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I'm a business journalist and a fiction author. My novel Mute is available now from Silver Leaf Books.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Six questions for Florida’s November elections

Florida's Aug. 26 primary (as pathetic as the turnout was) set the stage for some high stakes races in the Nov. 4 election. Here are six questions I have about those contests.

Who is the worst, dirty, baby stealing scoundrel, Charlie Crist or Rick Scott?

The campaign ads have been 99 percent negative and we’ve only begun to see the tens of millions of political dollars hit the airwaves. Medicare fraudster! Job killer! Climate change denier! Flip flopper! It would be nice to hear more about their stances on the issues and their plans to address the state’s biggest problems. But hey, that wouldn’t be any fun.

What will happen first, the Miami Dolphins make the playoffs or Rick Scott directly answers a question from a reporter?

Google “Rick Scott evades questions” or “Rick Scott dodges questions” and you’ll get hundreds of thousands of hits, including this video on MSNBC. To use an X-Men analogy, he’s the Nightcrawler of answering questions. Poof, he’s gone. When he does reply, it’s often like he’s reciting a script and he’s ignoring the question. 

Could Crist be hauled in for an embarrassing deposition during campaign season?

Florida’s lawsuit against Digital Domain and the executives of the failed company aims to recover $20 million in taxpayer dollars, but Scott wouldn’t mind if it puts Crist in hot water as well. It was Crist’s bright idea when he was governor to award this unproven company taxpayer dollars up front when its finances were a mess. It’s likely Crist will be called for a deposition, and it would sure be a shame if that got picked up by the press.

Will stoners light up the ballot boxes?

The medical marijuana amendment has strong support in opinion polling, but the 60 percent vote it needs for passage is a high bar, pardon my pun. This measure might increase youth and liberal turnout, which is exactly what Crist and the Democrats are hoping for. Forget oranges, Florida is about to have a new cash crop.

Are gay marriage opponents in for a rude awakening?

Few issues have seen a rapid swing in public opinion like gay marriage, with polls showing that a majority of Floridians now support it. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi  has aggressively battled every lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex unions and she’s proud of it, issuing all kinds of press releases touting her stance. Democratic opponent George Sheldon would have the state drop its fight and support these unions. If supporters of same-sex marriage take out their frustrations on Bondi at the ballot box, she could be in trouble. Still, she has a huge fundraising advantage. 

Will incumbent members of Congress be punished for their slacker ways?

If you had any employee as unproductive as this Congress has been, I bet you’d fire their asses. In a world full of crises in need of urgent action, Congress bickers and stalls and bickers some more. Often times, people blame representatives in other districts, not their hometown hero. Yet, if this is a job evaluation based on “what have you done for me lately”, I see a lot of zeros on the board.

I’d ask a question about the races in the Florida Legislature, but those districts are gerrymandered so bad that most "contests" aren’t competitive. That last sentence could have been written 100 years ago.