Sunday, January 1, 2023
View larger image +
This is my second week in South Florida, and the political landscape is always fascinating. It will certainly have an impact on the 2024 election. Florida, like everywhere else, is affected by huge traffic accidents during the holiday season. Such events can spread into the realm of politics and public policy. Let’s “brunch” this week.
“Southwest Airlines Crashes” – One of the biggest national stories around Christmas was the total collapse of Southwest Airlines. There were some serious delays and cancellations between December 23rd and 25th, but the biggest disruption happened after Christmas. According to various reports, in the three days after Christmas, 2,500 of the 3,000 canceled flights each day were Southwest Airlines flights. This accounted for 83% of all canceled flights nationwide and 63% of Southwest flights. Yes, bad weather plays a big role, but the average cancellation rate for other airlines is only 2%.
Get the latest breaking news here – sign up for GOLOCAL FREE DAILY EBLAST
“Focus on Congressional Hearings” – Members of the U.S. House of Representatives are still in session on Friday, Dec. 23, and many senators are still in town after Thursday’s final budget vote. I’d love to know how many of our 535 members of Congress are stuck with delayed flights. See, the transportation committees of both houses have the authority to regulate the airline industry. We’ve heard stories of poor hiring practices in the understaffed Southwest and mismanagement at the top. A tweet from the U.S. Department of Transportation said an investigation was imminent. “The U.S. Department of Transportation is concerned about reports of Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays and lack of timely customer service. The department will examine whether cancellations are manageable and Southwest is adhering to its customer service plan.” As I predicted That way, politics would be in this mess.
“From my vantage point” – After a three-hour delay on my first flight and a six-hour wait in Charlotte for a connecting flight, I flew to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday night. I work for American Airlines and it seems to handle 90% of the cases pretty well. The biggest problem is American employees telling passengers in Charleston, WV that their plane (in plain sight for all at this small airport) is being de-iced, when it clearly isn’t. Sorry, lying to customers is a great sin for any business. This is unacceptable. Anyway, when I finally got to Fort Lauderdale, the airport was crowded but moving on, except for Southwest, which was deadlocked. Southwest Airlines passengers may receive some financial compensation, President Joe Biden said Tuesday. I bet free flight vouchers are coming.
“The DeSantis Democrats” – Flying chaos aside, it’s been great to be in South Florida, where I can get a bird’s-eye view of state politics again. I was a radio and television reporter in Florida for nine years, and then six years as a reporter for a Florida television station in Washington, DC. There was a fascinating article in last week’s Washington Examiner. The headline was, “‘DeSantis Democrats’: Why Florida’s blue voters are turning red.” The story chronicled how DeSantis won in particularly large Democratic strongholds like Miami-Dade County. It echoed a similar tone in 1980, when the so-called “Reagan Democrats,” angered by a period of high inflation, helped Republican Ronald Reagan defeat Democratic President Jimmy Carter for the White House. Of course, DeSantis still has to take on fellow Florida man Donald Trump.
“Boundary Chaos” – Florida is a border state on the water. Over the years, it has seen more than its share of immigration problems, including deadly drug trafficking and heart-wrenching human trafficking. So, this is a huge political issue. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Tuesday that Title 42, issued by the Trump White House, can stand, subject to future court challenges. Title-42 says the U.S. can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by rejecting those who cross the southern border without a permit beginning in March 2020.
“The real problem” – The Biden administration last week promised to remove Section 42, saying it controlled illegal border crossings, but apparently didn’t (just see the daily border news feed). The real problem here is not COVID-19, but the smuggling across borders of the deadly heroin substitute fentanyl. Now, I live in West Virginia, which has the highest per capita drug overdose death rate in the country, and therefore the highest fentanyl death rate. Most of it comes from China, through Central America and Mexico, and into the arms of Americans. It’s been horrible and I see results every day. For the average person, little seems to be being done to stop illegal border crossings and all that comes with them.
“What did the High Court say?” — Interestingly, Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch dissented alongside Democratic appointees Kagan, Sotomayor and Brown. “The emergency on which these orders were based has long since lapsed,” Gorsuch wrote. He added, “But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis . . . and courts should not Tony) to enforce an executive order designed for an emergency (COVID). We are the courts, not the final decision maker.” Ouch! Again, five other Republican appointees win, but it’s clearly not over yet .
“Resumes for Elected Members of Congress” — Okay, it’s a non-Florida story, but it’s the weirdest political story of the week. New York State Rep. George Santos (R) has done some “resume stuffing” since Election Day. He claimed to have undergraduate and graduate degrees, but possessed neither. He claimed he was employed by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, but probably only worked for them as an outside contractor. My question is, why do people fill out resumes in the digital age when they are so easy to check? “My sin here is glorifying my resume. I’m sorry,” Santos said. Santos added that he would finish out his term, but I bet the leadership told him he had a toast and wouldn’t be sworn in. On the other hand, when you have a narrow majority of 222-213, there is pressure to keep everyone in office. Stay tuned! That could be the real test of whether California Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) has enough votes to be elected speaker of the House on Tuesday.
Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is the chief political reporter for seven Nexstar Media stations serving media markets in West Virginia, five neighboring states and throughout Washington, DC. He is also a MINDSETTER™ Staff Political Writer and Analyst for www.GoLocalProv.com and its affiliates.
- Strategies Two Months Before Election Day – ‘Sunday Political Brunch’
- Labor Day Political Mashup – “Sunday Political Brunch” – September 4, 2022
- The 2022 election is a soup full of problems – ‘Sunday political brunch’
- Primary election ends calmly before political storm – “Sunday Political Brunch” – September 25, 2022
- “Is it too late to turn the political tide?” – Sunday Political Brunch, October 2, 2022
- Primary Colors Florida – “Sunday Political Brunch” – August 28, 2022
- Mixed messages heading for election finish line – ‘Sunday Political Brunch’
- Painting and Potluck Politics with Primary Colors – “Sunday Political Brunch”
- Is Trump’s Train Running or Derailing – “Sunday Political Brunch” – July 31, 2022
- Advancing the Political Primary Process – “Sunday Political Brunch” – August 7, 2022
- 2024 Political Earthquake Strikes Two Years Early – ‘Sunday Political Brunch’
- New Restaurant Opens in Federal Hill – Serves Breakfast and Brunch
- Sprint to the Election Day Finish Line – “Sunday Political Brunch”
- Grateful for the end of one political season and the beginning of another – ‘Sunday Political Brunch’
- Moving Forward as a Divided Government – “Sunday Political Brunch” – November 20, 2022
- It’s not over until it’s over – “Sunday Political Brunch”
- As the political world shifts – ‘Sunday Political Brunch’
- Watch how the political winds blow – “Sunday Political Brunch” December 18, 2022
- Can we put the 2022 election in the rearview mirror? – “Sunday Political Brunch”
- Weekday Brunch – This Providence Restaurant Is Featured on ‘Soda Fridays’
- The Battle for Senate Control – “Sunday Political Brunch” – October 16, 2022
- Assessing the Senate Race – “Sunday Political Brunch” – October 23, 2022
- 2022 Last Minute Election Campaign – “Sunday Political Brunch” – October 30, 2022
- 2022 Election Predictions – “Sunday Political Brunch” – November 6, 2022
- An unexpected DC melee – “Sunday Political Brunch”, Dec. 25, 2022