Florida’s Top Dem: Ron DeSantis Hid His COVID 1

While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have been the runner-up to former President Donald Trump in the recent CPAC straw poll, his chances of ever becoming president himself are not good, according to Florida’s top Democrat.

“You know, he went MIA for three weeks in November claiming that he was working on some statewide plan. My take is that he probably had COVID and didn’t want to tell people when the vaccines first came to our state,” Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried tells co-host Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.

Fried also spills the tea on DeSantis’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his real boss—Trump. “A lot of it was, he [DeSantis] was getting his nod from President Trump and wasn’t able to do anything without President Trump’s approval, and the same thing is happening here, because now President Trump is a resident. So I’m sure that [DeSantis] is consistently calling the president and I’m sure the president’s wealthy friends in the state of Florida are asking for the vaccines, and so they’re getting it delivered to them.”

But Fried isn’t done truth-telling about DeSantis and how his vaccine rollout will burn down his presidential aspirations, after he allowed non-residents to claim coveted doses for themselves while Floridians went without. “He allowed for out-of-state people to come into the state. So we heard, you know, big donors and people on the boards of hospitals and nursing homes were flying into our state,” she tells Molly.

Also in the episode, Peter Sagal of NPR’s beloved quiz show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! joins Molly to talk about the emotional life of politics and everything that isn’t on Twitter. Sagal feels passionately that when the aliens come down to Earth, they are going to not see much of a difference between left- and right-wing cable television rhetoric.

“Differences that are obvious to us would not be to a Martian,” he says. “Looking at a camera and explaining to us very seriously and very sincerely why another group of people are terrible… They’re trying to get the audience to feel the same way about the opposite group of people, to feel indignant, to feel angry, to feel righteously upset about how awful these people are to feed that fuel. And what that says to me is that we’re more alike than we thought.”

And then the crew brings on David Shor, who says his job is to “get Democrats elected” but his formal title is head of data science at Open Labs.

Shor tells us how Democrats can win elections and the big problem with the 2020 election.

“One of the big stories of this election is that those non-white conservatives started to vote more like white conservatives, that we started to see this ideological polarization that’s happened over the last four years,” he says. “This has been a long-term trend, 2018 was worse than 2016. I think it’s something that a lot of people ignored, that there were a lot of races where Democrats did substantially worse than [Hillary] Clinton among non-white voters, and it was impactful. The reason we lost the Florida Senate race, or the Georgia gubernatorial race, if we had done as well among non-white voters as Clinton did, we wouldn’t have lost those races. And in the same way, going to 2020, I think, you know, 2020 was worse than 2018. And if you look at some survey data, you get some hints as to why. We ended up asking after the election, we did a large post-election survey of Latinos and asked a battery of issue questions just to try to get at what was motivating some of these voters who switched over. I think the single largest predictor was attitudes toward crime, attitudes toward public safety, attitudes toward policing.”

All of that plus Kyrsten Sinema’s Marie Antoinette imitation and the secret to getting that sought-after “NPR voice” on the latest The New Abnormal.

Listen to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.