Chris Christie: Florida Republicans must stand firm against the Bernie Sanders agenda

On Nov. 3, 2020, President Trump will be reelected to a second term. That is unless Republicans

serving in Congress and in state houses throughout the country mess it up for him by capitulating to the Bernie Sanders agenda.

It is up to Republicans to support the president and shine a bright light on the Democrats’ repeated efforts to pull America toward socialism. It is up to Republican leaders -- senators, representatives, governors -- particularly in the battleground states -- to have President Trump’s back and frame the election on the terms he defined during his State of the Union address in February:

“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence -- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

Do Americans want to continue with the greatest period of economic prosperity our country has experienced in more than a quarter of a century? Or do they want to throw it all away and embrace the socialist agenda championed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? 

That is one of the choices Americans will face when they head to the polls 18 months from now.

While replicating the 2016 map is the clearest and most direct path to victory for the president, he is going to take full advantage of his incumbency to go on offense and expand the electoral map in states he came within striking distance of winning in 2016.

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All of that means nothing though if President Trump loses Florida. If the Democrats win Florida, it’s over, and Donald J. Trump will go down in history as a one-term president.

I have to give Bernie Sanders and the Democrats credit. In a state with a Republican governor, a Republican Senate, and a Republican House, the Democrats somehow managed to get Florida Republicans to do their work for them.

Republicans in the state most important to President Trump’s reelection are on the verge of handing Bernie Sanders’s socialist ideas a win they could never have achieved on their own. Florida Republicans are getting ready to approve the same drug importation scheme that Bernie Sanders has been pushing in the U.S. Senate since 2017.

Vermont has already passed Sanders’ scheme, and now Florida Republicans are trying to do the same. The idea sounds simple: Import drugs from Canada, a country where the government sets the price, so people can supposedly get cheaper drugs. But like any socialist policy, the consequences will be devastating because of the health and economic risks it brings with it.

This scheme would let in dangerous drugs that will harm people and not save anyone a dime. Law enforcement experts, former FDA officials and many others agree: drug importation poses too much risk. 

It’s not just dangerous; it will also damage our role as a world-leader for innovation. It imports socialism and foreign government price controls that will make it harder for America to invent new treatments for deadly diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans in the legislature are getting ready to normalize socialism and bestow it with the credibility of bipartisanship. And in doing so, they’re risking President Trump’s greatest political weapon in 2020; they’re risking his ability to define the Democrats and the Democrats alone as pursuing a socialist agenda. To make matters worse, they’re doing this in Florida of all places. This is political malpractice.

How should Republicans deal with the socialist agenda? Look at Mitch McConnell. It was a stroke of genius by McConnell and Republicans in the U.S. Senate to hold Democrats accountable for their socialist agenda.

One only needs to look at how all six Democratic presidential candidates serving in the Senate voted on a resolution supporting the creation of the Green New Deal. 43 Democratic Senators voted “present.” Despite all of their public pronouncements of support on the campaign trail, not one Democratic senator running for president was willing to vote “Yea.” Not even Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren was willing to go on the record with a “Yea” vote.

Gov. DeSantis and Florida Republicans would do well to take a page out of President Trump’s playbook. You don’t beat the Democrats by joining them; you beat them by exposing them. Expose this drug importation scheme for what it is -- the next step in the socialist agenda advocated by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

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On Nov. 3, 2020, President Trump will be reelected to a second term. That is unless in Congress and in state houses throughout the country we capitulate to bad ideas. Gov. DeSantis would not be governor today were it not for President Trump. Let’s not repay that loyalty by risking Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

If Donald Trump loses Florida, he’ll be a one-term president. That will only happen if we do not stand up and call these ideas exactly what they are -- moving America towards socialism. America deserves better from Florida. President Trump deserves better from Florida. Floridians do not want socialism. Neither do mainstream Americans. Let’s not open the door to it in Florida.