You’d think that in twelve years we would have learned something. Anything.
Like how to conduct an election.
As I write this on Wednesday evening – 24 hours removed from Election Day – Florida still has not committed itself one way or the other to either Obama or Romney.
As of Wednesday morning, the TV networks’ election maps of the nation showed all the other 49 either red or blue. On one map, Florida was the lone state among them not yet shaded either color. Just gray.
On another network, we were yellow.
Somehow an appropriate color. A state too “yella” to vote right.
NBC’s coverage on Tuesday night featured a giant map of the country emblazoned on the famous ice rink outside its Rockefeller Center headquarters. As Brian Williams called Nevada for Obama – one of the last remaining states to declare – viewers saw a team of workers lay a large blue sheet in the shape of Nevada down upon the ice and squeegee it into place.
That ice could conceivably melt and spring could return before Florida ever decides.
But never mind. On Wednesday evening’s NBC Nightly News, the map was gone from the ice rink. Florida’s sheet never got to be squeegeed into place. Whatever color it was.
During a BBC morning news show, an American political analyst ensured that Florida was not regarded as just a national embarrassment but an international one as well when he mentioned that the Sunshine State had yet to declare its results. He specifically referred to us – Miami-Dade County – as the lone holdouts.
We can’t blame frazzled, blue-haired geezers in Palm Beach County mistaking Pat Buchanan for Al Gore on their butterfly ballots this time, folks. This time, it’s Miami-Dade’s doing.
At least this time, the presidential contest doesn’t hinge upon whether or not Florida can count its votes accurately, or on time. The race was already decided by Ohio, and America, spared a 37-day wait caused by you-know-what-state, was able to go to bed Tuesday night knowing who its president would be.
The rest of America couldn’t give a rat’s ass about what our final results are or if we ever get around to declaring them. We’re barely an afterthought to the rest of the country. They’ve come to expect this of us. This is the norm for us, screwing up elections.
But here’s where you can also assign the blame:
Slicky Ricky and his band of crooked, conniving, cold-hearted co-conspirators in the GOP-dominated State Legislature.
I thought it quite curious that our worst-excuse-of-a-governor-ever – whose unpopularity stinks so bad even he smells it – has been largely absent from the political scene this year, absent from the GOP convention in Tampa, absent from the Romney campaign trail through the Sunshine State, absent from the side of his party’s presidential nominee, and absent on Election Night.
I never heard his name mentioned once in any network’s election coverage. Never saw him asked for his response to the voting, the results – anything.
He’s become the Invisible Governor: We know we have one, we just never see him. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)
He knows he’s so toxic that he at least has the gracious magnanimity to spare other politicos any exposure to him, lest they be tainted by his toxicity.
That helps explains why we never saw him at Romney’s side throughout this fall. Either he had the good sense not to ask to join Romney on the hustings, or Romney and his people purposefully ignored him. I suspect it was a little of both.
Yes, blame Slicky Ricky and the GOP Legislature. They abbreviated early voting. They loaded nearly a dozen state constitutional amendments – most of which were ultimately rejected by state voters anyway – onto the ballot, adding to the long lines and wait times.
Rick and the Republitards pulled out of their playbooks everything they could deviously muster to try to depress the numbers of Democrat-voting minorities. From sheering the state’s voter registration rolls on the premise that they were stamping out (relatively non-existent) voter fraud to frontloading the ballot with lengthy, time-consuming amendments that might scare prospective voters into abandoning the voting lines, and giving up and going home, the Tally Terrors hoped they might thus stunt the Democratic turnout and boost Romney’s chances to bag the state’s 29 electoral votes.
They never said outright that this was their scheme. They didn’t have to.
Trouble for them is, people weren’t scared off. They endured the lines. They cast their votes, some after hours of waiting. They weren’t intimidated by Rick and the Republitards.
In spite of Rick, they came out and voted down nearly all the amendments. They came out to help reelect a Democratic president.
January will mark the half-way mark of Rick Scott’s horrendous first term. We are half-way to the 2014 election in which voters will have a chance to render their verdict on his deplorable record. Given his complicity in helping Florida continue its shame as a state that seemingly doesn’t know how to conduct an election, there will be a lot of Floridians turning out to the polls in November 2014 who won’t forgive or forget his role as a mucker-upper in this election.
Maybe then our Invisible Governor will be made to disappear for good.