'It's Going to Be Ugly': Democrats Are Virtually Throwing In the Towel in Florida - Report


National Democrats are forgetting about Florida.

That was the message from a Thursday report in liberal-friendly news outlet Politico, which described Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as well on his way to crushing his Democratic opposition, and the state party as hopelessly dispirited and disorganized.

And the effects could be important well beyond the November midterms.

Politico being Politico, it said the situation had “dire implications” for the 2024 presidential election — a more neutral adjective might be “major” or “crucial,” but set that aside. The article contained some hard facts that would be “dire” to anyone firmly in the Sunshine State’s Democratic camp.

The Democratic Governors Association — a group that literally exists to “support Democratic governors and candidates across the nation” — is apparently not all that interested in supporting the Democratic candidate for governor in Florida.

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It has kicked in only $685,000 this year, according to Politico. In a state the size of Florida, that’s pocket change when it comes to political spending. In the previous two races for governor, the same organization spent a combined $14 million, Politico reported.

And speaking of money, outside donors who have given heavily in the past, like big-money Michael Bloomberg, are apparently deciding political investments will get better dividends elsewhere.

On the ground, DeSantis is such a dominant force against his opponent, Charlie Crist — a former Republican, a former governor and a former congressman — that the Republican has a real shot at winning in places like Miami-Dade County, where he lost by 20 points in 2018.

In 2018, DeSantis was battling Democrat Andrew Gillum, the progressive former mayor of Tallahassee who checked pretty much every box Democrats could have asked for. He was young, black, and he made no secret of his progressive priorities. DeSantis beat him by a hair — less than half a percentage point, according to Politico.

(Gillum checked a few more Democratic boxes two years later, first when he was found in March 2020 in an “inebriated state” in a Miami hotel room with an apparent overdose victim who turned out to be a male prostitute. The following September, Gillum announced he’s bisexual. All he has to do now is start managing drag queen shows at kindergartens and he’ll be a Democrat’s dream.)

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Evan Ross, a veteran South Florida Democratic consultant and former Crist supporter who publicly urged Crist not to run for governor this year, sees Democratic disaster ahead.

“The only thing that might give Charlie Crist a chance of becoming governor would be DeSantis aggressively campaigning for him over the next two weeks,” Ross told Politico. “Translation: It’s over. And it’s going to be ugly.”

Considering the fireworks that flew in the debate between DeSantis and Crist on Monday, it’s a pretty good bet DeSantis won’t be abandoning his bid to cheer for Charlie anytime soon. Which means it’s going to be ugly, indeed, if you’re a Democrat.

According to the most recent Real Clear Politics polling average, DeSantis has an 11-point lead over Crist. An 11-point difference might not be the result on Election Day, but with less than two weeks to go and with candidates Florida voters are well acquainted with, the bottom line is probably already written.

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In the race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, Democrat Val Demings is making a closer run at unseating Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, but not by much. Real Clear Politics’ most recent polling average has Rubio 7.4 points ahead.

But the Democrats are showing little in the way of organization or coordination, Politico reported.

The outlet described a Jacksonville event aimed at promoting the party’s statewide chances. The only candidate to appear was Crist, with a dismal turnout.

“You had the Democratic gubernatorial candidate on his … bus tour in arguably one of the strongest Democratic performing swing counties and best-organized ground games, and you had 50 or 60 people show up?” Democratic consultant Matthew Van Name told Politico. “2022 is one of the most uncomfortable and segmented cycles I’ve seen.”

Now, it’s important to note that a lot of this is not exactly new. Florida Democrats haven’t held a legislative majority or the governor’s office in this century. The fact that they have a former Republican as their current candidate for governor speaks volumes about how weak the Democratic bench is.

The fact that this is actually Crist’s second time running as the Democratic candidate for governor — he lost to now-Sen. Rick Scott in 2014 — speaks even louder about how long that bench has been bare.

But this goes beyond the November elections. Florida, with its 30 Electoral College votes, is one of the crown jewels of any presidential race. The diversity of its population also makes it reflective of the country as a whole — and Florida’s voting pool is now more Republican than Democratic.

DeSantis is the most widely talked about potential Republican nominee for 2024, besides former President Donald Trump. And it’s worth remembering that Trump himself is now a Florida resident who won the state by about 3 percent in 2020 (an improvement over his victory in 2016, when he won by less than 1 percent).

The GOP unquestionably has the very early edge for keeping the state Republican in two years’ time.

Democrats pulling out of Florida isn’t like Republicans unable to compete in blue behemoths like New York, California, Illinois and the like; decades of entrenched political machines and entitlement buy-offs have pretty well sewn them up and trapped their populations in liberal misery. (Even if the GOP’s Lee Zeldin pulls off an Empire State upset in November’s governor’s race, Democratic power in Albany will almost certainly keep New York state part of the Democratic gulag.)

A Florida firmly entrenched in the red column would be a sign of hope in a country that has had too little of it since Jan. 20, 2021.

Under a unified Democratic government, life in the U.S. by every practical measure has gone downhill. Inflation’s rising, crime is up, and 64 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to a recent poll.

More to the point, Florida’s population is growing as the rest of the country — very much including New Yorkers — sees the competence DeSantis and his conservative approach brought to Florida in the depths of the COVID pandemic.

Florida’s not just growing redder — it’s growing, period. And it’s happening while New York and California lose residents.

If there’s a better illustration of the difference between the philosophies of conservatives and liberals, or the results of government by Republicans and Democrats, it would be hard to find.

And it might be the brightest sign for the future in a country currently mired under the brazen, buffoonish villainy of the doddering Joe Biden, the Cruella de Vil machinations of Nancy Pelosi, and the smarmy superiority of Chuck Schumer.

If national Democrats can forget about Florida, the rest of the nation won’t.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.