Guy Cecil is the Chairman of Priorities USA Super PAC and they are spending $150M in anti-Trump ads in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Priorities USA is concentrating on these states because they were the closest in the presidential election in 2016. Chairman Guy Cecil appeared on the Rachel Maddow show on February 24th and he predicted that Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania are the states that are undecided right now. I have replaced Wisconsin with Ohio, but we are in agreement about all but one state. As Guy Cecil is the Chairman of a $150M Super PAC, and I am just a political analyst, I’ll take it. If we use Guy Cecil’s model, the electoral college looks like this:
If you use my model, it looks like this:
You can see the electoral college totals and that the Democrats only need one state to get over there 270 electoral college threshold. One of these four states and Donald Trump is out of the White House. If Biden gets the nomination, the Democrats are going to be very competitive in Pennsylvania. If Bernie Sanders is the nominee, Florida is in jeopardy given his recent statements about Fidel Castro (positive statements about Castro don’t go over well with the Cuban population in Florida). But what if we could win both Pennsylvania and Florida? It would be extremely hard for Trump to claim fraud if the electoral college results look like this:
Is this model possible with Biden? I think so. Florida is a swing state and Biden has a huge following in Pennsylvania. Even if you give Wisconsin and Ohio to Trump, and with Michigan outstanding, Biden has 294 electoral votes. This looks increasingly possible with a recent development that no one, not even Guy Cecil, saw coming: 1.4 million new voters in the state of Florida. Where are the Democrats going to find that many votes you ask? The votes are already there and are going to be aided by a little something called Amendment 4.
During the 2018 midterm elections the state of Florida had a ballot initiative or referendum to reinstate the voting Rights of 1.6 million ex felons. Florida had instituted what was widely considered to be the disenfranchisement of felons once they were released from jail as they were not allowed to vote. Amendment 4 was supposed to do away with that. And it would have if the Republican party in the state of Florida would have listened to its residents. Rather than listen to the residents of the state,in June 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Rep.) and the Republican party passed a law that all fines and financial penalties associated with their conviction had to be paid in full before their voting rights were reinstated. Poll tax anyone?
Poll taxes were historically used against African-Americans as a way to keep them from voting. However the poll tax is not only against the law, it’s against the Constitution (you know that document that Republicans hold nearest and dearest to their hearts). On August 27th, 1962 the 24th amendment was ratified by Congress. It has two sections which read as follows:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Do you see the problem? It’s right there in Section 1. Section 1 states that a person’s right to vote shall not be denied or abridged by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax. And that brings us right back to Amendment 4. The financial penalties that ex felons in the state of Florida were being mandated to pay were not taxes, they were financial obligations owed to the state due to their conviction. Since the state of Florida wasn’t impeding the ability of ex-felons to vote because of a tax bill, but instead a fine let’s say, then it should have been okay for them to stop this community from voting. Pay your bill and you can vote. Not so fast says the courts.
A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Amendment 4 proponents, backing the more than 65% of Floridians who voted in 2018 for re-enfranchisement of formerly incarcerated Floridians. This doesn’t mean that these individuals are going to have the right to vote immediately. It also doesn’t mean that Republicans won’t use dirty tricks and disinformation to confuse this community when and if they attempt to vote. After all formerly incarcerated Floridians whose right to vote was taken from them by Republicans are very unlikely to vote for Republicans.
In the presidential election of 2016 Donald Trump received 4,617,886 votes to Clinton’s 4,504,975. That’s a difference of only 112,911 votes and that is less than 1% of the total number of ex felons who have been disenfranchised (.70% to be exact). And I am not alone. On February 21st, 2020 the New York Times published an article entitled Florida’s Voting-Rights Fight Could Tip the 2020 Election.
This is what no one saw coming. Not Guy Cecil, not the national Republican party, and certainly not the state Republican party. If we can get 1% of disenfranchised voters to vote for the Democratic nominee, we will say goodbye to Donald J. Trump in November.