Democrats were bracing for a disaster in Florida on Nov. 8, with all the dire implications that would pose for the 2024 presidential election. Their worst fears proved well justified, as even the formerly blue bastion of Miami-Dade County, home to Miami and heavily populated with Hispanic voters, flipped red as part of a Republican blowout.
“In Florida, it’s catastrophic,” David Plouffe, ex-campaign manager for former President Barack Obama, bluntly stated on Democrat-aligned MSNBC. He was specifically referring to the “erosion” of Hispanic Democratic voters. “Obviously, we saw greater urgency in ’20 in the presidential race,” he continued. “Let’s remember, Barack Obama won in 2012, basically tied the Cuban vote, got over 77% of Hispanic votes. The Obama coalition in Florida is gone. We have to rebuild it now.”
Sunshine State Whupping
As expected, incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis was overwhelmingly re-elected, topping Democrat challenger Charlie Crist by a 59.4% to 40% margin. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also cruised to victory over Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) by a similarly decisive 57.7% to 41.3% count.
The triumph greatly buttresses DeSantis’ presidential hopes for 2024, or 2028 if he decides not to mount a primary challenge to former President Donald Trump, who is expected to announce his ’24 candidacy as soon as Nov. 15. “We have rewritten the political map. Thank you for honoring us with a win for the ages,” DeSantis declared in his victory speech. The governor’s reference to Miami-Dade County was not lost on Democrats, who see its loss as an alarming omen for the future. “We’re going to stand up for the truth, we’re going to stand up for the core principles that made this country great. And our state is the state where woke goes to die,” DeSantis had declared three days before the vote.
Democrats found the politics of racial division could not help them on Nov. 8. “My first year, we banned sanctuary cities, and news media thought that would be not approved down [in Miami]. And yet Hispanic voters in Florida had the highest approval rating for our policy to ban sanctuary cities,” DeSantis told Fox News prior to the election.
Progressives in Miami-Dade County appeared deeply shaken by the development. Radical Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago penned a reaction column mourning the ramifications. “Only the American flag and the official motto of the state of Florida — ‘In God We Trust’ — will be allowed in classrooms and on school district grounds,” she wrote. “Say goodbye to the proudly fluttering flags of the Americas during Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. No black, yellow and blue Bahamian flags to mark Black South Florida’s historic roots, either.”
Santiago could not fathom the notion that, far from being a nightmarish scenario for Hispanic Americans, this might be precisely what many of them were voting for.
Turning the Florida Key for 2024 Dominance
If Democrats can no longer rely on a monolithic minority voting bloc in vital Florida regions such as Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward and Palm Beach counties, political observers say their ability to compete in future elections all but evaporates. “These are counties that carry statewide Democrats year after year. They are urban liberal pockets in a state with plenty of deep red rural counties to counteract them,” Peter Schorsch at Florida Politics noted. “Without these strongholds, Democrats stand virtually no chance of competing on a statewide ballot. And with increased GOP turnout, it leaves local Democrats likewise in peril.”
Blue urban swatches sticking out like aircraft carriers amid a red sea of rural towns and counties have been a staple of recent electoral maps across the country in an increasingly divided United States. They have often proved enough for Democrats to win.
On Nov. 8, Ron DeSantis sunk those blue aircraft carriers in the Sunshine State. If Democrats can’t salvage and restore them to buoyancy two years from now, the once-bitterly contested battleground state of Florida will be a red haven. And Democrats will be dealt a severe handicap in any future presidential race.
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