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Wednesday night, at Bailey Hall on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Davie Florida, the two candidates for Florida governor -- Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis -- snarked off in their second of two debates.
Policy-wise we didn't learn much. On the one hand, DeSantis has made it abundantly clear since the primaries that the sole reason people should vote for him is that he can "pick up the phone and call Donald Trump." Recent reports suggest that anyone can do that if they can hack the man's iPhone 4. Besides that, we've all learned that Trump is so reliable to his friends that he will always go out of his way to make sure they get everything they want and need. Tell that to Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.
But guess what folks? We still don't know what DeSantis thinks Florida wants or needs besides making the most general possible statements of "clean water!" and "low taxes!" and "no immigrants!!" and "free ICE for everyone!!!!" Honestly, should he win, DeSantis will have a deeply Republican legislature, so he should be able to get anything he wants. It remains terribly odd why he can't seem to get into even a lightly detailed explanation of anything he thinks is necessary.
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But he does seem to be really worked up about some Broadway tickets Gillum received while on a trip to New York City. This trip is part of an FBI investigation into the possible fixing of a Tallahassee development contract. The lobbyist for the successful bidder was a longtime personal friend of Gillum's. But when it came time for deliberation and voting for the contract, Gillum recused himself. The result is that the FBI is looking into the lobbyist and developer, but not Gillum nor the Tallahassee City Commission. Frankly, if I'm in NYC and anyone offered me a free ticket to see an original-cast performance of Hamilton, I'm taking that ticket, no questions asked and I don't care if it came from the devil himself.
Meanwhile, DeSantis is no angel: The main reason he resigned his seat in Congress prematurely is because he actually was under investigation.
The majority of the debate involved the two candidates going back and forth at each other, attempting to take swipes at each other's character since DeSantis is utterly incapable of discussing issues. Oh, and he was a lawyer in the Navy.
Gillum slapped DeSantis hard several times during the debate because of his racist "monkey things up" comment after the primary, as well as his open support from some of the worst white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers in the country, some of whom have produced robocalls portraying Gillum as a minstrel parody. DeSantis finally lost his cool entirely when Gillum referred to speeches given at a well-known Islamophobe and racially extreme group. DeSantis interrupted loudly and yelled, "How the hell am I supposed to know everything [sponsor David Horowitz] said?" Following that was, "[He] will not bow down to the altar of political correctness." Gillum, quoting his grandmother as he often has throughout the campaign, noted that "a hit dog will holler." The quip quickly went viral.
Gillum maintained his calm demeanor throughout the repeated Hamilton attacks as DeSantis devolved more and more into a barely controlled rage and demonstrated that, clearly, he still has no idea why he's running for governor.
The Real Swamp Report No. 1: Gillum, DeSantis, Nelson and Scott Take Center Stage in Florida
The Real Swamp Report No. 2: Why Is Ron DeSantis Running for Governor? Nobody Really Knows.
The Real Swamp Report No. 3: Don't Look Now, But Gillum Is Winning in Florida
The Real Swamp Report No. 4: Gillum Dominates the First Debate