Divided We Stand
Divided We Stand
As promised, I am sharing my votes (and the general reasoning behind them) for Governor and U.S. Senator. I’ll address down-ballot and amendments separately.
U.S. Senator: Bill Nelson
While I can look at the tenure of Rick Scott as governor as generally “not bad,” he happened to come in at a time when the economy could only get better. Florida grew at a little bit faster pace than the U.S. economy as a whole, but we had significant tailwinds—thousands of miles of coastline, beautiful year-round weather, low taxes, and a richly diverse population—that make Florida already-prosperous in many ways. So, I don’t credit Scott for more than not screwing things up. The negatives are pretty overwhelming, not the least of which is his alignment with the feckless Trump agenda. We still question his ethics; his general disregard for environmental issues—our greatest state asset is our geography, after all—has left the shorelines littered and endangered at the very time he could have made a difference.
Bill Nelson is a national hero of unarguable integrity. He has served the nation as a slightly-better-than-mediocre, but nonetheless-principled Senator. Right now, more than ever before, we need men of integrity in Washington. More importantly, we need to maintain divided government as a check on the more extreme parts of the Trump agenda. If our goal is to continue growing the economy, we know that Democrats will continue to support Trump’s borrow-and-spend policies that have fueled our current economic growth (I doubt Scott would stand up to it any more than Nelson would). We need Democrats in Washington as a check on Trump’s more ridiculous actions. We’ve already sufficiently stacked the courts with conservatives and a divided government will force Trump (who, really, is more interested in “winning” than any guiding ideology) to behave in a way less panderingly to our Party’s extremes. I am in no way aligned to Trump and if this means that he remains under investigation for the next two years, so be it. Hopefully it will lead to a 2020 primary and the nomination of a Republican I can be proud of.
Florida Governor: Rick DeSantis
A few weeks ago, I published my lament over the lack of a center in our choices for governor. I don’t think either of our candidates is qualified. One is unqualified because he’s a brash and ill-tempered political opportunist more beholden to Washington than he is to Tallahassee. The other is unqualified because he’s likely-corrupt, slick-talking, and more beholden to what he wants Washington to look like than he is to his own town of Tallahassee. Gillum is no Obama or Bob Graham. DeSantis is no W or Jeb!.
Both DeSantis and Gillum represent everything I despise about the current Populist incursion into our national politics. Call me old-fashioned.
I still believe that many of the issues that Gillum has latched onto can be addressed by policies that support a growing economy. Upward wage pressures will continue to increase as the unemployment rate continues to be low. Competitive taxes will continue to invite investment. Economic pressure from core constituencies will force the next governor—pressured by an active legislature—to address rising sea levels and fish kills. Gillum’s proposed solutions to these issues are flat backward from how I think effective policies would work.
DeSantis will screw things up the less of the two. He, at least, knows how to sound like a conservative even if we know he is a feckless Trumper. An active legislature will force further innovations in how we provide healthcare to Floridians. I am not worried that DeSantis would single-handedly roll back any of the identity-group-right-protections that have already been baked into our state’s socially-forward-thinking culture.
Gillum has a fundamental misunderstanding of economics and would create significant headwinds against our economic base. Gillum, I’m equally afraid, will do nothing to raise the ethical quality of our highest profile elected officials. DeSantis may not be squeaky clean, but is not on the fringes (at best) of FBI investigations.
I will vote for Dems for the state legislature and hope, just like in the Federal election, that divided government will slow the Trumpist—nationalist, un-principled, centrally authoritarian—roll over the state.
The best long play we have is the slow and methodical, difficult and wrought work that divided government will ensure until we can turn the page on this terrible, national political moment.