Centrist voters rebuke Florida Democrats, hand victory to GOP

Centrist voters rebuke Florida Democrats, hand victory to GOP
Ron DeSantis, Andrew Gillum (Images: YouTube screen grab)

In Florida’s election for governor, centrists rejected the radical Democratic candidate in favor of the GOP candidate. As a result, Ron DeSantis defeated Andrew Gillum in a close election. DeSantis won by a tiny, 0.5% margin, despite heavy liberal turnout. Voters were afraid that Gillum’s radical proposals would damage the state economy.

The press — including CNN, the Washington Post, the Miami Herald, and the Tampa Bay Times — gave much more favorable press to Gillum than DeSantis. The press endlessly touted the fact that Gillum would be Florida’s first black governor if elected.

But swing voters didn’t care about Gillum’s race, only about his radicalism. Gillum did worse among black voters than most Democratic candidates for Florida governor in recent years, as some moderate black Democrats turned against Gillum over his tax-raising, budget-busting proposals and soft approach to crime. DeSantis’s margin of victory was provided by moderates who voted for the Democrats in the past — including black moderate Democrats who deserted the Democratic Party to vote for DeSantis.

Usually, almost all African-Americans vote Democratic — especially when the Democratic candidate is black. Obama got over 95% of the black vote, while Hillary Clinton got over 90%. Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke got 95% of the black vote in the 2018 Texas Senate race. But Gillum got a lower percentage, apparently because some black moderates were disturbed by his radicalism. Exit polls indicate that Gillum got no more than 86% of the black vote, and probably less. Only 82% of black women voted for Gillum, compared to 94% of black women voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

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As Jerome Woehrle noted, Gillum is very radical: “Gillum’s campaign promises would bankrupt Florida if they were enacted,” and Gillum’s health care plan alone would cost Florida $200 billion per year, far more than the entire current state budget.

Having Gillum as governor could have been very costly for Florida taxpayers. The massive corporate tax increase proposed by Gillum would have only been the beginning of the new taxes and spending that could have resulted from his being elected governor. (Even corporate tax increases burden individuals. Economists say that the cost of corporate tax increases is partly passed on to consumers, and partly passed on to corporate investors, such as pension funds, and mutual funds that many people’s retirement plans invest in).

As Woerhle observed, had Gillum been elected, he would have appointed left-wing replacements for most Florida Supreme Court Justices facing retirement, resulting in a radical state supreme court that could impose massive new spending mandates on the state legislature:

Gillum probably could get some tax increases imposed on Florida voters, indirectly. He could do this by making the Florida Supreme Court even more liberal. A more liberal state supreme court would likely order the state legislature to pay for various types of new spending. Such new spending would require tax increases if the state budget were to remain in balance, as is mandated by the Florida Balanced Budget Amendment.

The dominant liberal media did not talk about any of this. Nor did most media outlets report on various incidents that reflected negatively on the Gillum campaign. For example, when a self-described Communist Gillum campaign worker assaulted college Republicans, the media were largely silent. And the media largely ignored undercover video showing a Gillum campaign worker who knew Gillum from college calling Florida a “cracker state” that is “f**d up” and saying that Gillum did not actually intend to fulfill attractive-sounding campaign promises, which were designed to fool voters. Nor did the media give much ink to the corruption allegations dogging Gillum.

Instead, the media undermined its own credibility by making unfounded, racially-inflammatory attacks on Gillum’s critics. For example, when Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue, a former Georgia Governor, endorsed DeSantis, telling voters that the election was “cotton-picking important,” CNN and the Washington Post absurdly claimed that this was a racial attack on Gillum. CNN’s Don Lemon, who earlier falsely claimed that terrorists are disproportionately white, called Purdue “straight-up racist” for using this expression. Journalists like Lemon attacked Purdue even though Purdue never mentioned Gillum’s race. Indeed, Purdue has often used the expression “cotton-picking” in contexts having nothing to do with race, including political races between white candidates. That debunks the absurd media claim that his statement was a racist “dog whistle.” As even the liberal Huffington Post conceded, the most commonly-used dictionary “defines ‘cotton-picking’ as another way of saying ‘damned.’”

Meanwhile, websites such as this one, and Hot Air, highlighted Gillum’s ethics violations and radicalism, over and over again, raising issues of substance that were relevant to the election. So did talk radio and alternative news sources. This may have helped turn the tide of the election.

Florida voters seem to have focused on such issues of substance — rather than inflammatory and misleading claims by the liberal media — in voting in Tuesday’s election.

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Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. Hans also writes for CNS News and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”


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