An Op-Ed in the NY Times believe’s so…..
Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, likes to do stunts. It is a key part of how he’s built his reputation as a fighter for conservative causes — a reputation he hopes to ride to the White House.
We saw one of those stunts this week when, using a promise of assistance, he lured several dozen Venezuelan asylum seekers onto a pair of planes in Texas and sent them to Martha’s Vineyard. According to NPR, “The migrants said a woman they identified as ‘Perla’ approached them outside the shelter and lured them into boarding the plane, saying they would be flown to Boston where they could get expedited work papers.”
The conceit of this dehumanizing bit of political theater was that the liberal denizens of Martha’s Vineyard would reject the migrants out of hypocrisy, thus proving that Democrats aren’t actually interested in welcoming immigrants into their communities. To DeSantis and his amen corner, asylum seekers are disposable, and they believe that liberals will want to dispose of them too.
What happened, instead, was that residents of Martha’s Vineyard rallied to provide food, shelter, clothing and services. The asylum seekers are now on their way to Cape Cod, to receive further assistance.
The stunt failed to make its intended point….
And looking back at the last decade or so of Republican presidential contests, it would not be the first time that a vaunted conservative fighter fell flat on his face when he finally took a swing at prime time.
Democrat Charlie Crist, who is challenging DeSantis, on Saturday rushed out a new digital ad targeting Hispanics and the Venezuelan community as part of a six-figure buy pounding DeSantis over his attention-getting move.
“From a Miami perspective, it’s a huge mistake,” said state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Democrat challenging incumbent Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.). “All these Republicans — including my opponent — historically talk about socialism and communism and that we are standing up to these horrible dictators. The migrants are fleeing exactly what Republicans say they are fighting against.”
Florida Republicans in recent years have made it a priority to court Venezuelan Americans, many of whom fled their home country in the past decade amid the political and economic turmoil under Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chávez. It’s a story that has parallels to Cuban Americans — a crucial bloc of support for the GOP — who left their country to escape communism.
The Venezuelan American community in Florida remains a relatively small but growing slice of voters in Florida. Recent estimates have said that there are at least 200,000 Venezuelans in the state.
But on Wednesday, DeSantis facilitated two flights to carry a group of roughly 50 Venezuelan and Colombian migrants to Martha’s Vineyard as part of a push by DeSantis to draw attention to the border policies of President Joe Biden. Many of the migrants are presumed to be seeking asylum after fleeing Venezuela. Some of the migrants told media outlets and immigration activists that they were misled about where they were going. DeSantis has denied this allegation, saying those on the planes gave their consent and were given maps that explained their final destination….
DeSantis also convinced the Republican-led state Legislature to include $12 million — which is coming from interest earned off the billions provided to Florida through the American Rescue Plan — in its new budget to relocate migrants. Taddeo pointed out that she tried to amend an immigration bill this past session to include language that would prohibit the state from transporting migrants if they were trying to flee a communist or socialist country.
“I tried to warn them,” said Taddeo, who contended that many South Florida Republicans are remaining relatively quiet about what the governor did.
“They know this is absolutely toxic in Miami-Dade County because it’s showing their true colors,” she said. “All this outrage about socialism and communism — it’s all fake.”…