Appeared at 6:00 pm ET, February 19, 2019
Democrats are becoming increasingly painful in the nation's theoretically highest swing state. In 2020 there is too much at stake to be able to do it again.
When Ron DeSantis was sworn in as Florida's 46th governor last month, the Sunshine State Democrats hung in disbelief after losing another critical nationwide race for the lowest margins. Across the country, the Democrats had collected seven governorships and 40 seats, but Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum lost just 0.4 percentage points in the Gubernatorial race. And Senator Bill Nelson – who has been one of the few statewide standard democratic bearers in the past two decades – was deposed by Republican Rick Scott with 10,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast members.
The blue wave swept across the land had risen once more before reaching Florida's shore.
Close Florida losses are always followed by analysis and debt. In the presidential elections in 2000, the Chads hung; In the 2010 Gubernatorial race it was Obamacare. In the Gubernatorialrennen 2014 it was Zika. and now in 2018 it was a flawed election in Broward County.
But questions remain: why are the Democrats of Florida becoming more and more painful in the nation's theoretically most important swing state? Is Republican targeting, opinion polling and reach much better?
Republican Ron DeSantis will be sworn in Tallahassee on January 8, 2019 as Florida's 46th governor. (Photo11: Andrew Salinero, USA TODAY NETWORK)
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How Democrats could blow it in 2020
I'm a former congressman in Florida, and my vote was down because of signature & # 39; mismatch & # 39; declined.
As the Democratic candidate against Marco Rubio in the 2016 US Senate Competition, I experienced firsthand the heartbeat of a nationwide loss. Although they received virtually every newsprint and sent a message of work across the corridor, the negative attacks and money from outside continued. I argued with Donald Trump's dwarfism and showed opinion polls that showed a competing race, but the campaign ended in more despair in Florida.
Democrats can and should do better, starting with our presidential candidate in 2020. Here are the questions we need to address in order to win nationwide.
Do not ignore voters in non-selected years
First, the immense size of the state makes it nearly impossible to fight tens of millions of dollars. With 10 TV markets in two time zones, it costs more than $ 2 million per week to reach everyone with campaign ads. Before you consider digital ads, radio ads and campaign emails, you should take this into account.
Second, Florida has an extremely diverse population, and turnout among color voters is unpredictable, especially in the medium term. The Cubans have historically been faithful to the Republican Party, while the younger voters from Puerto Rico and Central and South America are gaining more and more political influence. These groups are not monolithic, let alone immigration, and they need more than one election year to stay active. African-American voters, many of whom live in major cities such as Miami and Jacksonville, are often ignored by October of the election year.
Third, it takes a disciplined candidate to deliver a message that is expressed in many different regions of Florida. One could think of Florida as an amalgam of six or seven states, each with its own peculiarities and cultures. There are Snowbirds with democratic leanings in Palm Beach, retirees with Republicans in the villages, and millions in the panhandle, Central Florida, and the Keys in between.
Democrats can not afford another heartbreaker
The Democrats believed they had found the winning combination in 2018 – the brave Nelson would call on the moderate and rural voters who had held him in office for a generation, while the liberal Gillum would issue Progressive and minority voters at a historic pace. Despite a national electorate that had almost nine democratic points, both failed.
This dilemma has no silver bullet, but Democrats will have to solve it soon if we want to stay competitive. We need to use minority voters effectively, and not just in election years. We must have a grassroots foundation and fundraising base that can be used in each cycle. We need to support a bank of future nationwide candidates who can turn to countless communities across the country. We need to register thousands of ex-offenders whose voting rights have recently been restored through a campaign of electoral initiative.
And we have to fight for votes in the small cities along Florida's Interstate 95 and I-4 Corridors, not just in the major population centers. Is it any wonder that voters there have turned so completely to the GOP? There is no reason why the economic message of the Democrats can not compete with republican bad luck.
Until we find a formula that works, the Democrats of Florida will sneak past our counterparts in Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina in the president's swing-state presidential chain. The 2020 race is upon us and we can not afford another hurtful loss that is so at stake here in Florida and across the country.
Patrick Murphy, Senior Fellow at Florida International University, Miami, represented the 18th district of Florida in Congress from 2013 to 2017 and was the Democratic candidate for the US Senate in 2016. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickMurphyFL
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