There is nothing like starting your Sunday morning off with news of Republican infighting that heralds the disintegration of the Ghastly Old Party.
When the news concerns Roger Stone and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, well, that’s the Halloween chef’s kiss!
A long-time Republican political operative and “dirty trickster” who learned his trade at the feet of Roy Cohn, the infamous chief counsel for the disgraced Senator Joseph McCarthy, Roger Stone is now threatening to disrupt Florida politics with his demand for an election audit of the 2020 presidential contest in a state that his patron Donald Trump won by over 300,000 votes.
It seems like an odd demand, given that, if Stone’s conspiratorial claims miraculously turn out to be true, Trump’s margin of victory in Florida could disappear entirely with the disqualification of a million votes.
That appears to be a strange way to say thanks to the man who saved Stone from potentially spending three years in prison by offering him a full pardon for his felony conviction for lying under oath to a congressional committee and threatening a witness whose testimony would have exposed those lies.
Then again, any move to reduce public faith in the election process — and democracy in general — is a plus in Trump’s eyes one supposes.
Moreover, with Governor DeSantis frequently being mentioned as a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender as a “Trump-lite” candidate, attacking the Florida politician at this stage of the future contest can be seen as a strategic benefit offered to Trump by his grateful pardon recipient.
Stone posted yet another jab at DeSantis on one of the right-wing social media platforms that the MAGA crowd frequents these days after the major companies like Facebook and Twitter began to crack down on posts containing extremist lies and political misinformation.
Typically, Stone has provided not an iota of evidence to back up his claims of “1 million phantom voters on the Florida voter rolls,” asking people to trust a convicted liar and felon when he says that he knows this “for a certainty.”
While the seriousness of Stone’s threat to run as a 3rd party candidate against DeSantis is in doubt, the idea of a split right-wing electorate that could allow a Democratic candidate to win the Florida governor’s race is a tantalizing possibility, especially as anger among the state’s voters over the Republican governor’s mismanagement of the COVID pandemic in his state continues to grow, with Florida at number seven among states with the highest death toll from the virus.
It’s easy to applaud Stone’s audacious move to confront DeSantis as the beginning of the final fracturing of the GOP.
Still, when you realize that Stone should rightfully be languishing in a federal penitentiary right now, any sense of pleasure in that prospect fades into a realization that justice is infinitely more important than political posturing.
Original reporting by Ron Filipkowski at Twitter.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.