“People in Volusia County are pretty disengaged,” a Floridian commented to me. “They are a just a lot of people around here who don’t give a damn about politics.” She was surprised to hear that anybody even cared enough to shoot up the local GOP office. Someone on Monday morning fired four bullets into the windows of the Volusia County Republican Party’s offices in South Daytona Beach.
I was surprised too. When I walked around the Volusia Mall in a MAGA hat earlier in the month, no one seemed to care in the slightest and a few people smiled approvingly at the hat or expressed support for Trump’s policies.
President Trump takes a special interest in the state that houses some of his premier properties. He dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to Florida last week to lend a hand to the DeSantis campaign, and this week on Wednesday night appeared near Fort Myers for a rally. DeSantis looks like he needs Trump’s help more than Rick Scott, whose can-do industriousness makes him a more appealing candidate than over-the-hill Bill Nelson. The national media is obviously working overtime to try and elect socialist con man Andrew Gillum. Unfortunately, DeSantis isn’t a terribly effective campaigner. Trump tried to give him a boost, and it looks like the unflashy DeSantis is now making more use of his winsome wife, who stood between him and Trump on the stage during the rally.
Trump’s pitch against Gillum was livelier than DeSantis’s. Gillum will turn Florida into “Venezuela,” warned Trump. “He is a radical socialist who is too extreme for Florida,” he continued. “He will be a wrecking ball.”
Trump ripped into the media, calling it once again an “enemy of the people.” He noted the media’s latest outrage: its lying about his plan to “violate the Constitution” on birthright citizenship (as one of CNN’s banner headlines asserted for hours). That Trump holds a different view of the Constitution than, say, Don Lemon is of course never permitted as a possibility. No, he is “defying the Constitution,” declare Jeff Zucker’s propagandists, as if only one constitutional view on the matter exists. Never mind that an originalist reading of the Constitution (with its reference to those subject to the “jurisdiction” of the United States, thereby excluding those in the country temporarily, such as tourists and diplomats) gives Trump’s view ballast.
The media’s wan interest in the shattered windows at the headquarters for the Volusia County GOP testifies to Trump’s point about its hopeless bias. Had bullets been fired into Dem headquarters in Volusia Country, media hordes would be camped out in Daytona Beach, searching high and low for the perp. But since the story only involves violence directed at the dreaded GOP, journalists can’t be bothered to exert themselves. Given the light coverage, most Americans probably don’t even know that an anti-GOP shooting occurred.
The media has turned itself into an arm of the Gillum campaign, peddling the line that the reason for the paucity of Democratic governors since the early 1990s in Florida is due to the party fielding “centrist” candidates instead of proudly progressive ones. But if that is the case, why didn’t Hillary win the state? She is as much of an Alinskyite grifter as Gillum. Why didn’t she excite progressive Floridians?
Even in liberal Tampa, store owners shrug at the memory of her run. Hillary for some reason thought it a good idea to campaign in the section of Tampa called Ybor City, once the cigar-making capital of the world and still home to many cigar stores. Her campaigning there went over like a lead balloon. “We put up a Trump sign,” recalls the manager at one of those stores. Business improved, he said. Had Hillary won, she would have put him out of business. He says the Trump economy has been a boon for his store. “We have never done such good business,” he said.
Unlike New York City, where Bill de Blasio is trying to kill cigar bars and stores by disallowing the sale of cigars under the price of $8 and by pushing other restrictions, Tampa still permits the sale of cigars at a low price. As a socialist scold, Gillum disapproves. He holds the progressive view that smoking is very dangerous indeed, unless, of course, the smoking entails pot, in which case it is suddenly no big deal. The Democrats are at once anti-cigars and pro-pot, and Gillum is counting on young Floridians who smoke the latter at colleges and universities dotted across the state to blow him to victory.