Democrats are giddy over Andrew Gillum's September lead, I get that. But the rest of us are hoping they might take a break from blowing raspberries at Gillum's Republican opponent long enough to answer some of the questions we have about this hard-left gubernatorial candidate.
Gillum is campaigning as a member of the Sanders–Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party: He wants to abolish ICE, raise the minimum wage to $15, pass single-payer health care, and increase taxes across the board.
That's quite a sea change for Florida. "With its laissez-faire economic policies and its general respect for personal liberty, Florida has long been considered one of the freest states in the union," says the National Review.
I couldn't agree more.
Are Floridians truly ready to put a socialist in the governor's mansion?
Let's leave the candidate's record as mayor of Tallahassee for another day. Look at the bigger issue for a moment, his plan for Florida.
I see an agenda taken straight from the Bernie Sanders playbook. Which might be well and good for less free, less successful states than ours.
Gillum is a dedicated opponent of gun rights. He wants a ban on “assault weapons” and a crackdown on private gun sales. How restrictive is he planning to be?
We know he's no friend of due process, because he's endorsed proposals to restrict the Second Amendment rights of people who haven't been convicted of crimes. He recommended municipalities pass gun restrictions that flout state law. I may be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure Floridians want a governor who treats the Second Amendment as if it were part of the Constitution.
On health care, Gillum wants increased government involvement at the federal and state levels. He supports Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan and says he would expand Medicaid in Florida. He has floated other ideas to increase state spending on health care.
I wish the media would serve their readers, serve their viewers and listeners and confront the elephant in the room: How does he plan to pay for all this? Specifically, how?
The other day the Tampa Bay Times' Adam Smith made fun of DeSantis for suggesting Gillum "would do the virtually impossible and enact a state income tax." Smith called it a "clumsy falsehood." OK, so it probably is. But all the Times is doing is glossing over an issue hugely important to his readers:
How is the guy going to pay for all this? It strains credibility.
Wouldn't Florida have to adopt a New York–style tax regime? Be bold, billionaire George Soros tells the candidates he supports, of which Gillum is one. But Soros never explains where the money for his favored progressive programs is going to come from.
The rest of Gillum’s agenda -- the $15 minimum wage, the steep corporate-tax hike -- what would that do to the state’s thriving economy?
These are the things Florida voters will want to know in the cold light of October. The Democrats and the media can play slap-and-tickle with DeSantis all the way to November for all I care. But if Gillum isn't business as usual -- and clearly, he isn't -- it's time right now to reveal the details of how Florida would fare if his agenda were realized. Some people are already voting.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith