No “red wave” but a colossal Florida “wipe out”

Commentary

Florida Dems consider borrowing California surfer song for their new theme

Thomas Friedman began his Times’ column today with this:

“You can hold off moving to Canada. You can forgo the call to the New Zealand Embassy on how to become a citizen there. Tuesday’s election really was the most important test since the Civil War of whether the engine of our constitutional system — our ability to peacefully and legitimately transfer power — remains intact. And it looks to have come through — a little dinged up, but OK.”

Titled, “America Dodged an Arrow,” he closed this way:

“In sum, we did not get a clean bill of health. We got a diagnosis that our political white blood cells did OK in beating back the metastasizing infection that threatened to kill our whole electoral system. But that infection is still here, which is why the doctor advised, ‘Behave in healthy ways, build back your strength and return in 24 months for another scan.’”

Friedman’s lede struck a chord with me; many readers who know me personally have been hearing me joke(?) for years about moving to another country as our American democracy declines. But maybe Tom is correct; with the care his doctor advised, America can recover.

The issue for me is that there is one really big place in this country which might be beyond recovery; where the “arrow wasn’t dodged.” And I happen to live in that big place: It’s called Florida!

If the U.S. is healing expatriating is probably not necessary. But after the 2022 midterms, Florida went directly to the ICU. So, before I think anew about redirecting my geographic aspirations, let me explain how bad is it really down here in the Sunshine State.

For quite some time, Florida has been described politically as a “swing state,” or a “battleground state,” or a “purple state.” Why these adjectives have been applied to Florida is, frankly, a mystery:

  • Florida hasn’t had a Democratic governor since 1999;
  • Of the 11 presidential elections held since 1980, Republican candidates won eight times, Democratic candidates three times (Clinton once; Obama twice);
  • Since 2000, there have been 60 different individuals representing Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives; 40 Republicans (67%) but just 20 Democrats (33%)

Now to be fair to the pundits, particularly regarding presidential elections, the victory margins have been close (the eight wins include Bush’s 2000 “win” over Gore…so maybe the count should be 7-1/2 to 3-1/2. But all that is past history. Today is today. And for me, today isn’t pretty!

The results of the 2022 midterms are in and for Florida Democrats it was a WIPEOUT!

  • Republicans swept all statewide positions!
  • Governor Ron DeSantis beat former Republican governor, now Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist by 20 percentage points! In 2018, in his first race for Governor, DeSantis beat former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum by a mere 0.42 percentage points!

Note: Shortly after losing the election, Gillum was found by police at a South Beach hotel accompanied by a man who was suspected to have overdosed on drugs. Police reported that Gillum was unable to talk to the police due to his “inebriated” state. But wait, there’s more. In June 2022, Gillum was indicted on 21 felony counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements for allegedly diverting money raised during the campaign. C’mon Florida Dems, is this the best we can do?

  • Senator Marco Rubio beat Democratic Representative and former Orlando chief of police Val Demings by 17 percentage points!
  • Republicans increased their majority margins in the State Senate from 23-16 (59%) to 28-12 (71%)!
  • Republicans increased their majority margins in the State House from 78-42 (65%) to an estimated 85-35 (71%)!
  • Of the 27 representatives Florida will send to the U.S. House in January, 20 (74%) will be Republicans up from 16 (59%) in the current Congress!
  • Miami-Dade County, once a deep blue bastion went for DeSantis, whose margin over Crist was 11.3 percentage points; Rubio’s margin over Demings in Miami-Dade was 9.5 points!
  • Palm Beach County, where I live, went for DeSantis 51% to 48%. In 2020 Biden took the county by 13 percentage points; in 2016 Clinton won the Palm Beach County by 16 percentage points!

I think I made my point (and I certainly have reached my quota of exclamation points in one story – OK, just one more for emphasis!).

The disaster that Democratic Florida has become is shocking. Where is the Florida Democratic Party leadership? Who’s been asleep at the switch watching this slide into irrelevance? I’ve already reached out to my Democratic Congresswoman’s office and staff. The Democratic Party of Florida is next. My question to both: What can I and like-minded Democrats do? We only have two years to get our act together. This is not just about canvassing; it’s not just about phone banks. We need a master plan. We need a strategy. We need to execute that strategy flawlessly with the best tactics we can muster. We, and I’m including every elected Florida Democrat no matter what their position as well as every Democratic party Poobah in this “we,” cannot let this continue. 

Borrowing from “Do You Hear the People Sing” from “Les Miserables,” “

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes

Folks, I fear that for Florida Democrats, if we don’t start today, “when tomorrow comes,” it won’t be pretty.

And, for you non-Floridian Democrats, stop smirking and making jokes while you’re reading this, as this affects you as well. Florida will have 30 electoral votes in 2024, third after California and Texas. Those 30 votes represent 11% of the total votes needed to elect the next president. If you don’t think the Democratic collapse in the Sunshine State has a bearing on your life, think again.

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

6 thoughts on “No “red wave” but a colossal Florida “wipe out”

  1. much applies also to the national democratic party…
    as Will Rogers said, “I don’t belong to any organized group-I’m a Democrat”

    Like

  2. I don’t know where to start! Did the young people vote this election in Florida? How did they vote? Do they just vote the way their parents do? How do we reach the Hispanic voters? These are all the things Florida Democrats need to figure out before the next election. If we lose the House, New York is a prime reason!! That is unbelievable.

    Like

  3. Guess you feel like the Republicans do in California. And guess the Dems are just smarter here!!1? So disappointing – as we all will feel it in 2024 (your comment re electors of Fla.).

    Love – and also to Sharon, Sue

    >

    Like

    1. Great minds think alike. I just wrote to the Palm Beach County Democratic committee and sent them the post. My first line in the email was: “After living in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 40 years, I’m appalled by the state of Democratic Party in the county and statewide. I now know what it feels like to be a Republican in San Francisco.”

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: