What Florida Democrats need to learn from Stacey Abrams


COLUMBUS, GA – More than a week after election day, 150 miles north of the Florida border, cars are packed into the parking lot of the local Civic Center. Progressors listened to one of the U.S. Senate candidates, Jon Ossoff.

Everyone in the crowd who was asked why Georgia became in 2020 with the same two words: Stacey Abrams.

At the same time, Anna Eskamani, a representative of the state of Orlando, hosted Zoom City Hall to unload what was bad for the Florida Democrats in 2020.

Members of the Progressive Board offered explanations: The party did not receive its message in enough language. He took minority voters for granted. Candidates relied on an “advisory cartel” full of “people used to lose”.

The contrast between the simultaneous events demonstrates the consensus among campaign operatives, grassroots organizers, and party officials in both states: in Georgia, Democrats are on the same side. Not in Florida.

Not long ago, neighboring states were destined for similar political destinies. In 2018, both prime ministerial candidates, Abrams and Florida’s Andrew Gillum, lost shaving races to Republicans aligning with Donald Trump. Democrats from both states have won seats in key legislative competitions and expected further growth in 2020.

After the election, Abrams promised to end his systematic efforts to end voter disenfranchisement. Gillum, who lost to Governor Ron DeSantis, promised to help with registration or engagement one million new voters in Florida.

In Georgia, Joe Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win this state since 1992. Democrats held two U.S. Senate races close enough to force critical course in January. Abrams is a bona fide, progressive star: a urges Biden to be a runner-up and is said to be looking at another 2022 governor start.

In Florida, Republicans made a profit in both chambers of the state legislature, won a seat in Congress, and won a decisive victory for President Trump in a decisive state. Gillum, whose election registration dress, Forward Florida, struggled with legal problems, suffered an awkward public collapse, participated in rehabilitation, and is now home to a podcast.

In Georgia, Democrats, led by Abrams, have been planning comprehensive demographic changes for most of a decade that have given the Barack State momentum. Helped in part by geography — the center of democratic power comfortably unites around Atlanta — the Democratic voter turnout operates year-round.

In Florida, Democrats have struggled to unite an extensive, diverse coalition around a coherent plan to win races. Despite nearly 5.3 million Florida voters voting for Biden in 2020, some question whether Florida will remain a swinging state.

Stephen Lawson, deputy campaign manager for U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, is a veteran of Republican campaigns in both states. He previously worked for Rick Scott’s governoral re-election efforts and was on DeSantis ’election team in 2018.

“I’m funny telling people here that Georgia is the new Florida,” Lawson said.

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Or Florida in old Georgia?

Stacey Abrams began building Georgia’s progressive electoral infrastructure in 2010, long before anyone imagined a swing state.

“We weren’t prepared just in 2018,” Carolyn Hugley, a representative of the Georgia Democratic State, said at the Ossoff meeting. “Stacey Abrams had a vision to see not only that our demographics are changing, but also that they need to be involved.”

At first, the profits of the Georgia Georgia Democrats seemed insignificant. Abrams said in a recent interview New York Times that in the early 2010s he had trouble winning donors because the state seemed invincible. In 2014, the same year the Abrams organization, the New Georgia Project, registered 69,000 new voters, Republicans reaffirmed their diligence in state legislation and won the governor’s race by eight points.

Abrams and Democrats held their own, and over time, demographics changed potential voters in tiny but important ways. Between 2010 and 2020, Georgia’s population grew by 10 percent, faster than the country as a whole. The state’s black population has also grown, expanding the base of the group, which is credibly voted by Democrats, by hundreds of thousands.

Importantly, in 2016, Georgia began registering adults to vote automatically when they receive their driver’s licenses. This change, along with political elbow fat, has led to an explosion in voter registration. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one million new voters registered between 2016 and 2020. Two-thirds of them were colored people.

Even after Abrams lost then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp in the 2018 governor’s race by just 55,000 votes, he didn’t stop organizing. Abrams harshly criticized Kemp’s decision to remove hundreds of thousands of voters from the roster in a year before an election in which he is at the top of the ticket. After his loss, he founded an organization called Fair Fight, which aims to “protect voters” in the states on the battlefield.

Connected: Evidence of voter repression did not deter Stacey Abrams from governing

Ossoff, who will fight for one of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats during the January run with incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue, said efforts to engage voters are key to Georgia’s democratic success.

“Ten years on, Georgia has become younger and more diverse, and huge investments have been made in voter registration and protecting access to ballot papers,” Ossoff told reporters after the assembly.

In 2020, all the votes in Georgia He fired 22 percent Biden won the state with about 13,000 votes.

•••

The Florida Democrats don’t have Stacey Abrams.

Over the past decade, the progressive policy of the Sunshine State has consisted of minor and fleeting victories scattered over long periods of irrelevance and total incompetence.

Democrats failed to find out that Barack Obama won the mid-term races in 2008 and 2012 in 2010 and 2014, and Republicans dominated the governor’s mansion and state legislative races.

Hillary Clinton lost a close race in Florida in 2016, but reaped huge victories among Latin’s vital voting population – especially in South Florida.

Then in 2017, as the party began preparing for a potentially favorable mid-term election season, Florida Democratic Party president Stephen Bittel resigned in the wake of the workplace harassment scandal.

Andrew Gillum, who won a nervous victory in the Democratic governor’s 2018 preselection, considered some to be the Florida leader. However, after losing against DeSantis that year, his own legal and substance use problems hampered political organization. (A Gillum spokesman did not respond to requests for comments.)

“In Georgia, Democrats felt disadvantaged for a long time,” said Kayser Selleing, a Democrat from Gainesville who ran for the state senate in 2018 and the state house in 2020. “In Florida, even though we’ve had the Republican trifecta for 25 years … they’re not behaving like a disadvantaged person. We’re not acting uniformly.

Democrats were part of the bad luck. In 2019, the Republican-led legislature passed a law alienating a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the democratically-minded constituency of former offenders to register to vote. Federal judges supported this law. In 2020, the coronavirus halted a number of volunteer efforts planned by the party for the presidential election.

Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, said Florida is on a similar path as Georgia has taken to building a winning national coalition. But Georgia had more time to monitor the consistent Abrams leader.

“It will take time to build the infrastructure across the country,” Peñalosa said. According to him, Democrats are already seeing the fruits of the hard work of volunteers even during the disappointing campaign season. Democrats won more than 200 municipal-level elections in 2020. The party registered 1.4 million new members to vote by mail – a contingent, Peñalosa noted – which is much more likely to vote than those who did not sign up to vote by mail.

“We have radically changed the way people vote,” Peñalosa said.

But Gillum said in a recent podcast on Quake Media that he was worried about the future.

“I don’t like the direction it looks like we’re going here in Florida,” Gillum said. “I am very terrified that too many National Democrats have already decided that there is a ‘blue wall’ and there is a path to the presidency that does not include Florida.”

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The challenges facing Democrats in Florida and Georgia have not been the same over the past decade.

Georgia is half the size of Florida and its democratic citadels are easier destinations. Biden won Atlanta and the surrounding blue counties with about 279,000 votes more than Clinton. That alone was enough to clear Trump’s 2016 victory margin.

Florida Democrats, by contrast, have to contend with 10 different media markets and turn to one of the country’s most diverse voters. When the Biden campaign ran Spanish-language ads in Orlando, Tampa, and Miami, it adjusted the focus of the speaker to the neighborhood of the broadcast, Peñalosa said.

Ultimately, Trump has perhaps done better with Latin American voters in Florida than with any Republican presidential candidate, George W. Bush, since 2004.

Republicans have also reached voters where they are. The pandemic halted the persecution and door-knocking efforts of Florida Democrats, but that did not stop Republicans. (This will not stop the Democrats during the U.S. Senate process in Georgia.)

Peñalosa defended the decision to stop the efforts as morally correct. But he said Florida Republican messaging was better aligned with Spanish voters.

“Republicans have come to a much better understanding that this is not a community, but a dozen communities, and they need to be communicated differently,” Peñalosa said.

This message included urgent warnings from left-wing radicalism that Democrats found it difficult to repel – especially because some in the party sympathize with democratic socialism and cover the police.

Georgian Democrats are ideologically as diverse as Florida Democrats and have had to face the same attacks because of socialism and “police destruction”. Raphael Warnock, another Democrat running for the U.S. Senate chair, posted an ad this week in Georgia that didn’t compare his opponent’s attacks to the dog’s feces very gently.

According to Ossoff, issues of cultural struggle do not matter to the majority of voters in the end. In Georgia, he said, Democrats have broken through by focusing on local issues.

“Solving these problems, improving the quality of people’s daily lives,” he said. – That’s how we mobilized this movement.