TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2022
Bexar County Jail: Did Ron DeSantis break the law when he engineered those flights to Martha's Vineyard?
We don't have the slightest idea. Jonathan Chait says he probably did:
CHAIT (9/20/22): The Ron DeSantis approach to governance is to feed a steady flow of chum to conservative media. His most recent such measure was a made-for-Fox gambit that involved transporting two planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in a modern reverse Freedom Ride. But not only did Martha’s Vineyard’s residents greet the residents with love rather than the fear DeSantis hoped to provoke, it also seems probable he violated the law in order to pull it off.
There are two potential legal violations at play: lying to the migrants and misusing state funds.
Multiple reports have found the migrants were lured onto the plane with misleading or false promises that included employment. WBUR’s Eve Zuckoff and NPR’s Luis Clemens interviewed migrants the night they arrived in Martha’s Vineyard. At least two reported a woman who called herself “Perla” promised them jobs and four months of housing at their destination:
One of the migrants told the Boston Globe, “There, a lady offered us three months of rent, work, and said they were going to put our papers in order.”
Yesterday, Javier Salazar, the sheriff of Bexar County in Texas, opened an investigation into whether any laws had been broken in luring the migrants onto the plane.
Inevitably, our liberal world is now picturing DeSantis consigned to the Bexar County jail. We regard this as our tribe's latest "category error."
Here's what we mean by that:
Our problem—and it's deeply serious—is a political problem. It involves the way many voters are drawn to the kind of claims and conduct performed by people like Trump and DeSantis.
Almost surely, you can't solve a political problem by means of criminal law. But our tribe rarely seems to imagine the pursuit of a political solution to our political failures.
On cable, our tribe has devoted years to the project of getting Trump locked up. Our tribunes discuss this project for hours on end, day after day after day after day.
Everything else disappears. Little else gets discussed, including the actual immigration problems which turn a lot of voters toward DeSantis and Trump.
Inevitably, we're now seeking the same type of "jail cell solution" in the matter of DeSantis. One thinks of the early Tommy Lee Jones vehicle, Jackson County Jail.
(Beyond that, Chait's reference to the Freedom Rides reminds us that, by dint of basic tribal law, DeSantis must also be seen as a racist.)
For us, the political instincts to which we refer recall the old country song. You recall the name of that famous old song:
Born to Quite Possibly Lose.
A basic reminder: How might our tribe peel voters away from the Trump-DeSantis orbit?
We recommend this basic reminder. We're seeking to win the most persuadable of these voters, not the "hard-core fanatics."
Those "fanatics" have a perfect right to their beliefs, of course—but no, they aren't the target. We aren't after 100 percent of the vote. We're after maybe five points more.
INSTANT UPDATE: Also, let's get Cathy Latham locked up.