You don’t become the nation’s oldest newspaper by turning up your nose at technical innovations. So, when it comes to new wrinkles, we’re old hands. We also try to live up to that old yankee creed, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” So, to conserve scarce resources such as editorial brain power, we rely on an AI algorithm to select the topic for our Fortnightly Rant.
This time around, it spit out this: “the 2024 Presidential Election.” Naturally, the first thought that sprung to mind was…
Well, it wasn’t really a thought, it was more of a groan. Two groans, actually. One in self-pity, as we strapped on the waders to descend yet again into that fetid, too-familiar sewer. And one in sympathy for our poor, long-suffering readers—presuming that any of them will still follow.
We briefly considered touting a Constitutional Amendment that would strip away all power from the Chief Executive, on the theory that, were it thus neutered, that increasingly troublesome office would wither away.
That scheme evaporated faster than you can say Anthony Scaramucci. Even if such a change were to somehow take place—which, leaving aside the dubious merits of the proposal, would presuppose a functioning government capable of voting the amendment up or down—the vast schools of insatiable lampreys now attached to the executive office would simply detach themselves and hasten to wherever the power went.
Alas, it is no use. No feckless fretting, nor deus ex machina, will rid us of this troublesome topic. The 2024 Presidential Election looms, and amongst the contestants are three—possibly four—Florida men.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
We’ll begin with the Governor, in honor of the office if not the man. After three terms as a Congressman, Ron DeSantis won the Governorship in 2018. His margin of victory was a mere 0.39 percent of the total vote—yet more evidence that every vote counts.
In 2022, it was another story entirely. As an incumbent, DeSantis beat Democrat Charlie Crist like a rented mule—or perhaps a Guantanamo detainee. DeSantis got nearly 60 percent, Crist barely made 40. So: DeSantis’s term runs until 2027. This is where things get interesting.
Florida has a “resign-to-run” law: if you hold one elected office, you can’t run for another—at least, not until you resign from the first.
Unless, apparently, you’re Ron DeSantis. In April, the GOP-dominated legislature passed a bill that, among other things, created an exemption in the “resign-to-run” law: incumbent office holders may now run for president or vice president. How convenient.
“But…but…but,” a stickler for law and order might sputter in indignation, “DeSantis announced his candidacy a month ago. That new bill doesn’t become law until July 1st.”
Don’t underestimate the brazenness of Florida GOP. Most of the law doesn’t take effect until July 1st. The DeSantis Exception was written so as to take effect immediately upon being signed by the beneficiary, who, by strange coincidence, happens to be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Though he is inexplicably popular in his home state, polls show DeSantis running a distant second in the GOP primary. Perhaps it takes a Florida Man to fully appreciate a Florida Man.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez
When Francis Suarez announced his candidacy on June 15th, the nation spoke as one: “Who?”
It’s not that Miami is some obscure hamlet. It’s that no Mayor has ever gone directly to the Oval Office. Buffalonian Grover Cleveland came the closest, and he detoured through Albany as Governor of New York. An unlikely career track ought to be the least of Suarez’s worries, though.
Within his own bailiwick, name recognition is Suarez’s birthright. His father Xavier was mayor four times. His last term was cut short, though, after a judge ruled too many dead people had voted—some via absentee ballots witnessed by an “F. Suarez.” Francis has denied any wrongdoing.
Suarez has proposed abolishing taxes in Miami. The missing revenue would instead be conjured up via block chain, in a scheme dubbed MiamiCoin. One MiamiCoin is currently worth $0.000163.
Senator Rick Scott
Senator Rick Scott [R-Fla.] has not yet announced that he’s running for president, but on Tuesday, he did the next best thing.
In a video posted on Twitter, Scott said, “Let me give you a travel warning. If you’re a socialist, communist, somebody that believes in big government, I would think twice—think twice—if you’re thinking about taking a vacation or moving to Florida. … We like freedom, liberty, capitalism—things like that.”
This may be the funniest, least self-aware thing anyone has ever said. If all the Social Security recipients were to leave Florida, there’d be nothing left but sun-baked ghost towns.
And without Medicare and Medicaid—which the Senator’s for-profit health care company Columbia/HCA was fined $1.8 billion for defrauding—it’s unlikely he’d be enjoying his current net worth—about a quarter of a billion dollars.
Former President Donald Trump
For our grand…no, make that grotesque finale, we turn to the bankrupt casino owner, failed airline promoter, fake college founder, former steak peddler, known tax cheat, suspected money launderer, and former leerer at beauty pageant contestants; the one and only, El Supremo himself, to this day certainly the most famous ketchup-hurler of all time, the One True Florida Man among Florida Men, Donald John Trump.
Say what you will about this bloated and deranged buffoon—for all his obvious malfeasances, he has yet to spend a night behind bars.
This, despite the fact that every week some new item is added to the mountain of existing evidence. If it isn’t some snippet of a voice recording, it’s a tweet from the Miscreant-in-Chief himself. You can tell it’s authentic—it’s IN ALL CAPS AND MISSPEALED!!! WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!