December 2, 2022

Three non-profit immigrant rights organizations have filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, claiming that the state is "infringing upon the federal government's immigration system by creating a separate, parallel immigration system."

November 14, 2022

Given the ease with which GOP Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) won re-election in the 2022 midterms, pundits, journalists, and casual politicos are all wondering: Is Florida still a swing state? Well, it seems the general consensus is no … but the exact reason for and proof of the GOP tilt has generated plenty of discussion: It's gone red — because look at DeSantis' landslide victory Even when Florida flipped red in the past, its resulting hue was more of a light pink than a deep burgundy. Republicans would win, but they would win "in nail-biters" — more often narrow victories than major blowouts, mused Charles C. W. Cooke for The National Review. But after DeSantis on Tuesday annihilated his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by a whopping 19 points, "no longer can Florida be seen as a swing state. This is Republican ground," Cooke declared. "For the first time in a long time, Republicans didn't just win in Florida; they won big in Florida." And Rubio's simultaneous blowout of Democratic Rep. Val Demings — who both outraised and outspent her opponent — is just further evidence of a shift. Plus, it's not as though Crist or Demings were particularly progressive Democrats; in fact, Crist used to be a Republican, and Demings "was literally a cop," added Mother Jones' Abigail Weinberg. But even so, both were trounced, further illustrating how "Florida, a state once so closely divided that a 0.009 percent vote differential dictated a presidential election, is a swing state no longer." It's gone red – because Democrats have gone about it all wrong One thing's for sure — Democrats will absolutely have to "rethink their campaigns" in Florida, noted The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board. Yes, Florida has been trending Republican for some time, but the latest midterm results are incredibly affirming.  So what did the party do wrong? Well, in one misstep, national Democratic donors "all but abandoned [Florida] this year, spending their money in states where they could get more bang for their buck, like Georgia or Arizona," posited the Editorial Board of the Miami Herald. While such a triage-like strategy may have seemed most efficient, it neglected to cater to Florida's coveted 30 electoral votes and their monumental importance in every presidential election. Instead of sticking with the state, the Democratic party "picked up and left, returning only when it needed votes and often too late." But Republicans "played the long game" — and it paid off. If Democrats' big failure can "teach us anything, it's that you snooze, you lose." It's gone red — because Democrats lost Latino voters  In another telling indication of his success, DeSantis managed to carry Florida's heavily-Latino Miami-Dade County — something no Republican has done since former state Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 — by double digits. In 2016, Hillary Clinton took the county by 29 points; In 2020, President Biden won it by seven. DeSantis himself lost it back in 2018. But it went red on Tuesday. Why? Well, at least in part because Democrats lost Latino voters, Michael Grunwald argued for The Atlantic. Unlike their counterparts, "Republicans actually show up in Latino communities," Grunwald said. The party understood it needed to make inroads with the Florida demographic, especially after losing the White House in 2012, and has been "on the ground" ever since, Democratic strategist Fernand Amandi told Grunwald. But in abandoning the state, Democrats have allowed Republicans to control the Latino voter-facing narrative. For instance, while Spanish-language radio in Florida is "full of right-wing misinformation portraying Democrats as socialists and Communists," those attacks might pack less of a punch if liberal "surrogates" actually showed up to fight back. All in all, Dems "can't win Florida if they can't win around Miami, and they can't win around Miami if they keep hemorrhaging Latino votes." Of course, any future party successes depend on whether Democrats care about their southern demise and actually want to change. But Biden won the election without taking Florida, "and his team seems to be planning to try that again," Grunwald added. So "for the foreseeable future, the ultimate swing state will be just another red state."

October 28, 2022

More than 17.5 million pre-election ballots have been cast across 46 states as of Friday, according to data from election officials, Edison Research and Catalist. The turnout has kept pace with the 2018 midterm elections, but it's too early to tell if total election turnout will meet or outpace that year's record-breaking turnout.

October 25, 2022

Democrat Charlie Crist used the occasion of his only scheduled debate with Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday evening to pummel the Republican governor over his restrictions on abortion rights, for ignoring science when writing COVID and transgender policy, for sidestepping 82,000 COVID deaths in Florida, and for refusing to commit to serving a full second term. DeSantis, looking alternatively ill at ease and pugnacious during the one-hour contest, fired back, accusing former U.S. Rep. Crist of being soft on crime and immigration enforcement. He insisted that his COVID policies preserved Florida’s economy, boosted parents’ rights, and touted school testing results, though the latest national data Monday showed 4th and 8th graders were unable to reach proficiency in math and reading. Meanwhile, the audience gathered in Fort Pierce’s Sunrise Theatre proved as much a participant as either candidate, cheering their own team while jeering at the opposition. “Liar!” somebody yelled during DeSantis’ closing remarks. Like a stern and somewhat angry dad — Crist is 66 and DeSantis is 44 — Crist scolded DeSantis over the truthfulness of the governor’s remarks several times, saying, “It’s not true and you know it.” And at one point Crist questioned whether DeSantis had the temperament to lead. Crist was a former Republican governor, Attorney General and Education Commissioner before he became a Democrat. But DeSantis said: “When a once-in-a-century pandemic hit, I led based on facts, not based on fear. I lifted you up while some, like Charlie Crist, wanted to lock you down. I took a lot of flak in the process but, through it all, I was always more concerned about protecting your job than I was about saving my own.” ‘I want to be a uniter’ Crist summed up his argument against an incumbent he’d frequently accused of bullying during the debate. “I want to be a uniter. I want to bring this state back together and not have a divider as a governor. I want women to have the right to choose and make their own decisions about your body, especially in cases of rape or incest,” Crist said. The challenger pressed DeSantis several times about whether he would pledge to serve a four-year term if reelected — a dig at the governor’s clear presidential ambitions. Crist accused DeSantis of ignoring rising housing and insurance costs because he’s more interested in appealing to the national GOP base ahead of 2024. “He won’t even tell you if he’ll serve four years if you reelect him. I mean, come on. You deserve better than that. Florida deserves better than that.” Asked point blank by Crist whether he’d commit to a full term, DeSantis stared ahead, saying nothing for several moments. Finally, the moderator pointed out that the debate rules precluded the candidates questioning each other, but it was an awkward moment for the governor. DeSantis did kinda sorta answer that question without making a firm pledge. “I just want to make things very, very clear: The only worn-out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist. Early voting begins The debate, sponsored by WPEC in West Palm Beach and broadcast on CBS affiliates statewide, came as early voting began in some counties and two weeks and a day before voting concludes on Nov. 8. Crist opened the evening as a clear underdog whom DeSantis has far outstripped in fundraising and polling. Between his campaign account and the Friends of Ron DeSantis committee, the governor’s sitting on more than $107 million in cash on hand. The Friends of Charlie Crist committee and Crist’s campaign account has a nearly $2.2 million in combined totals. All those figures were good as of the Oct. 14 financial disclosures. The moderator called attention to the fan Crist aides had placed on the stage near his podium — a standard practice for Crist during public appearances. Crist certainly came out hot during the debate, attacking DeSantis for the 15-week abortion ban he pushed through the Legislature this spring, for his airlift to Massachusetts of mostly Venezuelan asylum seekers, moving against gender-affirming care for kids, and restricting sports participation by trans girls and discussions of the country’s history of racial discrimination in the public schools. “We ought to teach facts in our schools. We ought to teach the truth in our schools,” Crist said. DeSantis hit back. “When you oppose a parents’ rights in education bill which prevents 6-, 7-, 8-year-olds from having sexuality, gender ideology injected in their curriculum, you are the one that’s waging the culture war. I’m simply defending parents and students,” he said. “It’s inappropriate to tell a 6-year-old that they were born in the wrong body; it’s inappropriate to tell an 8-year-old that they may have been born a girl but maybe they’re really a boy. That’s wrong. We need to do the basics. We need to teach them to read, write, add, and subtract,” he continued. “You love dividing our state, whether it’s Blacks against whites, whether it’s straights against gays, whether it’s young versus old. You’re making it harder to vote in our state,” Crist said. “That’s anti-democracy.” Crist returned again and again to abortion, accusing DeSantis of preferring to talk about critical race theory and transgender kids than explain whether he’ll ask the Legislature for further abortion restrictions. “You’re taking away from all these other issues because you don’t want to talk about taking away a woman’s right to choose. And that’s on the ballot in this election,” Crist said. Reaction Following the debate, the parties issued statements attempting to spin the outcome. The Florida Democratic Party, for example, called DeSantis the “gun violence candidate.” “Ron DeSantis claims he’s improved public safety, but he’s made Florida less safe by opposing gun safety laws. DeSantis declared that he would have vetoed the measures taken after the Parkland tragedy to keep children safe, stayed largely silent this summer after shootings in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and even vetoed money for a youth training complex after the Tampa Bay Rays simply tweeted against gun violence,” a written statement read. “Worse yet, Ron DeSantis has promised that he would institute a dangerous “criminal carry” law, removing the need for any permit or training to carry hidden weapons — a policy opposed by law enforcement. DeSantis has also expressed animosity toward common sense background checks,” it continued. Crist’s own campaign proclaimed: “GAME CHANGED: Crist Dominates Gubernatorial Election Debate.” (All caps in the original.) Republican National Committee spokeswoman Julia Friedland countered: “From his uninspiring campaign built on lies to his disastrous debate performance tonight, Charlie Crist has made it clear that he doesn’t want people to vote for him. In fact, he said so himself.” Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

October 24, 2022

Voters in five states will get to directly decide the future of abortion access in their communities this election.

October 14, 2022

The Republican governor, who is up for reelection, has made tightening election laws a top priority over the last two years.



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