• Something’s Rotten At Tammany Hall In Miami

    September 19, 2023
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    Doral, Florida - The Republican Executive Committee of Miami-Dade County constitutes a rotten borough, as events these last few months demonstrate. Earlier this month, the Vice Chairman of the REC organized a campaign event on behalf of the re-election this year of Steve Losner, the nominally-Republican Mayor of Homestead, and the father of the REC’s Secretary, but Mayor Losner has endorsed the Democrat County Mayor for re-election next year. My wife and I campaigned for Mayor Losner two years ago, so what should we do with my “Re-Elect Steve Losner for Mayor” tee-shirt?

    At the same time, the REC has shunned Republican Christi Tasker, candidate for Miami City Commissioner, District 2, against the Democrat-endorsed incumbent. See: https://miamiindependent.com/christi-tasker-fights-tammany-hall-in-miami/. With RINO’s like these, who needs Democrats? This column has long observed that the REC is not trustworthy, but now things appear to be coming to a climax.

    State Committeeman and City Commissioner

    Last week, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, the Republican Miami City Commissioner for District 1, currently running for re-election in November, and State Committeeman for the REC, was arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for money laundering and political corruption. See: https://www.politicalcortadito.com/2023/09/14/alex-diaz-de-la-portilla-pay-for-play-park-deal/. Governor DeSantis now has suspended him from the City Commission. The arrest was a result of a joint investigation in Miami-Dade County by the State Attorney’s Task force on Public Corruption and the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.

    District 23 Committeeman

    At the end of last year, David Rivera, an REC Committeeman for District 23 covering Doral, and a former Congressman and State Representative in the Miami area, was arrested in Atlanta by federal authorities, and charged with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/06/david-rivera-arrest-venezuela/. There was no explanation for why he was arrested in Atlanta, when his legal residence is supposed to be in Doral.

    Lincoln Day Dinners

    A couple of months ago, Governor DeSantis served as keynote speaker at the Lincoln Day dinner hosted by the Miami-Dade County REC, but the event was a disappointment. See: https://miamiindependent.com/governor-desantis-dining-and-fundraising-with-tammany-hall/. Roger Stone, a prominent Trump supporter, compared this 2023 Lincoln Day dinner, which drew a mere 400 participants, with their 2022 Lincoln Day dinner, which drew over 1,200 participants to support the same keynote speaker for re-election as Governor, but do not support him to the same extent for President.

    Loyalty Oath for Presidential Primary

    Th Republican Party of Florida in May this year added a loyalty oath for candidates participating in the presidential preference primary during March next year. This oath requires Republican candidates to pledge support for the nominee in the general election, but Donald Trump has refused to sign it. It is mostly non-enforceable and symbolic, but it has become a battle of wills between RINO’s (establishmentarians backing DeSantis) and MAGA (grassroots conservatives backing Trump). Consider that in Florida, 90% of Republican state legislators have endorsed DeSantis, while over 50% of Republican voters tell pollsters that they endorse Trump.

    The Republican executive committee met to consider its repeal in Orlando last Friday, and the two sides ramped up the rhetoric. DeSantis supporters Lieutenant Governor Jeannette Nunez and House Speaker Paul Renner sparred with Senator Joe Gruters, a Trump supporter. Senator Gruters objected that the oath constituted an “artificial roadblock.” RPOF Chairman Christian Ziegler and Vice Chairman Evan Power pledged neutrality, even though both their wives work for the DeSantis campaign.

    The Chairman of the Miami-Dade County REC, a state legislator who has endorsed DeSantis, said he doesn’t understand why Trump won’t sign the oath: “The Republican party needs to be bigger than this. It’s almost like we’re dealing with a petulant child: ‘I don’t like your game, so I’m going to take my ball and go home.’ These are our rules, and if you want to play by our rules, then play. If you don’t want to play by our rules, find another game somewhere.” Calling Trump a petulant child will not endear the Chairman to the MAGA faithful, and if Trump went elsewhere, where would that leave the Republican party? In the trash bin of history with the Whig party! Michael Thompson, Chairman of the Lee County REC, pointed out that personal digs at Trump are straight out of the Democrat playbook.

    Chairman Thompson also observed about the loyalty oath that: “I don’t think it’s warranted. It’s election interference. I think the voters of Florida deserve the opportunity to vote for whoever the heck they want to, and not have their choices dictated by the Republican party.” See: https://themessenger.com/politics/king-don-vs-ron-zilla-trump-tightens-grip-on-florida-gop-under-desantis. Of course, election interference is par for the course by the Miami-Dade County REC, which also does not even abide by Robert’s Rules of Order.

    Accordingly, last Friday evening the Republican executive committee voted to remove this requirement. Nevertheless, the Chairman of the Miami-Dade County REC dissented on the vote. He explained: “I just feel that it’s important, and it doesn’t preclude any of the candidates from signing it, and saying that we’re all going to be together. I think the most important thing here is that we need to be united as a Republican party.” Yes, but unity does not include inviting other Republicans to a business meeting, then permitting a walkout to undo the quorum, so that no business may be conducted.

    On the other hand, as Ed Shoemaker, Chairman of the Polk County REC, remarked: “People will be pissed off if we keep Trump off the ballot.” See: https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/15/florida-republicans-desantis-trump-pledge-00116387. Journalist Laura Loomer, who first made public the adoption of the loyalty oath, and General Mike Flynn, another prominent Trump supporter, both celebrated this MAGA victory. See: https://floridianpress.com/2023/09/desantis-sustains-crushing-defeat-within-state-gop-as-miami-gop-chair-and-influencers-trash-trump/. RINO’s need to recognize that the future of the Republican party is MAGA.

    RINO v. MAGA

    The tragedy of the conservative movement has been that the Reagan legacy was taken up in 1988 by the unworthy Bush dynasty. Now that Bush legacy is being set aside: (1) by Trump with his primary victory in 2016, although his administration was hampered by many Bush RINO’s, like attorney General Bill Barr; (2) by Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, who this weekend defeated the attempt to impeach him in the State Senate by RINO’s led by the House Speaker, after Paxton defeated George P. Bush in the primary of 2022, and whose office filed the strongest legal claim against the unconstitutional procedures of the presidential election in 2020; and (3) by Trump in the presidential primary of 2024 for grinding down Governor DeSantis, who despite Trump’s endorsement which allowed him to win in 2018, has aligned himself with RINOs like Jeb Bush, Mittens Romney, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy and Karl Rove.

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    Bread and Circuses

    Meanwhile, the Republican Executive Committee of Miami-Dade County continues: (1) to operate without an election integrity capability, having dismissed the leadership of this subcommittee in May; and (2) to neglect voter registration, so that registered Republicans in the county trail in third place behind not only Democrats, but also Unaffiliateds. Chairman Ziegler likes to boast about the growing edge of registered Republicans over Democrats, but not in Miami-Dade County. Instead, the REC offers tame entertainment from Fox News hosts: https://miamiindependent.com/judge-jeanine-pirro-in-miami/. You can be sure that the Democrats are preparing for a tough fight next year.

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    Eduardo Vidal

    Eduardo Vidal is a lawyer and political activist. His family brought him when he was nine years old from Cuba to the USA, but now the rule of law has been eroded in the USA as well, and we are turning into Cuba and the rest of Latin America.
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