Florida: The Presidential Election Essay Example

The following discussion looks to examine the outlook of the upcoming 2020 presidential election, with a focus on the swing state of Florida. The information that can help predict the outcome of the election includes, but is not limited to, results of recent elections, demographic trends, and major political regions. The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Democratic Party, and the state’s opinion of Donald Trump, will also contribute to the likelihood of a Democratic candidate winning the twenty-nine Electoral College votes Florida has to offer. The combination of the afore-mentioned criteria will ultimately lead to a prediction of the 2020 election results in the state. 

Florida Demographics 

Florida is one of the most diverse of the Swing States, making it vastly divided between party lines. Demographics spanning from age, gender, race, and even gun-ownership rates all affect the outcome of elections. The groups that each party favours toward are vastly different from that other the other party, and the number of individuals in each demographic can determine election results, simply based on turnout. 

According to the National Journal Almanac, a majority of Floridians make less than $50,000 for yearly income, fifty-two percent to be exact. (INSERT SOMETHING ABOUT LOWER INCOME PEOPLE VOTING FOR REPS./DEMS.) Another twenty-nine percent of voters make between $50,000 and $99,999, leaving the other nearly nineteen percent of residents to make anywhere between $100,000 to $200,000. These numbers seem unevenly dispersed economically, which also means the party affiliation is also varied. (WRITE MORE ABOUT INCOME AND PARTY AFFILIATION)

Race is another important part of party differentiation in Florida. Over half of the Florida population are Caucasian, while a bit more than fifteen percent are African American. Another near twenty-four percent of residents are Latino, leaving the last four percent to consist of Asian/Other races. The race division is one that is a strong determinant of the election outcome. According to the Sun-Sentinel, a Southwest Florida newspaper, race makes up two of the nine “key base constituents” of the Republican party, those bases being: Hispanics and working class white individuals. Those two key bases make up nearly eighty percent of the Floridian population. Now, it is obvious that not all eighty percent of those individuals are right-leaning, however, the Republicans have a way to appeal to those racial groups. (MORE? WRITE ABOUT WHAT RACES LEAN DEM. HOW MANY) 

Education also plays a decent role in party affiliation in the Sunshine State. Almost thirty percent of the population receive a high school degree or less. Thirty percent go on to attend some college, while seventeen percent receive a college degree. The remainder of the population, nearly ten percent, reach post-graduate levels of education and degrees. (WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EACH PARTY??)

Age, according to the Sun-Sentinel, Republican voters have a reputation for consisting of older voters than the Democrats. To be specific, sixty-three percent of Republican voters in Florida are fifty or older. This age group is considered an “asset for Republicans”, because voter turnout of older individuals is higher than the turnout of the younger voters that make up more of the Democratic Party (Man,). (MORE ABOUT AGE? IMPORTANCE?)

Florida Major Political Regions 

The current political leaders in Florida can tell a lot about the regions that appeal more to Republicans and vice-a-versa. Currently, the governor and two senators of Florida are part of the Republican Party. The Republicans also hold fourteen seats in the House, while Democrats hold a close thirteen. The results of these elections and the districts that each party won may contribute to the possible outcome of the nearing 2020 election. 

As stated in the National Journal Almanac, the current governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, won the election by a fifty-nine to forty-one percent vote in his favour. One of the senators, Marco Rubio, won his election by an eight percent difference. Both of those elections were clearly in favour of the Republicans, leaving good margins between the winning and losing candidates. However, it is important to look at the representatives and their districts to understand the regional differences between the parties. 

The National Journal shows each representative and the district that they are responsible for representing. The representative elections seem to allow for more clear analysis of what regions play into specific party hands, and which are up for grabs by either party in the presidential election. Based on the analysis of cities in each of the twenty-seven districts in Florida, a few cities stood out among the rest. Ten districts that were won by republicans contain slices of some of the largest cities in the state, including Miami, Jacksonville, Gainesville and Tallahassee.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, seven districts won by democrats contain some of the most populous cities in Florida as well, winning portions of Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, and Tampa. When looking at the main cities listed above, it is noticeable that three cities are within the districts won by different political parties. This is something that may play a key role in the 2020 election. The cities of Miami, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville seem to be politically conflicted, based on the district divisions. These divisions mean that the cities can lean either way during the presidential election, which follows the pattern of Florida being a swing state. The public never really knows which way the beloved Sunshine State may vote. However, according to the New York Times, Florida has voted for the winning presidential candidate every election sine 1992 (cite). 

After Midterm losses in Florida, the New York Times reported that around two thirds of the counties that had the highest turnout rates in 2018 were hubs for retirees. This statistic has a good amount of support, considering the best performing county for Republicans during the midterms was Sumter County, which is known for is high number of older individuals in the retirement community. The second best performing county for the Republican Party was Collier County, where the democrats received less than thirty-five percent of all votes in the county. The common denominator between each of the counties mentioned is their population demographic: older and/or retired individuals. Referring to the information previously provided by the National Journal Almanac, Republican voters are known for being older than Democratic voters, with sixty-three percent of Republican voters being fifty or older (cite). 

Lastly, the state also has well known and named political regions that give insight into the likely voting pattern of 2020. One region mentioned by a Florida newspaper is called the “Interstate 4 Corridor”, which is made up of Orlando, Tampa, and Daytona Beach (cite). When looking at the cities involved, it is necessary to look back at the districts won in 2018 by each party that contain the cities in the region mentioned. Two of the three cities in the “Interstate 4 Corridor” elected Democratic Representatives (cite). Although these cities are known for containing the most Republican voters, the way the cities voted in 2018 makes it easy to assume these cities might switch their presidential votes just as they did with their votes for representatives. 

2016 and 2018 Election Results

The 2016 Presidential Election was one filled with heavy amounts of slander, scandal, and close margins. The primary elections and presidential election that year were all well contested and hard fought by all candidates, but in the end, the state voted for the winner in the presidential election, as they have since 1992 (cite). 

During the primaries, the Democratic voters in Florida made it very obvious, with a margin of thirty-one percent: they wanted Hillary to verse the Republican nominee, rather than socialist runner Bernie Sanders (cite). The Republican primary, featuring more candidates, was not won with such a large margin, but Donald Trump won the nomination by nineteen percent, followed by Marco Rubio in second. After each nominee was selected from their party’s pool of possible contenders, the presidential election was under way. Florida gave Trump its twenty-nine Electoral College Votes by a narrow margin of two percent (cite). In 2016, the state supported the Republicans, but that may not be true for the race in 2020. 

The midterm elections that took place in November of 2018 provide insight into the possible “Blue Wave” taking affect during the upcoming presidential election.  (GET INFO ON 2018 ELECTION)

Strengths and Weaknesses of Democratic Candidates

In order to calculate the chances of a Democrat winning the state in 2020, the strengths and weaknesses of the party and their candidates must be evaluated. There is always a good and bad side to a party, but being able to address the problems and improve upon them will give the Democratic Party an edge during the election. 

The weaknesses of the Democratic Party were pointed out in an article in the New York Times after the 2018 midterms. The first issue that arises is the poor organization of the party when it comes to mobilizing voters in “off-year elections” (cite).  The inability to even get their voters to the polls will obviously cause the party loses during elections. This is a par of campaigning where the Republicans have an edge. Another concern for the Democrats is their lack of organizing Latino voters in particular. According to the New York Times, the reason for the losses in 2018 could be boiled down to the late attempts to address the Latino community. The community felt as if they were seen as a last minute concern to the democrats and said that if they wanted their support for the 2020 election, then they need to start working with them sooner rather than later. 

When it comes to winning over the state, Ms. Fried, the Agricultural Commissioner, has words of advice for future democratic runners. Ms. Fried attributes her win in Florida to the ideas she ran on. She campaigned on her want to legalize marijuana, tightening gun control, and addressing the toxic algae outbreak throughout the lower portions of the state (cite). One thing that she recommended, which is shocking coming from a democratic officer, was the allocation of time in the panhandle. The Florida panhandle is known for being “deep red”, meaning they are typically known to support Republicans. The multifaceted approach that Fried used during her election proved to be beneficial, and her advice to future democratic candidates is not something to be ignored; that is, if the democrats want to seal the deal on winning Florida in 2020. 

Opinions of Trump

The outcome of the 2020 election will also depend on the opinions of Trump prior to voting. So far, the polls reporting on public opinion of the current president do not look very promising from the state. According to the Bendixen and Amandi International Poll references on Politico, fifty-three percent of people in Florida don’t think Trump deserves a second term. Another portion of the poll shows that forty percent of voters in total think he should be re-elected (cite). Using these two opposite opinions, it is hard to tell which way the state may lean during Election Day, but the majority seems to lie against re-election. 

The Sun-Sentinel also conducted polls on the approval ratings of the President at FAU, Florida Atlantic University, using five hundred participants. The poll reported that up to eighty percent of Democratic voters disapprove of the job Trump is doing in the White House, compared to the seventy-seven percent that approve on the side of the Republicans. Another difference can be seen between male and female voters, with the approval ratings separated by two percent (cite). 

2020 Election Prediction

In order to predict the outcome of the presidential election, the review of other predictions can proved helpful insight. Per the New York Times, it is predicted that Donald Trump will lose in 2020. The reasoning being that growing “negative partisanship” hurts the party that has the presidency. Negative partisanship means voters are mobilized by the hatred of the opposing party, compared to mobilization due to the love of their own party (cite). This type of mobilization is known to benefit the party that does not currently hold the presidency. This news sounds good for the hopes of flipping Florida toward the left in 2020. Another piece of positive information comes from previous Democratic candidate, Bill Nelson. In an article from the New York Times, Mr. Nelson believes that Biden, as a presidential candidate, would be able to turn things around. Nelson states that previous Vice President Joe Biden is “moderate enough” to capture the majority vote (cite). 

Polls taken by Fox News and CNN show a growing support for Biden as a presidential candidate in 2020. Around thirty percent of people polled want to see Biden run for nomination (cite from WH 2020:). Another candidate that is already beating Trump in polls is Beto O’Rourke. He lost during the 2018 midterms against Ted Cruz, but with a narrow margin of two percent. According to Real Clear Politics, Beto already has “800,000 donors and a 50- state list of supporters”(cite). Attitudes towards Biden and Beto lean positively, which may be enough to win the White House in 2020. 

The final prediction for the 2020 Presidential Election outcome in Florida depends on the Democratic nominee. If the left decides to nominate Beto O’Rourke or Joe Biden, is it acceptable to predict that Trump will lose the state of Florida. However, if the nominee for the Democratic Party is not one of the two mentioned above, the outcome for Democrats looks bleak. The party needs a candidate that is new to running for president, which takes Hillary Clinton out of the running. The part will also need a candidate that already has the support of a large portion of the Democratic Party, which Biden and Beto do. If Trump does not face Beto or Biden in 2020, the likelihood of him winning Florida is high. Hope for Democrats winning comes from the two front-running suggested nominees. Being a swing state, the Democratic Party needs to play their strongest cards to win the close call state.



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