For the past few decades, Florida was considered to be a perennial “swing state” that could align with Democrats or Republicans in any given election cycle, but that is no longer the case as the Sunshine State had increasingly changed politically from purple to pink to red in recent years.
Now some Democrats have begun to acknowledge that they got their “butts kicked” in Florida and have all but conceded the state to the GOP, at least for now, Breitbart reported.
That said, Democrats are not yet completely abandoning the third largest state in the nation — and its plethora of Electoral College votes — and some remain engaged in the fight if only to lay the groundwork for a future comeback for the Democratic Party as well as to try and blunt the likely future political aspirations of popular Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A rear-guard fighting a lost cause?
Politico reported Friday that even as Democratic operatives in Florida have essentially admitted that Florida is currently a lost cause for the party, President Joe Biden’s White House has stepped up its litany of attacks against Gov. DeSantis, typically over COVID-19 and vaccine policies as well as various culture war issues.
The Team Biden attacks on DeSantis are undoubtedly fueled by the left’s growing concerns that, rather than former President Donald Trump, the Republican governor presents the greatest risk of flipping the White House from blue to red in 2024.
That perception is due, at least in part, to the relative successes DeSantis and Florida have seen over the past few years combined with mounting state-level losses for Democrats, which has led to a lack of funds from national donors and reduced morale among some Florida Democrats.
“We got our butts kicked in Florida”
“If you were to ask me, does Florida give you as good a return on investment as other places? Clearly right now it does not,” Chris Korge, finance director for the Democratic National Committee, told Politico. “We got our butts kicked in Florida recently. Our butts kicked.”
However, Korge appeared to agree with the apparent White House strategy to directly attack DeSantis now instead of waiting until the 2024 election cycle, and he added, “We are going to be engaged in the midterm and, you can quote me on this, the DNC is absolutely not giving up on Florida.”
That assurance is hard to square with rumors and speculation that certain elements of the Democratic Party’s apparatus have essentially “written off” Florida, at least for the moment, in light of the state’s stunning shift politically over the past several election cycles as well as in terms of voter registration party affiliation.
Florida’s shift from purple to red
Back when Florida truly was a blueish shade of purple, former President Barack Obama won the state twice in 2008 and 2012, largely due to the fact that registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by around 700,000 and 550,000, respectively, in those two cycles.
But then Trump defeated both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in 2016 and 2020, and now, according to the Florida Department of State’s voter registration statistics, registered Republicans finally surpassed Democrats in 2021 and now outnumber their partisan rivals by more than 175,000 voters.
In the end, though, Democratic congressional candidate Jared Moskowitz told Politico, “Even if you can’t win Florida, there is a lot of money to raise here that can be used in critical races across the country,” and added, “Republicans have out-registered Democrats here, so statistically you can make the observation that it’s moving to the right, but let’s not pretend Barack Obama winning the state is ancient history. It’s the third-largest state in the country, and there are a lot of active Democrats here.”