A former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida caused a kerfuffle this week when he filed legislation that would do away with the state Democratic Party.
Former Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, a state senator from Spring Hill, proposed a bill (SB 1248) that would direct Secretary of State Cord Byrd to “cancel” the registration of any political party that has ever supported slavery.
Ingoglia pointed to the Democratic Party’s support of slavery before and after the Civil War and said the proposal is a reaction to liberal activists pushing to remove statues and memorials based on past comments or actions.
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“What I think the Democrats are doing is trying to gloss over the fact that they did adopt pro-slavery positions in their party platforms,” Ingoglia said Wednesday. “So, according to cancel culture itself, they should be canceling themselves.”
Nikki Fried, the newly elected chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, blamed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration for the proposal.
“This is what a dictator does,” Fried said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “A dictator goes after those who oppose his policies, those who stand in his way of ultimate power.”
Fried also criticized what she called the “radical Republican Party” for opposing freedom of speech and the freedom to organize.
On Wednesday, the Democratic Party called the measure “unserious” and a publicity stunt by Republicans.
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“The sooner DeSantis and his puppets in the Legislature learn that Florida is a democratic republic and not a banana republic, the better it will be for all Floridians,” the party said in a news release.
Under Ingoglia’s proposal, Democratic voters would see their registrations changed to “no party affiliation.” The Democratic Party would be allowed to re-register in the state but with a “substantially” different name.
While Republican President Abraham Lincoln led the fight to end slavery amid opposition from Democrats, Black voters are now a core constituency of the Democratic Party. Also, many Democrats have backed removing statues and building names tied to the Confederacy.
In 2020, for example, the U.S. House voted 304-113 to remove all Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol, with 72 Republicans joining Democrats in the effort. The proposal didn’t pass in the U.S. Senate.
Among the Republicans who opposed the measure was Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who that year unsuccessfully proposed resolutions that called for removing portraits and references to any political party that ever supported slavery or the Confederacy. And, similar to Ingoglia’s proposal, he sought to ban from Congress any political party that ever supported slavery or the Confederacy.
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