Shortly after the 2008 Presidential election, in which Barack Obama successfully flipped Florida blue, and held it in 2012, I coined a phrase. For Republicans to win in Florida, they need to lose well in South Florida. What that most specifically means is taking a genuine curiosity in the diverse interests of South Floridians and earning their votes. During this cycle, that was on display like no other Presidential campaign I’ve covered or studied in South Florida. For that matter, the only Republican, regardless of cycle, who has run a better modern South Florida campaign was former Governor Jeb Bush. South Florida is how Florida was won for President Trump. While much has deservingly been made of the success of President Trump to perform better with Hispanic voters in Miami-Dade, the story isn’t limited to Florida’s most populous alone.
Trump’s 2020 loss in each county looked like this:
- Broward: -29.7%
- Miami-Dade: -7.3%
- Palm Beach County: -12.6%
In Florida’s three most populous counties for Democrats show this as the change over the past twelve years:
- Broward – R+5%
- Miami-Dade: R+ 8.8%
- Palm Beach County: R+10.3%
This is a huge storyline which illustrates the difference between a Florida win for Obama vs. a sizable win by President Trump which exceeded the margin President Obama won by in either cycle. This dynamic holds the key to the future of Florida’s elections. Florida’s been trending towards the right. While most people look north and west of South Florida to find Republican voters in our state. The biggest reason behind it is actually within the TriCounty. This clearly wasn’t just about President Trump either as Republicans flipped two Congressional seats and multiple seats in Florida’s state legislature as well. Losing well in South Florida has meaningfully turned into outright winning elections too. South Florida largely represents the future of our state but also in many ways the country. My point with this isn’t a partisan one. It’s an indication that people shouldn’t be taken for granted based on ethnicity or geography and South Floridians are worth all politicians fighting for by serving our interests.
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