Bolting the GOP in Florida

Bolting the GOP in Florida

Bolting the GOP in Florida

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 3 2011 4:26 PM

Bolting the GOP in Florida

The trend in the South is for Democratic legislators to realize how completely doomed they are and run over to the GOP. So this stands out.

Former GOP state Sen. Nancy Argenziano says she will run for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat. Argenziano will seek the District 2 seat in North Florida now held by freshman Republican Steve Southerland, who unseated longtime Democrat Allen Boyd in November 2010.

This isn't as big as it seems at first, because Argenziano served in the Crist administration and worked for the Democratic candidate for governor against Rick Scott -- although lots of Republicans had problems with Rick Scott. Her rationale for leaving the party makes you wonder how she ever was a Republican.

We know that Washington is broken. We have seen our representatives vote to end common sense protections that ensure clean air and clean water, pass the Ryan plan which proposed to gut Social Security and end Medicare, put the full faith and credit of America in doubt for the first time in history, and vote against protecting America's wildlife from extinction, among other steps backward into the 16th century. These efforts have sent America down a dangerous path. It's time for knowledgeable, reasoned Americans to take charge and lead... The Republican Party has left me, and I will run as a Democrat, in a sense permitting a claim to ultimate bipartisanship, along the lines of Ronald Reagan. The current iteration of the party abandoned real republican principles long ago to cater to ideologues and corporations – the Koch entities, most notably – whose interests lie in the profiteering of America and the sacking of the middle class. Current Republican leaders have neither patience with nor allowance for honest elected officials, and they demand that members of the various legislatures – who, after all, have sworn to uphold the Constitution – instead just follow the hijacked party line and shut up.

A new Crist in the making! Her chances of victory have everything to do with what comes out of a legal battle over the state's voter-passed redistricting reform. Florida votes roughly 50-50 at the presidential level; last year's gubernatorial race was 50/50. And yet the state sends 18 Republicans and only 7 Democrats to the House, because of the grand bargain between Republicans who want safe districts and black Democrats who want even safer ones. The prime mover in the lawsuit, Corrine Brown, gets to represent a district that combines most of the black parts of the Jacksonville area, the Orlando area, and central Florida into a unit that voted 3-1 for Obama over McCain. It looks like this.


I know, right? If Florida's broken back up into even districts, this candidacy will be worth watching -- an angry progressive Republican versus a Tea Partier.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.