OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Democrats are so damaged in the state of Florida, which is led by popular Gov. Rob DeSantis, that they are considering surrendering any chance of ever winning the state again.
Democrats are admitting that they are “stumped” as to how to get traction in the Sunshine State and that they have been getting their “butts kicked,” Politico reported.
President Joe Biden’s policies loosening sanctions on Venezuela and easing restrictions on Cuba could be politically toxic in Latino-heavy South Florida. The administration was seen as making moves without considering political outcomes or improving Biden’s standing with a demographic key to winning the state.
And funds from national donor groups have dried up after Florida Democrats suffered stinging losses in recent years.
But Florida is also home to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a likely 2024 hopeful who takes shots at the president whenever the opportunity arises. So despite their dim prospects in the state, Democrats have an enormous incentive to engage there this year — if only to try to blunt the governor’s rise ahead of a presidential bid.
“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, the Democratic National Committee Finance Director, said. “We got our butts kicked in Florida recently. Our butts kicked.”
“I think the White House absolutely thinks we need to be engaged there now rather than waiting until 2024 when it becomes more expensive to stop [DeSantis],”he said. “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.”
State Democrats believe that national Democrat organizations, including the White House, have written off the state where Republicans have surpassed Democrats in voter registration.
“When President Barack Obama won Florida in 2008, registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the state by nearly 700,000. They outnumbered Republicans by more than 550,000 in 2012. But Biden lost the state to Donald Trump and Republicans now outnumber Democrats by more than 175,000,” Politico said.
But other Democrats said that the White House has not quit on the state.
“The administration has been very, very present in the state,” Mayra Macias, chief strategy officer for Building Back Together, said. “Be it the first lady in Palm Beach or Cabinet secretaries in other places, so I don’t think it’s a fair assessment to say the administration has written off Florida. You are seeing visibility at the highest levels.”
“Unfortunately, Governor DeSantis keeps signing into law very regressive policies that will keep Florida in the national spotlight for the wrong reasons,” she said. “Now, with Roe being overturned, we are thinking about states with abortion bans, and even when I was in Florida, bills like that kept coming up in the Legislature.”
“More electoral votes,” John Morgan, an Orlando attorney and major Democratic donor, said. “It’s not off the radar.”
“Still lots of money,” he said. “I was just asked to do an event with POTUS at my house for the DNC.”
“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,” Democratic congressional candidate Jared Moskowitz said. “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.”
‘He believes that the Supreme Court decision to end Roe V Wade could play a factor in Florida.
“It definitely should make Democrats understand how much is on the line if Republicans come back into power,” he said.