Florida’s Gerrymandering Defeats an Assault Weapons Ban

Florida’s Gerrymandering Defeats an Assault Weapons Ban

Since there are a lot of numbers in this article, I will summarize the result at the start. The Florida House refused to take up an Assault Weapons Ban by almost two to one. This is a little more than the Republican to Democratic split of the Florida House. Yet in the Presidential election of 2016, Trump only won by 1.3%. Obama won the 2008 election by 2.8%. So while Florida voters are mostly equally split between parties, it has a very dominant Republican gun supporting legislature and governor. This is a severe case of gerrymandering in our nation’s third most populous state. This is why the courageous and angry student survivors of the Parkland shooting could not expect to get any caring from the Florida legislature.

Republican Governor Rick Scott is rated A+ by the NRA. Yet on a state voting basis, Florida has one Republican Senator (Mario Rubio), and one Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson. Nelson is up for re-election, and will probably face Gov. Rick Scott. Now, this may be an election about guns controls. Florida has had three mass shootings: the Orlando night club, the Parkland school, and one in Fort Lauderdale.

Now for the numbers. The Florida House did not take up the Assault Weapons Ban by 71 to 36, one vote short of two to one. The Florida House of 120 is dominated by 76 Republicans to 40 Democrats with 4 vacancies, or almost two-to-one. The Florida Senate of 40 is also dominated by 23 Republicans to 15 Democrats with 2 vacancies. Yet as of January 31, 2018, there were 4.81 million registered Democrats, beating 4.55 million Republicans. But No Party had 3.46 million registered voters, and 0.07 million minor party voters.

In the 2016 Presidential election, Trump won Florida’s 29 electoral votes by 1.3%, with 49.1% to Clinton’s 47.8%. The other candidates with 3.1% could have swung the vote, with Johnson getting 2.2%, Stein 0.7%, and Castle getting 0.2%. Talk about places where Russia’s social media, hacked DNC, DCCC, and Podesta emails, and Comey’s two anti-Clinton announcements could have influenced the election.

The Southeast coast of Florida is strongly Democratic, with the three populous counties from North to South being Palm Beach, Broward, and Maimi-Dade. The Parkland shooting was in Broward County. In 2016, Clinton won Broward County by over two-to-one, 66.5% to 31.4%. Clinton won Miami-Dade 63.7% to 34.1%, and won Palm Beach, 56.5% to 41.2%. It must also have been shocking to the Broward County students, where Democrats rule two-to-one, to go to the state legislature, where Republicans rule two-to-one.

If the Republican legislature is really a result of gerrymandering, it can’t be reversed until after the 2020 census, and after redistricting in 2021, except the redistricting will be dominated by a still Republican legislature. The only hope is a that a non-partisan redistricting committee can be required by a statewide ballot. This is really speculation on my part. I only go to Florida to tour the Caribbean and to look at the swamp.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2016 Election, Assault Weapons, Clinton, Donald Trump, Gun Control, Guns, Politics, Voting Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

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