2020 Elections - How Florida was won

State of Florida State, US

How Florida was won

Bottom Line: 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 interest in the diverse interests of South Floridians and earning their votes. That was on display like no other Presidential campaign I’ve covered or studied in South Florida this cycle. 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. And 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.

First, here’s Florida 2008’s loss by John McCain in each:

  • Broward: -34.7%
  • Miami-Dade: -16.1%
  • Palm Beach County: -22.9%

Now Trump’s 2020 loss in each county:

  • Broward: -29.7%
  • Miami-Dade: -7.3%
  • Palm Beach County: -12.6%

In Florida’s three most populous counties for Democrats here’s 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 as well. 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.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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