After U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won the Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday with a substantial 59.7 percent of the vote, he shot himself in the foot.
That was a metaphoric shot in the foot, mind you, so we didn’t include a trigger warning. And although I just used the word “trigger,” I didn’t …
In a November general election that commentators say will be determined by voter turnout, Crist told some voters to go away — those who supported Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The three-term congressman and former Florida governor, commissioner of education and state attorney general actually said that.
“Those who support DeSantis should stay with him and vote for him and I don’t want your vote. If you have that hate in your heart, keep it there,” Crist said.
“I want the vote of the people of Florida who care about our state — good Democrats, good independents, good Republicans,” he said.
“Unify with this ticket.”
Crist: “Those who support DeSantis should stay with him and vote for him and I don’t want your vote. If you have that hate in your heart, keep it there.” pic.twitter.com/S0B93bw52i
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 24, 2022
At least he didn’t use the word “deplorable” — although his comments brought to mind then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s remarks in 2016, as the DeSantis War Room account noted on Twitter:
Charlie Crist kicks off his first day as Florida’s Democrat gubernatorial nominee by accusing Floridians of having hate in our hearts.
Where have we heard this before? ? pic.twitter.com/6MLIQZMwPD
— DeSantis War Room (@DeSantisWarRoom) August 24, 2022
charlie: your terms are acceptable
— Christina Pushaw ? ?? (@ChristinaPushaw) August 24, 2022
Crist’s jettisoning of potential voters is reckless; he needs every one of them. Recent polls show him down by 8 points.
That means the congressman — who left the GOP in 2010 and became a Democrat two years later — should be working to peel away every DeSantis supporter that he can, rather than writing them off.
Crist is running in a state where Republican voter registration since 2016 has increased by 14 percent to 5.2 million, while Democrats increased by only 3 percent to 5 million.
What may be more critical to the Democratic candidate is that independent voter registrations have grown by 13 percent to 3.9 million.
Winning “good Democrats, good independents, good Republicans” may be more difficult when he flatly refuses to try to win people but tells them to get lost.
A parade of telling tweets followed Crist’s statement.
See these are the things that make it clear Charlie Crist is a grifter. If you were actually trying to win in a red-tinted purple state against a popular governor, u wouldn’t say stuff like that. But if you’re just trying to play to the Twitter crowd and raise money, have at it
— Darvio Morrow (@DTheKingpin) August 24, 2022
When has this strategy ever worked?
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 24, 2022
Did @CharlieCrist just say that DeSantis voters ‘hearts are filled with hate’?!
That’s a helluva way to speak about well over 3/4’s of Florida voters! #DeSantis2022
— Michael DeStefano (@mtd10mm) August 24, 2022
But some caution is warranted. National news reports are throwing cold water on the idea of a red wave in the November midterm elections.
That skepticism might be Democrats’ propaganda to rally their troops, or it might be Republicans’ messaging to take nothing for granted and get out the vote.
It can be a lesson to Team DeSantis – it ain’t over until it’s over.
After all, in 1992, George H.W. Bush was seen to be so unbeatable that the string of Democratic presidential challengers were being likened to human sacrifices similar to the theme of a then-popular movie, “Joe Versus the Volcano.”
Well, you can ask Bill Clinton how that election turned out.
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