Florida

It’s Like Trump Is Trying to Lose Florida

“President Trump’s comments about ‘shithole countries’ like Haiti could hurt him most severely in his winter home of Florida, a state that’s also home to a large Haitian community. And it’s just the latest time he’s singled out a key voting bloc to antagonize in the state,” TPM reports.

“His racially charged comments add insult to injury to the community, just weeks after his administration ended temporary status protection for 60,000 Haitian refugees living in the U.S.”

“And that’s nothing compared to how much he’s infuriated the state’s fast-growing Puerto Rican community with his administration’s shoddy response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island.”

Trump Says Drilling Won’t Be Allowed Off Florida Coast

“The Trump administration told Florida’s governor it won’t consider new oil and gas drilling off the state’s coast, backtracking on plans to expand offshore drilling all around the U.S. and bowing to pressure from fellow Republicans in the state,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

First Read: “Exempting Florida — but not other states — appears to be the kind of transactional favoritism that many good-government observers worried about when Trump became president. Bottom line: The Trump administration has invited lawsuits if it doesn’t extend the same kind of exemption to other states that want it.”

A Great Migration Is Set to Transform Florida

New York Times: “More than 168,000 people have flown or sailed out of Puerto Rico to Florida since the hurricane, landing at airports in Orlando, Miami and Tampa, and the port in Fort Lauderdale. Nearly half are arriving in Orlando, where they are tapping their networks of family and friends. An additional 100,000 are booked on flights to Orlando through Dec. 31…  Large numbers are also settling in the Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas.”

“With so many arriving so abruptly, the migration is expected to transform Orlando, a city that has already become a stronghold of Puerto Ricans, many of them fleeing the island’s economic crisis in recent years. The Puerto Rican population of Florida has exploded from 479,000 in 2000 to well over one million today, according to the Pew Research Center. The number of Puerto Ricans in Orlando was 210,000 in 2014… and since then the count has risen rapidly as more arrived during the economic crisis.”

“The impact of this latest wave is likely to stretch from schools and housing to the work force and even politics. Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens and tilt Democratic, could sway the electoral results of one of the country’s most pivotal swing states.”

Florida Democratic Chair Ousted for Being ‘Creepy’

Tampa Bay Times: “Stephen Bittel’s rocky tenure as Florida Democratic Party chairman ended in disgrace Friday after he resigned following accusations from women that he leered at them, made suggestive comments and created an unprofessional work environment.”

“Bittel’s position became untenable after all four major Democratic candidates for Florida governor urged his ouster following a Politico Florida report late Thursday in which six women anonymously complained about Bittel’s behavior. They said he was ‘creepy’ and ‘demeaning.’ Bittel apologized, but it was not enough.”

Top Florida Democrat Resigns Over Affair

“The Florida Senate’s top Democratic leader, Jeff Clemens, resigned Friday after admitting to having an affair with a lobbyist during the last legislative session, saying that repairing his personal life was impossible while serving in the high-profile role,” the Miami Herald reports.

Said Clemens: “I have made mistakes I am ashamed of, and for the past six months I have been focused on becoming a better person. But it is clear to me that task is impossible to finish while in elected office. The process won’t allow it, and the people of Florida deserve better. All women deserve respect, and by my actions, I feel I have failed that standard. I have to do better.”

Florida Democrat Apologizes for Affair with Lobbyist

Florida state Sen. Jeff Clemens (D), the incoming leader of Florida’s Senate Democrats, apologized for having an affair with a lobbyist during the last legislative session, Politico reports.

Said Clemens: “I used poor judgment and hurt people that I care about, and for that I apologized long ago. But I also owe my constituents and colleagues an apology and I intend to do just that.”

“The affair between Clemens and lobbyist Devon West came to a head at the end of the regular spring lawmaking session, when West came into possession of Clemens’ Apple laptop, and gained access to all his contacts and personal information and then informed his wife of the tryst.”

Exodus From Puerto Rico Could Remake Florida Politics

New York Times: “Every day dozens of Puerto Ricans pour into the Orlando area, fleeing their homes and lives ravaged by Hurricane Maria. In the months to come, officials here said, that number could surge to more than 100,000. And those numbers could remake politics in Florida, a state where the last two presidential and governor’s races were decided by roughly one percentage point or less.”

“There are more than a million Puerto Ricans in Florida, a number that has doubled since 2001, driven largely until now by a faltering economy. But their political powers have evolved slowly in this state, and the wave of potential voters from the island could quickly change that calculus.”

How Hurricane Maria Could Tip Florida to Democrats

James Hohmann: “More than 50 million ballots were cast by Floridians in the seven presidential elections from 1992 through 2016. If you add them all up, only 18,000 votes separate the Republicans from the Democrats. That is 0.04 percent.”

“Florida is rightfully considered the swingiest of swing states. Control of the White House in 2000 came down to a few hundred hanging chads – and one vote on the Supreme Court. The past four statewide elections – two governor’s races and two presidentials – were all decided by a single percentage point.”

“So it could be quite politically significant that tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans, maybe more, are expected to permanently move into Florida as the result of Hurricane Maria.”

Democrats Worry About Florida Ground Game

Tampa Bay Times: “Despite roughly 500 full time campaign staffers spread across Florida to help Clinton win forever close Florida, party leaders and activists across the state are fretting about the campaign’s ground game. Even Clinton campaign staffers in other states are quietly buzzing about the Florida campaign struggling to meet its goals for voter registration and other outreach benchmarks.”

White Voters Keep Florida Close

Nate Cohn: “Donald Trump has almost no plausible path to the White House unless he wins Florida, a rapidly changing state where Hispanic voters could deal a decisive blow to his chances.”

“But a new poll, by The New York Times Upshot/Siena College, suggests that Mr. Trump is keeping his hopes alive in Florida, the largest and most diverse of the crucial battleground states. The reason: White voters favor him by a large margin.”

Why Trump Can Still Win Florida

Politico: “But at its core, the race is about race, about motivating white versus non-white voters. The whiter the electorate, the likelier it is Trump wins. And older whites are keeping Trump in the hunt.”

“Without the backing of older whites, polls indicate Trump would lose Florida — in this retirement mecca, the elderly are still a force at the ballot box. Of Florida’s 12.4 million active registered voters, more than 3.3 million are older than 65 years old, making them the largest age group on the rolls (followed by those 50 to 64). The elderly also have the highest turnout rate in Florida.”

“When it comes to race, non-Hispanic whites are 65 percent of the overall voter rolls and are the most-reliable voters.”

Clinton Has Huge Swing State Lead with Latinos

A new Univision poll of Latino voters in Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Nevada shows Hillary Clinton trouncing Donald Trump among this critical voting bloc.

In Florida, Trump trails Clinton by 24 percentage points — the closest margin out of the four states. Clinton leads Trump 68% to 18% in Arizona, 65% to 19% in Nevada and 62% to 17% in Colorado.

Florida, Colorado and Nevada are three battleground states where Latinos are likely to make up more than 10% of the electorate this year.

Trump Still Has No Ground Game In Florida

“How many of the 24 field offices that Team Trump said in early August they’d open this month in Florida are now up and running? None yet, according to Republican officials in the state.”

“The Republican presidential nominee has one of his campaign’s weakest ground games in his most crucial swing state, several political insiders and donors told Bloomberg Politics. Now, some Republicans are worried it’s getting too late to recover, with vote-by-mail ballots going out starting in late September and Democrats pledging a big push in early voting.”

Florida Is a State, Not a Place

Steve Schale: “Most states are places. Think about Texas, or even a state like Iowa, there is a sense of place to it, a commonality of experience – or as marketers might say, almost a brand. Most states have it. Florida really doesn’t.”

“Florida isn’t a place in the same sense. It is a political circle, drawing 20 million people from vast, and I mean vast experiences and cultures into one spot. And almost everyone here has come from somewhere else.”

“Florida is the new Ellis Island, except our ships come as cars and planes, from inside the borders of the country, and outside. Over the next 15 years, we might add as many as 5 million more residents, grow to as much as 30% Hispanic, with a total population of well more than 50% coming from what are typically considered ethnic minorities.”