Florida was once considered a battleground state, but whatever influence the Democrats had over the Sunshine State is swiftly disappearing as issue after issue plagues their efforts to gain momentum and their footholds are disappearing for the first time ever.
According to The Hill, Democrats are facing a myriad of issues such as a fundraising gap a mile wide when compared to the Florida GOP. This is on top of the fact that the voter registration advantage that they’ve held for years has effectively been destroyed, going from 700,000 more registered voters in the state to just 23,551 over the course of 2008 to today.
It’s clear that the Democrats just don’t have the morale to fight a motivated Republican party in the state led by the right’s most popular governor, Ron DeSantis.
Speaking of Ron DeSantis, it’s some of his actions that have further made the Democrats’ prospects of victory even smaller thanks to rule changes in the state’s voting laws. With voting now more secure and less prone to confusion or fraud, Democrats are feeling less and less hopeful:
At the same time, Democrats are facing daunting structural challenges, including Republican-led redistricting and a controversial new election law pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that puts new restrictions on the collection of mail-in ballots and the use of drop boxes.
“It feels a little bit like we’re kind of set up to fail,” one Florida Democratic official said. “It’s not any one person’s fault. A lot of these problems have existed for years. But for a party that has been decimated in the last few elections and especially the last one, I’m not seeing a sense of urgency yet.”
The eyes of strategists are now on the upcoming midterms, and Democrat strategists believe that it’s going to take the entire bulk of the Democrat party’s strength to turn Florida around, but as it stands, one is predicting they’ll lose their voter registration advantage completely by the end of the year, something that has never happened before.
“Without a full-frontal, professional and accountable partisan effort to turn it around, sometime before the end of this year, there will be more Republicans registered in Florida than Democrats — that has NEVER happened before,” wrote long-time Democrat strategist Steve Schale in a blog post. “And, given their voters have higher turnout scores — this isn’t a great place to start.”
With all this, and the fact that Democrats aren’t liking the prospects of their candidates removing DeSantis or Senator Marco Rubio, it would seem that the time of Florida being a battleground state may be over.
“Democrats just either get wiped out or come agonizingly close and lose,” said Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida, according to The Hill.
“Florida is still a battleground, just based on our recent election history and statistics. We have had a lot of close statewide elections. But that label might have to be withdrawn if Republicans sweep up another time or two.”