State Democrats in Florida are in the midst of an internal battle for the future of their party following difficult losses in the 2020 election.
A relatively comfortable victory for President Donald Trump in the state coupled with disappointing down-ballot defeats has the national battle between progressives and establishment Democrats playing out in the sunshine state as well, according to new reporting from Politico.
Despite Joe Biden becoming the President-elect, one of the major stories out of election night was President Trump’s apparent overperformance among Latino voters, particularly in Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade is the most populous county in Florida and is about 65% Latino, according to the 2010 census.
Trump won 46% of the vote there, a sizable jump from winning just 34% in 2016. Politico interviewed a number of prominent Florida Democrats to get their take on what went wrong for the party in their state.
“The state leadership of the Biden campaign failed us,” said Daniela Ferrara, co-founder of Cubanos con Biden. Democrats’ inability to distance themselves from GOP messaging casting them as anti-police and pro-socialism hurt them with Latino voters in south Florida, Politico says.
“I’m not a f—ing socialist,” State Senator Jason Pizzo said following a post-election phone call among Florida state representatives, Politico reports. “My life is a manifestation of the American dream. I believe in free markets,
Being tied to national Democrats who are perceived by some to be shifting leftward was a consistent issue brought up by Politico’s interviewees. Washington-based political committee Forward Majority is under fire for wasting much of the $12 million they spent in the state trying to flip “unwinnable” house seats, Politico reports.
Several Democratic operatives on the ground also called out the Biden campaign specifically for not putting in the effort required to win the state back. “If we are waiting until September to do voter contact when the mail ballots are already arriving, we have lost already,” Maya Brown, a Tampa-based organizer said. Ferrara said that when it came to combatting the anti-socialist message, the Biden campaign simply didn’t recognize the threat. “There was always an excuse. It was almost as if they didn’t care. They didn’t see the impact of the socialism message.”
2020 is part of a continued struggle for Democrats to find success in Florida. The state hasn’t had a Democratic Governor in two decades or a Democrat-led legislature in a quarter of a century, Politico reported. They have only won one out of 12 statewide races since Barack Obama carried the state in 2012.
“Systematic change is what we need,” Anna Eskamani said, a progressive Democratic State Rep. who is considering a run for governor, according to Politico. “We can’t win more seats unless we lead with values and fight back and challenge corporate interests.
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