As of Friday, Florida hospitals had been treating some 17,000 COVID-19 sufferers, together with greater than 3,550 in intensive care, in accordance with tallies by the Washington Post. The necessity for oxygen to deal with sufferers has turn out to be so dire in some areas that Orlando officers implored residents Friday to preserve water in an effort to protect the liquid oxygen utilized in water remedy.
On the identical time, heated disputes over masking in colleges are erupting as kids return to high school and thousands of students and staff have already been compelled to both isolate or quarantine. DeSantis himself helped stoke the masks fury by banning faculty districts from requiring common masking—the one out there line of protection for youths below 12 and too younger to get the vaccine. When some faculty districts revolted by issuing masks mandates anyway, DeSantis threatened to dock the pay of college officers who applied mandates. Not less than 5 of Florida’s 67 faculty districts have now defied DeSantis’ ban, together with the state’s largest and second largest districts, Miami-Dade and Broward.
Whereas his state convulses with chaos, nervousness, sickness, and loss of life, DeSantis is fortunately preening and punishing for the cameras.
On Friday, DeSantis’ handpicked Board of Education announced faculty officers in Broward and Alachua counties—two of the primary to implement masks mandates—would lose their salaries except they reversed their masking coverage within the subsequent couple days. The menace very properly might not shake their resolve, as both President Biden and citizen activists have pledged to make up for any shortfall in funding.
Politically, taking punitive motion towards faculty districts that mandate masks is an abysmal transfer, with just 22% of Americans supporting the concept. However what’s a GOP 2024 hopeful to care when Fox Information is salivating to offer him primetime slots whilst he ensures COVID-19 will inflict maximal injury on his constituents. The truth is, a lengthy investigative report by the Tampa Bay Occasions discovered that DeSantis had scheduled extra conferences with Fox’s Sean Hannity within the first half of 2021 than together with his personal lieutenant governor. In the meantime, the governor has didn’t schedule even a single one-on-one assembly this 12 months with Surgeon Basic Scott Rivkees, the state’s prime public well being official, in accordance with the Tampa Bay Occasions piece.
DeSantis clearly has the Fox sweepstakes tied up and due to this fact nothing else issues to him, not even anguish and loss of life in his state. It is a dodgy political wager for a man who beat his Democratic challenger in 2018 by lower than half a degree, 49.6% – 49.2%, and Democrats are desperate to capitalize on it.
Two Democratic candidates for governor, Rep. Charlie Crist (who’s additionally the state’s former governor) and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, have been ripping DeSantis’ handling of the surge. This week, Crist launched a “5 determine” statewide advert purchase together with two counties that applied masks mandates.
“Florida leads the nation in new Covid instances, jammed hospitals and deaths,” Crist says in the ad. “And now Ron DeSantis desires to defund colleges the place they’re asking children to put on a masks.”
This week, political journalists spent an inordinate period of time flogging President Biden for the chaotic and tragic scenes streaming out of Afghanistan. The rapidly evolving humanitarian disaster there and big U.S. evacuation effort is a vital story, little question. However amongst reporters favourite issues to do was to play a clip of Biden claiming a number of weeks in the past there was “no circumstance” through which individuals can be airlifted off a U.S. embassy as they had been in Saigon on the finish of Vietnam. “It isn’t in any respect comparable,” Biden insisted in an early July press convention. Then journalists would instantly minimize to the anguished crowds in Kabul on the Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport.
In the beginning of this week, I argued the subsequent a number of weeks of stories out of Afghanistan could possibly be brutal for Biden politically however that Democrats should stay focused on the president’s home agenda because it may possible be among the many most consequential points in 2022.
The story in Afghanistan is way from over and it is unattainable to know at this level the way it will finish and what narratives will finally prevail in voters’ minds. The problem will virtually actually be litigated within the 2024 presidential race, however greater than possible subsequent 12 months’s midterms will likely be dominated by the pandemic and economic-related issues.
In necessary swing states like Arizona and Florida—the place governors’ intentionally put children in hurt’s technique to rating political factors—their abysmal pandemic insurance policies will get prime billing. Floridians can get able to see quite a lot of advertisements with DeSantis declaring, “We have succeeded” and celebrating victories for “freedom” towards a backdrop of raucous faculty board conferences, rising coronavirus infections, and youngsters engulfed in a maze of tubes in Florida ICUs. The truth is, a fast evaluation of the digital entrance pages of stories retailers in South Florida, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville reveals not a single story about Afghanistan. All however considered one of them led with a pandemic associated story (tropical storm Henri acquired prime billing within the Orlando Sentinel), and so they all included at the very least one story impugning DeSantis, resembling, “Ron DeSantis’ colossal COVID-19 gamble: colleges, vaccinations, masks—and his political future” or “Florida’s COVID deaths climb as kids lead state in positivity charge.”
DeSantis is not solely a wicked narcissist, he appears to have forgotten the pandemic sunk Donald Trump, who additionally acquired so hopped up on Fox Information bluster that he assumed he was politically invincible.