TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Democrats took on tremendous losses last election cycle, and now a Republican state lawmaker wants to eliminate the party entirely with a bill filed Tuesday.
“The Ultimate Cancel Act” (SB 1248), sponsored by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill), would cancel the filings of any political party that supported slavery during the Civil War.
“The Democrat party adopted pro-slavery stances in their party platforms and this bill says that if you have done that in the past, then the Secretary of State shall de-certify and get rid of the party,” Ingoglia said.
If the controversial bill were approved, voters registered with any “canceled” party would become non-party-affiliated voters.
“It would be interesting to find out if those voters who are now de-certified choose to go back to the party now that they know that they were the party that was advocating for the issue of slavery,” Ingoglia said.
Any “canceled” party could register again, but the name of the organization must be substantially different from the name of any other party that was previously registered with the department.
The proposal is drawing widespread criticism from Democrats.
“Shame on the Republican Party for initiating legislation of this magnitude. This is what a dictator does,” newly elected Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried said.
“It’s a complete and absolute abuse, and it’s unconstitutional. This bill will go nowhere. It is meritless. It deserves zero airtime and frankly, it’s a distraction from the Republicans’ failed policies,” House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell said.
When asked if he thought the bill would get any traction in the upcoming session, Ingoglia said, “I guess we’re gonna see, aren’t we?”
Ingoglia said he has not spoken to the governor or legislative leaders about the bill.
“Florida Democrats are lucky I’m not asking them to return all the political contributions that they got in years past for their Jefferson Jackson dinners since they want to cancel everything. They were raising money based upon two people that, by their own admission, should have been canceled,” Ingoglia said.
On Wednesday, the Florida Democratic Party issued the following statement:
“Presenting a bill that would disenfranchise 5 million voters is both unconstitutional and unserious. Under Ron DeSantis, Senator Ingoglia is using his office to push bills that are nothing more than publicity stunts instead of focusing on the issues that matter most to Floridians, such as reforming property insurance, addressing housing affordability, and combating climate change.
“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 governor’s office declined to comment on the legislation. Legislative leaders in the House and Senate have yet to express interest in taking up the bill during the upcoming session. If this were to become law, it would take effect in July 2023.
Incidentally, the Republican and Democratic parties didn’t always hold the stances they do today. According to Britannica, the Republican Party organized in 1792 and was “the direct antecedent of the present Democratic Party.”
Essentially, the parties switched platforms over time. According to Livescience, between the 1860s and 1936,” the (Democratic) party of small government became the party of big government, and the (Republican) party of big government became rhetorically committed to curbing federal power.”