Power-Building Strategy: Rebuild from the ground up.
Florida is a challenging state. In 2020, Democrats lost two house seats and the presidency. A series of close gubernatorial elections have kept the GOP in control of state government for over two decades. The state legislative opportunities over the last two cycles have been squandered. The state party is in terrible financial shape. Our own Senate modeling has Florida remaining in the GOP column over the next twenty years given this current trajectory.
Emerging leaders like EveryDistrict alum State Representative Anna Eskamani are calling for new energy and new focus. Others, like veteran Florida strategist Steve Schale, have called for doing to Florida what happened in Georgia and building a strong GOTV and voter contact operation. We generally believe that a whole lot needs to change in Florida to build a better party that can deliver in more elections, from top to bottom. Where should Floridians start? Here are three critical actions to take now.
First, get a better handle on the diverse and challenging demographics of Florida. Democrats fell behind Trump in engaging Hispanic populations throughout Florida, to our detriment in 2020. Meanwhile, Democratic losses in more rural communities make it even more urgent to grow and win in the urban areas and the burgeoning I-4 corridor.
Second, build on the momentum of successful ballot initiatives, such as Amendment 4, which expanded the franchise to formerly incarcerated individuals and was later reduced in scope by Governor DeSantis’s poll taxes. Major policy like a $15 minimum wage have been passed through initiatives, while Democratic top-of-the-ticket performance has stalled. It’s clear that Florida voters are not averse to progressive policy, and Democrats in the state need to better tie these popular efforts to the Democratic brand.
Third, use these strategies to take back the US House and state house seats that should be in the Democratic column. Both FL-26 and FL-27 are potential gains in the Congress, while at least a half dozen seats in the State Senate and State House could be in play with the right resources and strategy in 2022.
Rebuilding and turning Florida from a drifting red state into its former battleground status will require new voices, new strategies, and significant resources. But we firmly believe that there can be a brighter, more Democratic future for Florida.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Florida:
- Democrats need to invest in continued messaging, surveying, and organizing targeted in districts where we have seen continued growth. Beginning in Virginia in 2021 and expanding to other battleground states in 2022, EveryDistrict’s Win Number program will do exactly that, by deploying the latest in election science to identify how we can win the sort of voters who will make the difference in Florida in 2022.