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Today on Context Florida: Ralph Nader, Donald Trump, Salt Shaker Test, Bernie Sanders and budget turkeys

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Today on Context Florida:

Some blamed hanging chad, others confusing ballots, but Peter Schorsch says the man many Democrats blame for Al Gore’s 537-vote defeat in Florida is Ralph Nader. Never mind those butterfly ballots that may have led to thousands of inadvertent votes for Pat Buchanan in Palm Beach County, nor the exit polls that showed more of his supporters would flock to George W. Bush than Gore. Bush’s 2000 victory was Nader’s fault.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s acerbic speaking style on the campaign trail rankles many, but focus needs to be turned to how his caustic approach would play out on the world stage. The shock and denial about Trump’s political rise is getting old, and Sarah Maricle Ayers believes it’s time to face the possibility that he, this time next year, may be steering U.S. national security decisions.

Bill Day’s latest:


The poll aggregating website, Real Clear Politics, shows a half-dozen polls released in the past three days alone. Additionally, Associated Industries of Florida has released a series of polls and a detailed analysis of their findings. Steve Vancore says if you’re paying even the slightest bit of attention, you are probably scratching your head over the differences – the WIDE differences – in Donald Trump’s lead. Some polls have his lead over Marco Rubio at more than 20 points, while others have the race down to single digits. Vancore explains why the two polls are different.

Catherine Durkin Robinson gives 12 reasons to vote for Bernie Sanders and the Florida primary on Tuesday.

With the state budget set to be passed, Bob Sparks notes that attention will soon turn to the process of identifying dubious local projects funded within the budget deal. Budget “turkeys,” as they are called, are held up for scorn by Florida TaxWatch and often vetoed by the governor. As governor, Jeb Bush established firm criteria for funding member projects. To escape his veto pen, projects must go through the full legislative process as well as have a statewide interest. Charlie Crist also whacked member projects during his term. Florida TaxWatch uses similar criteria to define turkeys. With the late insertion of more than $120 million in projects, TaxWatch and Gov. Rick Scott’s team will enter a target-rich environment.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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