Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Final 2012

Primary 2012
Voting station at Salem Lutheran Church, S.W. Orlando, FL
It's almost 9:30, the quarter moon is up high and bright, and I've just come in from a walk with the Labs. A quick check of all the news sites continues to affirm what everyone predicted would happen - Romney beat Newtorious like a drum in the Florida Republican primary.

I will, of course, reserve any predictions of future outcome based on what just happened here in Florida. Why?

Firstly, because as highly (and as richly deserved) as I think of myself, I can't foretell the future. If I could, then I'd be president, and we all know how that's worked out.

More significantly, politically speaking Florida is a big, complicated state. Florida is the forth populous state in the union, and our record shows we're the largest swing state by population. We are as prone to vote Democratic as Republican, and by very narrow margins each time, as noted by the 2000 presidential election.

Our population is a reflection of the rest of the nation, but built in reverse of US population:
  • South Florida, as represented by Miami, is mostly damn yankee and snowbird transplants.
  • North Florida, as represented by Tallahassee and Jacksonville, is mostly southern redneck due to the herds of Georgia and Alabama Deep South rednecks that tend to migrate across our common border.
  • Central Florida, as presented by the I-4 corridor, is where the two collide, and also includes that peculiar mix of California corrupt liberalism and California near-fascist conservatism in Orlando. 
  • There's also an interesting peppering of Hispanic and African American communities throughout, two burgeoning voting blocks that've been pandered to, and eventually betrayed by, both parties.
Florida is a state both parties can't take for granted and are going to have to really work hard to win in November.

Local Political Shenanigans

I didn't realize it until I heard it on NPR driving home, but there was a special referendum held along with the Republican primary to determine if the Orange County Commissioners should be allowed to grant property tax exemptions "for new businesses and expansions of existing businesses that are expected to create new, full-time jobs in the county?" The vote was yes, they could, or no, they couldn't.

I voted "No", and here are my reasons.
  1. Creating jobs in Orange County is no guarantee that Orange County residents will get those jobs. Central Florida is well known for having residents living in Daytona commuting into Orange to work. And that's just one example.
  2. Our tax base has shrunken considerably because of the real estate bust and the Great Recession. The county has already had to cut services (fire and police among others), and the school board has had to cut services and lay off teachers. It's fiscally irresponsible to further reduce the tax base and cause even more reductions. We're essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul, and Peter is really getting the worst end of the deal.
I had enough time to vote in my precinct, and I called my wife to get her out to vote as well. But it was for naught; as the Orange County Supervisor of Elections web site shows, the referendum passed 62% to 38%. What's amazing to me is that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by nearly 40% in the election. I don't have the statistics on how the vote was split across the referendum, but I would have thought with such a heavy Democratic turnout it would have been turned down. After all, those Democrats certainly weren't voting for Republicans.

Which just goes to prove in its own way what I wrote earlier; politically speaking Florida is unpredictable.

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