Six Mistakes Ron DeSantis’s Martha’s Vineyard Resettlement Critics Are Making

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On Wednesday, about 50 migrants from Venezuela arrived at Martha’s Vineyard Airport from Texas (via a brief stop in Florida), courtesy of two charter airplanes hired by the administration of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. By midday Friday, they were gone, whisked away to a military base on Cape Cod by the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

They originally crossed the United States border in Texas. (Just several dozen out of the more than 7,000 a day coming into Texas from Mexico.)

DeSantis, who is simultaneously running for re-election as governor of Florida in 2022 and president of the United States in 2024, took credit for sending them north, as a kind of political exclamation point.

How has that action been received locally?

Well, not just badly, but wrongly. Here are six examples:


1.  Martha’s Vineyard Was Treated Unfairly

Martha’s Vineyard voters went for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in November 2020 by 77 to 20 percent.

Biden’s lowest percentage among the six towns was 70. Trump’s highest was 27. Three of the six towns gave Biden more than 80 percent support. Lovely Chilmark – whose tiny population still has more than enough well-known (if aging) talent to sustain a left-wing telethon — went for Biden 86-12.

What did Candidate Biden stand for?

Here’s one major item:

“Welcome immigrants in our communities.”

Here’s another:

“Reassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees.”

How would you say he’s doing?

No, strike that.  How would Martha’s Vineyard say he’s doing?

Because Martha’s Vineyard voters effectively voted for Biden’s immigration policies by almost four-to-one.

Not that they ever thought they’d be directly affected by them, of course.

But why shouldn’t they be?


2.  Edgartown:  The Dachau of Whaling Ports

Massachusetts Congressman Bill Keating (D-Bourne) made a comparison between charter airplanes to the Vineyard and sealed trains to Nazi death camps.

“History does not look kindly on leaders who treat human beings like cargo, loading them up and sending them a thousand miles away without telling them their destination,” Keating, a Democrat, said in a written statement.

Hmmm … One of these things is not like the other.

The Vineyard’s Edgartown, where the Venezuelans spent two nights, is the same place Barack and Michelle Obama live during the nicer parts of the year. It’s also where Stephen Spielberg shot one of his movies. (Let’s see … was that Jaws … or Schindler’s List?)

At St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, where the Venezuelans stayed, they were two-tenths of a mile from the Edgartown Yacht Club. The last time any war crimes were committed there concerned a 10-percent tip to the waitress for a party of twelve.

Also:  Can we have an investigation into why the Obamas’ offer to let the Venezuelans stay at their 6,892-square-foot summer place on Edgartown Great Pond was turned down?

They did make that offer, right?


3.  It’s Racist To Send Latinos To Martha’s Vineyard Off-Season

Massachusetts state Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) said DeSantis engaged in “fundamentally racist tactics” by sending Venezuelans to Martha’s Vineyard.


Didn’t he just introduce Latinos into a Latino-starved environment?

For a brief moment, when the Venezuelans were in the town of West Tisbury portion of Martha’s Vineyard Airport, they doubled the Latino population there. (There were 53 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census.)

Edgartown was 2 percent Latino in 2020. Is that all they can handle?  Have they filled their quota?

Or is it racist to send Latino migrants to one of the most highly-sought-after vacation spots in America?


4.  Martha’s Vineyard Can’t Handle Migrants

Martha’s Vineyard has about 17,000 year-round residents. Then 50 more showed up.

But to hear Democrats describe it, you’d think it was the Mariel Boat Lift.

Michael O’Keefe, the outgoing Cape and Islands district attorney, put his finger on the real problem during an interview with a reporter from The Martha’s Vineyard Times. O’Keefe, a Republican, refused to condemn DeSantis, as he was apparently given multiple chances to do.

Here’s the money paragraph in the story:


In response to comments that Martha’s Vineyard does not have an existing infrastructure or plan to handle a situation such as this, and is not set up in a way that allows the Island to be prepared for an influx of migrants, O’Keefe responded, “and Arizona and New Mexico are?”


Exactly. No one in the country is set up for tens of thousands of migrants coming across the border, which is what the Biden administration is enabling.

Immigration may never have a satisfactory outcome until the effects of it are felt by more people who vote in elections.


5.  Such A Cruel Journey … To Martha’s Vineyard

“Cruel” is the word most commonly used by professional Democrats to describe DeSantis’s action.

How were the Venezuelans treated cruelly?

They went from a mezza-mezza place in Texas to a really nice place in Massachusetts. Their needs have been taken care of every step of the way.

DeSantis didn’t imagine authorities in Massachusetts turning non-English-speaking Venezuelan migrants out into 66-degree weather on their own. He imagined their having to deal with the problem.

Which they have.


6.  ‘Special Place In Hell’

The Boston Globe editorialized on DeSantis (and other Republican governors doing comparable things):

“There is surely a special place in hell reserved for those who treat immigrants as so much refuse to be deposited without notice for no other reason than to cause chaos and generate headlines.”

Just a few follow-up questions …

Do you actually believe in Hell?  Or is that more of a rhetorical device?

“Refuse” in the sense you use it means “trash.”  In what sense were the Venezuelan migrants treated like trash? They quite likely have a better situation this weekend than they would have had if they had stayed in Texas.

And about this business of “no other reason” …

Why, isn’t 2024 just two years away?

Ron DeSantis is closer to the presidency of the United States at this moment than anyone currently in Congress or the Cabinet.

Joe Biden is un-electable in 2024. Kamala Harris is un-nominatable. The Congressional bench is thin.  (Elizabeth Warren made a top ten list of The Washington Post. So did AOC.  ‘Nuff said.) The Cabinet contenders are thinner.  (Mayor Pete?  Really?)

The Democrats’ best bet would be to nominate an obscure governor with at least mythical achievements that are hard to denigrate. (Not Gavin Newsom, not Gretchen Whitmer, both of whom are easy to pillory over their coronavirus dictums and hypocrisy, among other things.)  Such a person could conceivably win a general election as a dark horse candidate if the conditions were otherwise right.

But barring that, DeSantis is just about unstoppable in a general election.

The only person who can stop him, in fact, is a Republican:  Donald Trump.  DeSantis would have a hard time winning the GOP nomination over Trump. Trump would have a hard time winning the general election over anyone not named Hillary or Joe.

So DeSantis has to walk a fine line – drive up his own popularity among Republicans to make Trump think pursuing the nomination isn’t worth it … while not offending Trump … while convincing Trump that DeSantis would pursue Trump’s key policies, thus making himself at least theoretically acceptable to Trump.

DeSantis is therefore in a race with Trump’s popularity, policy goals, and ego.

Sending 50 Venezuelans to Martha’s Vineyard helps get him closer to the goal.


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