14 states that gets back less than $1 for each $1 they spend in federal taxes. Florida, however, gets $5 for each $1 it sends in federal taxes. It's not just that some states are getting way more in return for their federal tax dollars, but the disproportionate amount of federal aid that some states receive allows them to keep their own taxes artificially low.
On Race in this campaign:
TAPPER: All right. So, Congressman DeSantis, let me turn to an issue that's been plaguing your campaign. One of your donors called President Barack Obama the "N" word. You denounced these comments but you did not return the money. The morning after your primary win, you said Florida voters shouldn't, quote, monkey this up by electing Mayor Gillum. You insisted your comments had nothing to do to race. But what do you say to Florida voters who have concerns about your keeping that money from that contributor, your comments and about your tolerance?
DESANTIS: Because he made a mistake, he apologized. Here's the deal. You know, you look at my record, whether it's in the military, when we're down range in Iraq, it didn't matter your race. We all wore the same uniform. We all had that American flag patch on our arm, and that was end of story. You look at me as a prosecutor, working with law enforcement, it didn't matter the race of the victim. We were there to support the race of the victim. So, Floridians can know that I'll be a governor for all Floridians.
Well, who could forget DeSantis beginning this general election with his "monkey this up" comment (we certainly won't). DeSantis also just can't quit racist donor money. DeSantis himself used to moderate a xenophobic, racist Facebook page and wrote a book that downplayed the evils of slavery, so are we really surprised? But again, DeSantis uses the military (and his service) as a shield/defense. This -- and I speak as a former active duty Marine who was deployed in Iraq and went in armed convoys a few times -- is infuriating for two very specific reasons, the first being that he was a US Navy JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer, not a combat officer. He was essentially a lawyer (like Lindsey Graham was) and, while he may have been attached to a Navy SEAL team in Iraq or a terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, he was not in combat situations or forward operations. So this usage of the term "down range" is the typical fake tough guy talk used by Republicans. Second issue is this mystical idea that racism doesn't exist in the military. The military is a microcosm of society, good or bad. While proximity to different culture and races does breed friendships among good people, it also does not erase racism or bigotry within its ranks. Look no further than former Marine general and current Chief of Staff John Kelly's treatment of Frederica Wilson and baby immigrants.
Also maybe using your overwhelming support from law enforcement in Florida to refute racism is not the strongest defense.
On Gun Control:
TAPPER: Congressman DeSantis, Republican Governor Rick Scott signed this legislation into law. You say you would have vetoed it. Why?
DESANTIS: We're going to fix it in terms of school security. I think the blanket restriction on age is going to get struck down by the courts. I'm a big supporter of the school security. I think we need to do more, and I think we have to take some of these people who are causing problems like this killer, he should have been convicted of crimes. He should have been Baker Acted. He should not have been on the streets [...] I'm going to work with our law enforcement people to identify those people who should not have access to weapons and indeed should not be on the street at all.
Sure because why save lives and have universally supported background checks to keep the guns from bad people when we can blame law enforcement (after saying how much he supports them earlier) and a mental health system DeSantis won't actually do anything about.
Please, Florida, elect Andrew Gillum over this washed-out Trump Xerox copy. On behalf of sane Floridians and the rest of the US, we are counting on you.
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