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What if the GOP threw a party to celebrate their bigly amazing presidential nominee, and no one showed up? Oof, how embarrassing! Wouldn't it be just terrible if the Republican National Convention turned out to be a humiliating disaster like Trump's Tulsa rally?

Just last month, Commander Tantrum blew up two years of work planning his convention in must-win North Carolina when the state refused to guarantee him a full-capacity hall with no mask or social distancing requirements. The RNC had already raised and spent $38 million for the Charlotte event, and they had to start all over again in Jacksonville thanks to that ranting loon. Just weeks before the convention, they were back to square one, except worse. Because four weeks ago is when Trump's poll numbers started to look irreparably dire and Florida's COVID numbers entered their terrifying spike.

"How'd ya like to make a six- or seven-figure donation to a dying campaign and guarantee yourself primo access at a superspreader event in a COVID hotspot?" is a tough pitch for convention planners.


"I don't want to encourage people getting sick," GOP megadonor Stanley S. Hubbard told the New York Times. The Minnesota billionaire has donated $2 million to Republicans since 2016, including $25,000 to RNC convention planners in 2018, but has reservations about plunking down cash for a party during a pandemic.

"Unless this thing goes away, I think it's a bad choice," he said.

And indeed this thing doesn't look to be going away, and certainly not in Florida. Trump's buddy Ron DeSantis is stepping on every rake in the state, which would he hilarious except that he's the governor tasked with leading 22 million Floridians through this pandemic and he's made exactly the wrong decision at every turn. With the state's COVID tests showing a positivity rate above 15 percent and upwards of 6,000 new cases per day, DeSantis issued an emergency edict Monday ordering all schools to open up full time next month.

Yesterday he hosted a news conference at the Miami Medical Center, without disclosing to reporters that it was currently being used to house COVID-19 patients. The Miami Herald reports that, "Masked medical personnel walked back and forth behind reporters, some wearing head coverings and gowns." But it's fine, you guys, because the governor's people took temperatures and offered hand sanitizer before crowding reporters together into a scrum to listen to an unmasked DeSantis explain that there was so much info being released by the health department that it didn't matter he wasn't revealing hospitalization data.

"They have so much raw data on there," he told reporters. "It's really incredible ... people do the charts and the graphs and everything. That's all available for folks and they are able to do it."

Oddly enough, this did not mollify reporters, who continued to pressure the governor until he abruptly ended the press conference and stormed out.

Meanwhile DeSantis extended the state emergency for 60 days, and Jacksonville still has a mask requirement and a cap on indoor capacity at 50 percent. Which means that Trump will only be able to host 7,500, not 15,000, if the ban is still in force on August 24 when the red team gets together for one last hurrah before the blue tsunami crashes over them. (OMG, Cook Political moved Georgia to tossup in the presidential election this morning!)

But cramming all those people into the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville may not be such a problem after all. The RSVPs are coming in, and the "no" pile is climbing. Five Republican senators have already noped out — Grassley, Alexander, Collins, Murkowski, and Romney — and we wouldn't put down a deposit on Richard Burr's hotel room, since he's currently under investigation by the Justice Department and and is persona non grata with the president for not shitcanning that report saying Russia tried to help get him elected.

Which is probably for the best, since that's six fewer rubber chicken dinners the RNC has to shell out for when they're totally strapped for cash. Anyway, good luck with your party, Gippers! It's sure to be a rager ... or something.

[NYT / Miami Herald / Florida Politics Blog]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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