Today Governor DeSantis signed HB 1557, the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill that aims to bar educators from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with young students in the classroom and represents an egregious affront to American democratic values. We condemn the legislators that voted in favor of the bill and the Governor for signing the bill into law. This represents the worst of our fears despite the advances we have made in the last ten years. Our moment to take action and protect our LGBTQ community has come again. We need to show up at the ballot box to ensure anti-LGBTQ and anti-democracy lawmakers are voted out of office.
All in all, Florida’s 2022 legislative session saw little more than partisan lawmakers pandering to their far-right base by waging culture wars against their LGBTQ constituents, women, people of color, and the environment. In the process, they also handed Governor Ron DeSantis considerable political ammunition as the leading polarizing figure of the 2022 midterm elections.
With the legislative session now behind us, there’s no time to wallow, and we must urgently recognize how critical these elections in August and November will be. The reality is that we’re grossly outnumbered against anti-LGBTQ politicians and, as always, preparedness and organization are paramount as we fight to keep the future of LGBTQ equality from slipping away.
Elections in August and November are as critical as those in 2020.
Donald Trump may not be on the ballot in Florida’s 2022 midterm elections, but Governor DeSantis and his followers certainly are. And like the former president, this cunning careerist leading the state has emerged as a formidable champion of national conservative causes since assuming Florida’s governorship in 2019.
From banning free speech around gender identity and sexual orientation, to policing women’s bodies with a 15-week ban on abortion, DeSantis connivingly exploited this year’s legislative session to advance his political ambitions, which may include running for POTUS in 2024.
Before his stardom continues to rise nationally, however, DeSantis must first win a second term as Florida Governor. As we fight for the future of LGBTQ equality in this country, steering the outcome of November’s gubernatorial election could be our most historically decisive battle yet. And we must also begin to balance the legislature by making sure that pro-equality lawmakers are voted into office. While we may be grossly outnumbered, the path to a more moderate state house begins now.
Pro-equality voters need to prepare.
With the Florida primaries approaching fast, it’s imperative that we begin preparing for the 2022 midterm elections now. We must prioritize voting for leaders with integrity who advance civil rights and liberties for all Americans, not cheap power mongers willing to sell out our freedom for political gain.
To ensure your vote counts, creating a personal plan for how you will vote is a key first step. In Florida, the primary will be held on August 23, followed by Election Day on November 8. Incumbent Governor Ron DeSantis is running for a second term. On the ballot will also be every Senate and House seat in the Florida legislature, including the Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio. Make sure you become familiarized with all the pro-equality candidates now so you can cast your votes accordingly when the time comes. Keep tabs of the SAVE endorsed candidates at www.WeVote.miami.
Conversations matter more than political ads.
A well-organized get-out-the-vote campaign is the most effective way for us to turn elections around. Not political ads, but rather one-on-one dialog as a means of squashing misinformation, combating ignorance, and winning hearts and minds across our communities.
At SAVE, we believe that if you’re not canvassing, then you’re not doing the work necessary to garner the votes we need to win. In today’s political reality, anything short of knocking on doors amounts to little more than slacktivism. To this end, we are deploying our teams of trained volunteers to engage South Florida’s voters in transformative conversations with the dual aim of informing, but also listening to advance our own knowledge of the populace voice.
The outcome of Florida’s 2022 midterm elections will determine the future of our state and, by extension, that of American democracy itself. We urge you to join our canvassing actions and help us rally pro-equality voters in the months leading up to the elections. A donation at the SAVE website will also go a long way in helping our organization stay in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Find a way to get involved in the field, even if it’s not through SAVE. What matters most is that we all do our part, however small, while time is still on our side.