Anger as Republican sets out bill to abolish the Democratic party in Florida

State lawmakers in Florida are being slammed for a "downright authoritarian" bill introduced to the legislature that would ban the state's Democratic Party under the ostensible pretence of disenfranchising political parties that supported slavery in their national platforms.

The bill, called "The Ultimate Cancel Act," was filed on Tuesday by GOP state Senator Blaise Ingoglia, and would require the state's Division of Elections to "immediately cancel" any filings originating from a political party whose platform "previously advocated for, or been in support of, slavery or involuntary servitude."

The bill doesn't explicitly name the Democratic Party, but critics claim it was crafted specifically to target the Republicans' political opponents.

In the mid-1800's, Democrats — and Southern Democrats in particular —supported slavery. In the 19th and 20th centuries, both the Republicans and the Democrats underwent a realignment during which their values and policies drastically changed. This change reached a head following the stock market crash of 1929 and the ascension of Democrat Franklin D Roosevelt to president.

After his predecessor, Republican President Herbert Hoover, chose not to intervene after the crash, Mr Roosevelt's platform of government intervention in the markets, financial support for the impoverished, and a renewed focus on public welfare reshaped the Democratic Party's focus and values, while Republicans' opposition to his goals — in particular the growth of the federal government — set the foundation for the modern GOP.

The Florida Democratic Party has accused the state GOP of using a "publicity stunt" as a way to disenfranchise the party and its voters, according to NBC News.

“Presenting a bill that would disenfranchise 5 million voters is both unconstitutional and unserious. Under Ron DeSantis, Senator Ingoglia is using his office to push bills that are nothing more than publicity stunts instead of focusing on the issues that matter most to Floridians,” the Florida Democratic Party said in its statement.

Blaise Ingoglia (AP)
Blaise Ingoglia (AP)

Mr Ingoglia himself all but admitted to the true nature of the bill in a news release, claiming it was designed to target Democrats and "leftist activists" who he said were trying to "cancel people and companies for things they have said or done in the past," including the "removal of statues and memorials and the renaming of buildings," NBC News reports.

It is often Republican lawmakers who fight against the removal of Confederate statues and object to the renaming of public places if they are named for Confederates or slave owners.

“Using this standard, it would be hypocritical not to cancel the Democrat Party itself for the same reason,” Mr Ingoglia said. “Some people want to have ‘uncomfortable conversations’ about certain subjects. Let’s have those conversations.”

Social media commenters noted the naked attempt to undermine democracy in the state.

"Members of the Maga GOP once again showing that if they ever take power again, they would do all they can to destroy democracy," a Twitter user using the handle Patriot1960 wrote.

Michael Mechanic, an editor at Mother Jones, noted Mr Ingoglia's selective history, suggesting the modern Republican Party would dismiss President Abraham Lincoln as "woke."

"Blaise Ingoglia seems mighty confused. Over the years, the postbellum Southern Democratic Party swapped roles with the Republican Party," he wrote. "Today's Republicans would loathe Abraham Lincoln and call him "woke."

If adopted by Florida's Republican-led legislature, the bill the bill "would require Florida officials to notify all registered voters who belong to any canceled parties that their parties no longer exist. It would also change their voter registrations to 'no party affiliation' and 'provide procedures' for those voters to update their affiliations to 'an active political party.'"