Backed by a supermajority in the Legislature and led by a governor who restricted how racial history is taught in public schools with the declaration “Florida is where woke goes to die,” the former chair of the state Republican Party filed a bill Tuesday to kill the Florida Democratic Party.
Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, was 6 -1 in statewide races as party chair 2015-19, and now seeks to accomplish legislatively what he could not do at the ballot box – remove Democrats entirely from Florida politics.
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SB 1248 never mentions the word Democrat or Democratic, but “the Ultimate Cancel Act,” said Ingoglia in a prepared statement, would decertify any political party that ever included a plank to support slavery in its platform, something the Democratic Party did between 1844 – 1864.
Ingoglia said the legislation is in response to leftist activists that have called for removal of statutes and renaming of buildings because of “things” they said or did.
“Some people want to have uncomfortable conversations about certain subjects. Let’s have those conversations,” he said.
Is Ingoglia trolling his political opposition that was trounced in the 2022 elections? He did not immediately return a phone call seeking clarification of SB 1248.
Democrats contacted Tuesday were either reluctant to respond to something they viewed as patently and ridiculously unconstitutional or used the provocation to discuss the Republican record.
Ryan Ray, chair of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee, described Ingoglia’s proposal as a “carnival barker studio wrestling” approach to policy making.
“The party of the January 6 insurrection has no place circumscribing the choices of Florida voters,” said Ray. If approved, Ray predicted, “this will result in more heinously expensive litigation bills that the taxpayers will be forced to foot again.”
Republican measures on how race and sex are taught in schools, curtailment of voting rights, elimination of minority access congressional districts, and restriction on abortions have all led to lawsuits.
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Congress approved the Communist Control Act of 1954, which effectively prevented members of the Communist Party from holding certain elected offices, but federal court later declared it unconstitutional.
Ingoglia would decertify the Florida Democratic Party for siding with the Confederacy and move its current members to no-party affiliation registration. Of the 13 politicspanl pspanrties registered with the Secretspanry of Stspante, Ingoglia’s measure seems to apply only to the Florida Democratic Party – 11 of the parties (other than the GOP and Democrats) organized after 1985.
Democrat, ‘Dixiecrats’ and the GOP
Democrats included pro-slavery planks in numerous platforms leading up to the Civil War, during which Florida adopted a pro-slavery constitution and tried to secede from the United States.
Southern Democrats then became the leading defenders of segregation in Washington D.C., and state legislatures until President Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat, championed voting and civil rights legislation in the 1960s – telling his press secretary Bill Moyers after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, “Well, I think we may have lost the south for your lifetime – and mine.”
Known in the press as “Dixiecrats,” Southern Democrats migrated to the GOP.
Today, Moyers is 88 and still living, while Republicans are governors of nine of the 11 former states of the Confederacy and have control of the legislatures in 10.
Fried hears a dictator’s wakeup call
Nikki Fried, the former Commissioner of Agriculture and only Democrat to win a statewide election when Ingoglia was the GOP chair, now leads state Democrats and ran out of -isms in describing a proposal she said was inspired by communism, socialism and fascism.
“This is what a dictator does. A dictator goes after those who oppose his policies. Those who stand in his way of ultimate power,” said Fried, who served on the Florida Cabinet for four years with DeSantis as the chair.
“This has to be a wakeup call to Americans of what is in store if Ron DeSantis is successful in a presidential bid,” said Fried.
The Florida Legislature – both Republicans and drastically outnumbered Democrats – convenes its 2023 session March 7.