The Endorsement Of Bill Nelson

This is the first of what will be several 2018 endorsements. Often in races a true progressive will not present themselves; it appears the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Florida will be one of those races. Monday, via Twitter, term limited Florida Governor Rick “The Fifth” Scott to nobody’s surprise announced he would seek the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. While Nelson is not a pure progressive I want to make it clear that this endorsement is of the vastly superior candidate and far from a lesser of two evils situation!  

To say Scott has a flawed character is an understatement of monumental proportion. The moniker “The Fifth” stems from what I assume is a record for having pled the Fifth Amendment 75 times in a single deposition. Scott is a wealthy businessman who appears to have made most of his money via illegal practices in the health care industry. As Governor he has championed causes from which he personally could profit. The fact that he was one of the early Trump supporters and remains both a loyal Trump supporter and frequent Mar-a-Lago guest is not surprising to me. In fact it makes me think of an old adage about birds of a feather.

The biggest knock against Nelson will be his age. He will be 76 on Election Day. Florida has long been an American retirement haven so that will not be nearly as big a factor as it might be in several other states.

Nelson has spent a career in government service. He was born in Miami, raised in Melbourne, began college at the University of Florida then transferred to Yale to complete undergrad and eventually earned a law degree at the University of Virginia. Nelson completed the dream of any boy who grew up on Florida’s Space Coast when he was an astronaut on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

While his military experience is somewhat limited, Nelson served in the Army Reserve and rose to the rank of Captain.

Gun regulation is sure to be one of the issues in this campaign. Scott has a lifetime “A” rating from the NRA; Nelson an “F”. Scott is certain to tout Florida’s recent gun regulations which he signed into law. While they were good they were also little more than a drop in the bucket. They came in response to the relentless pressure and publicity generated by the student survivors of the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at a Florida high school. When those same students came to Scott’s office in Tallahassee he was too busy to see them. Instead he sent out an aide who offered the students the “opportunity” to submit a single question or remark which she would relay to the Governor.

Nelson has a record of supporting sensible gun regulations and didn’t need multiple tragedies or an office full of student survivors to make him see the light. In fact Nelson voted for Manchin-Toomey. I’ll let you decide who is trying to keep Floridians safe from gun violence while respecting their Second Amendment rights.

Another way for government to help protect the people is by making health care available and accessible. Nelson voted for Obamacare. Scott refused to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid in Florida (which Nelson publically called for). However Rick “The Fifth” did support drug testing public assistance applicants. Did the fact one of his family owned businesses stood to profit from the drug testing influence that decision?

Nelson is not afraid to take a moral stand even if it may be a bit unpopular or it puts him on the losing side. He was the lone committee vote opposing funding for the CIA until they stopped “enhanced interrogation techniques” a/k/a torture. He also voted not to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

I am still among those skeptical of the Democrats’ chances of retaking the Senate in 2018. The numbers simply do not look good and the path is extremely narrow. The current Senate is in reality 51-49 Republican meaning the Democrats need to net two seats in November. I can see two somewhat probable (but far from guaranteed) pickups. However even in that case takeover is dependent on what history would teach us is the improbable outcome that the Democrats successfully defend every seat they currently hold. This much is certain: every Senate seat is of major importance, with Florida being a purple state this race will be expensive and tight.

America needs Bill Nelson and it certainly doesn’t need Rick “The Fifth” Scott. Without any reservation endorses Bill Nelson for reelection to the United States Senate from the State of Florida.

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