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Can Biden Snatch Florida on One Issue?

The president cruises the Sunshine State with a free-for-all abortion dream.

President Joe Biden has a dream. Win the state of Florida on the only issue his administration can tout: abortion rights. But he’s not heading into murky, purplish territory. The Sunshine State is lopsided in favor of the GOP by nearly one million registered voters, and the state’s legislative body plans to implement a six-week abortion ban on May 1. Perhaps his recent Tampa campaign stop will redirect Floridians’ attention away from the economy, immigration, and inflation. Well, he can hope.

As is the norm these days, Biden was met with protesters, from Students for Life to USF Students for a Democratic Society and Bay Area Dream Defenders (one on the right and more on the left), holding signs that read: “Say no to Genocide Joe.” That’s a current optics problem for young progressive voters who want support for Hamas-ruled Palestine.

Nevertheless, disregarding his former fan base, Biden managed to leave Air Force One via the short steps. After a few waves and grins, he was off to take the stage at Hillsborough Community College’s Dale Mabry campus to try to convince his audience of invitation-only supporters to vote for him and Vice President Kamala Harris so they can “finish the job.”

Of course, Florida Republicans welcomed Joe and sent a missive: “Floridians’ top issues are immigration, the economy, and inflation; in all three areas, Joe Biden has failed. Instead of coming to talk to Floridians about manufactured issues, he should get to work solving the real issues that he has failed to lead on,” said Republican Party of Florida Chairman Evan Power. “We also welcome him to learn from the successes that have made Florida a beacon of freedom for the rest of the country.”

Not the warmest welcome, but sound advice, nonetheless.

Biden Administration Abortion Semantics

Biden nearly stuck to the script: “Reproductive freedom” has replaced the word abortion in the administration’s terminology playbook. Let’s face it: Calling oneself a pro-abortionist is rather sinister. But, hey, throw in freedom, and now you can sway the GOP. No matter the abuse of Roe v. Wade and finger-wagging at former President Donald Trump, winning the state likely will take more than Biden can deliver.

GettyImages-2149335738 Joe Biden

Joe Biden (Photo by Paul Hennessy/Anadolu via Getty Images)

He began by putting a number on the imminent six-week ban: “This ban will affect four million women in Florida.” That number he may have pulled out of thin air. According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which keeps track of this procedure, from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2023, Florida performed 72,087 abortions. And 6,566 out-of-state residents were included in that tally. Then he mumbled something about Florida being one of “the 25 one states.” What Biden did not say was the inconvenient fact that 97% of procedures were “elective.” Like a nose job or facelift. Only 3% were medically needed.

And just like Harris, nearly to a perfect echo, he claimed it was all Trump’s fault, “and he brags about it.”

The president rehashed the events in Arizona, where the state’s supreme court upheld an archaic law prohibiting an abortion of any kind unless the mother’s life is threatened. The Democratic governor, Katie Hobbs, is working to rectify the issue with the former president’s encouragement.

But Biden slogged on in a room full of friendlies calling for Trump to “be held accountable” and warning women Trump’s presidency will set women’s rights back to the 1950s. Asking to be returned for another four years, he promised: “Elect a Democratic Congress, and Kamala and I will make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again.”

And then he went stage left instead of right, took a shuffling stumble, and disappeared behind the curtain. The whole rally lasted just 15 minutes.

Cause and Effect

Although Florida will assume the six-week ban on May 1, voters will have an opportunity to reverse it with Amendment 4, a citizen ballot initiative guaranteeing abortion rights in the state constitution. It would permit abortions up to the point of viability, as determined by a physician.

The US Supreme Court’s decision to rescind Roe v. Wade had a domino effect, rendering the House of Representatives nearly immobile in 2022. It absolutely stopped an expected red wave. But almost two years later, with the real threat of war brimming over to the US, Bidenomics, inflation, and immigration dominate poll numbers nationwide. Biden has only one issue, and as the campaign hits the emotional button, no voters seem to want to hang their hopes on abortion.

Instead, voters want border security, a good full-time job, and the ability to feed their kids. Abortion doesn’t seem to be the most powerful issue in election 2024. Despite prettying up the language and throwing in the word freedom, it’s doubtful it will convince Floridians to opt for four more years of Joe Biden.

Read More From Sarah Cowgill

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