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Friday, October 15, 2021

After spending the summer interning in Washington D.C., I?ve learned that politics are about as useful as hanging chads, and congressional interns are more stuck up than their do-nothing bosses on Capitol Hill.

In Florida, we?re all too familiar with political foolery.

It all began in 2000 when Al Gore was elected president by Florida voters. The U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and stopped the ballot recount and gave the election to George W. Bush.

In 2004, the nation watched to see if Florida voters could get this election right, and according to the voting machines, they did, and Bush stayed in office.

Earlier this year, state Republicans decided to give political pandering a shot by trying to name UF?s College of Education after former Gov. Jeb Bush after UF?s Alumni Association decided not to give Jeb an honorary degree.

Legislators should have been paying more attention to the impending budget deficits instead of fighting over naming rights. At least for UF, the college is still unnamed, and the university can sell the naming rights to a generous donor at some point to make up for this year?s budget shortfall.

Back then, I told the Legislature to get a life and find more important issues to solve. Now, I?m sending the same message to the Democratic National Convention.

On Saturday, the convention voted to strip Florida of its delegates to the party?s national convention in Denver next year unless the state?s Jan. 29 primary is delayed by at least a week.

It all began when the state?s Republican-controlled Legislature voted to move the state?s primary up from late March to Jan. 29 to give Florida more clout in the nominating process - a reasonable idea considering Florida is the nation?s largest swing state with 27 electoral votes.

Now the Democratic National Convention is punishing its own party over something it had little control over. Smart move guys.

A logical person would think the Democrats would be weary to mess with Florida after losing the election in 2000. Seriously, it?s the party most likely to win the White House in 2008, and Florida will have a big say in that election. Not exactly the best group of voters to mess with at this stage of the game.

But politicians are always quick to shoot themselves in the foot, especially when things are going well.

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Even if the convention stands firm and doesn?t make an exception, the state Dems still have a couple of options. They could hold a caucus after Feb. 5, which would require Democratic voters to go back to the polls and vote again. Their other option is to ignore the convention and follow the state?s primary anyway. They would have a higher voter turnout, but candidates would probably stay out of Florida while campaigning because the convention may penalize them for campaigning in states that break the rules.

Either way, Florida Dems would have the chances to tell the rest of the nation who they want as the Democratic candidate for president.

I still think they could find something better to do, but until they figure it out, I guess Florida is going to be the laughing stock of the political arena…again.

Gordon van Owen is a graduate student studying mass communication.

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