Forgive me if, as someone worked in Al Gore’s presidential campaign, this all sounds depressingly familiar. I remember all of it: Gore taking the high road and asking for the time to do the legally mandated recount; and the George W. Bush campaign, ginning up borderline-violent crowd protests, delegitimizing the process through the press; pointing to phony issues such as accusing Democrats of not wanting to count the absentee ballots of service members; and turning to the courts for relief as the vote totals started to move against them. (For those who don’t remember, the Supreme Court stopped the 2000 Florida recount with Gore gaining votes and Bush’s lead down to less than 600 votes.) Of course, one thing is different this time; while President Bill Clinton in 2000 respected the recount by remaining silent, our current president has echoed Scott by saying that Democrats are trying to steal the elections.
In 2018, the Republican playbook may not work in Florida. But if it does not result in the election of Scott and Ron DeSantis, then Plan B will go into effect: Millions of Floridians will believe that neither Nelson nor Andrew Gillum hold office legitimately. And that is what is so disgusting and dangerous about this Florida election redux: Republicans want to win by stopping the votes from being accurately tallied, or they want to “win” by neutering their opponents if they should prevail. Either way, democracy loses. Again.