It might be a nicer world if we could simply direct our horror in the direction of a singular orange blob of money who barks at babies and has people punched in the gut and carried out of his rallies. Also, words like “nigger,” “faggot,” and their likes – presented here because they were reported in video form by the New York Times from a Trump rally, not because they make for comfortable parlance for anybody with a sane mind – have no business dragging their lexicon carcasses back into the mob rule of a Republican party run afoul.

It would certainly be a nicer election in 2016 if the standard bearers were actually on an even playing field. Sure, down-ticket on Aug. 30, we’ll have our a la carte picks at whom we think best represents our interests in our own local districts and municipal governments. And we should. But when people from the Republican Party are veritably leaping from its caustic platform (“corrective therapy,” anyone?), we have problems enough without having to worry about that ingrown hair that keeps coming back.

That follicular tragedy of whom we speak is Marco Rubio. Rubio, the troubled soul who re-entered the Senate race to fill his own seat (talk about gymnastics!) after failing to capture any interest in the presidential race.

Not only is Rubio politically carpetbagging on the Pulse tragedy of June 12 – he made a visit here a few weeks ago, just before the cameras left, and refused to admit that this was in fact a crime against LGBT people; he’s back on the Aug. 12 anniversary to speak out against gays at the convention center along with, gasp, Donald Trump – but he’s grandstanding on issues that are far out of his rather shallow depth.

The gay and Latino votes he’s trying to massage – those associated with the Pulse tragedy victims still reeling in grief; votes also associated with allies steeped in common decency – aren’t Rubio’s only misguided targets. Rubio, a social conservative despite the fact that he got his by his Very Difficult Upbringing via the emigration of his parents to the U.S. (so, duh, he hates immigrants), is known to go on conservative legislative benders in between not showing up for votes.

When the news broke of 422 Zika cases ostensibly derived from mosquitos the Republican Party is harvesting in Florida, Rubio leapt straight to abortion. In a hot breath of intersectionality, Rubio has taken the Zika scourge into the realm of reproductive rights.

He said in a recent interview with Politico on the issue, “I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life.”

Except those lives that actually need to be protected, apparently.

Murphy’s Law

UpRisings_PatrickMurphy

Tensions have been high between progressives and “establishment” Democrats since time immemorial, but with the recent spotlight on the Democratic National Committee’s swirls of influence-peddling and scale-stepping – not to mention an unnecessarily divisive contest between two qualified candidates for president, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – the kitchen is only getting hotter.

Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat presents an interesting case study. Though presidential nominee Clinton has publicly mended fences with former opponent Sanders the rift is strong further down the ballot. Palm Beach Congressman Patrick Murphy has gained support from President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and, well, Clinton. All of which leaves Grayson – whose grass roots run deeper than most in the political field – in a conundrum. That’s politics, right?

Well, add another to the list. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer officially endorsed Murphy for the Senate on Aug. 8, calling him “the leader that my city and our state needs in the U.S. Senate.”

This should get ugly quickly.

In the background

UpRisingsHillaryClintonThe internet was abuzz on the morning of Aug. 9, just one day after Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Tampa Bay area and Kissimmee on a campaigning blitz.

“We want everybody to understand. We have an agenda that we’re going to get working on the very first day that includes new jobs and infrastructure, comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship,” she said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “We are going to keep our country safe, and yes, we are going to go after to gun lobby and pass some common sense gun-safety measures.”

Pundits with magnifying glasses quickly took to looking behind Clinton, though, where the father of Pulse killer Omar Mateen, Seddique Mateen, was seated, apparently in support. When asked by television outlet WPTV whether people would be surprised to see him at a Clinton rally, Mateen said no.

“Why should they be surprised?” he said. “I love the United States and I’ve been living here a long time.”

Hacking the rig

UpRisings_BallotBoxIf there are two terms we’ve grown tired of – just two terms among many, mind – this election season, they are “rigged” and “hacked.” The former implies a dismissive slice of sore losing; the latter, an active, Julian Assange-based bit of Watergate-to-Wikileak espionage.

This week, the statewide association of supervisors tried to put the convoluted controversies to rest. There are backup plans, you see. You can’t hack paper.

“At the core of the security of Florida voting systems is the fact that we are a paper ballot state. Florida law mandates that ‘all voting’ be by the markstone ballot … Should any disruption or corruption in the transmission of vote totals occur, we can always refer to the original paper ballot.”

Also, the association’s president reminded people that even electronic voting systems are not internet-based, and other security measures are in place to protect from voter fraud.

In other words, we aren’t dealing with hanging chads anymore. We’ve learned our lesson.

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