How Florida Became A Conservative Bastion

On Monday, The Hill launched the first part of a 5-part series on why Florida has become such a conservative state, though, if part one is any indication, the series is less about why Florida is so conservative and more about how the Democrats can turn that around.

After the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans held every statewide office for the first time since Reconstruction. Republicans also hold supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature, as Florida Democrats find themselves wandering in the political wilderness.

In the first part of its series, rather than interview Florida Republicans about how they transformed Florida from a swing state to a deep red stronghold, The Hill spoke with Florida Democrat pollster Fernand Amandi.

Amandi, who helped Barack Obama win Florida in both 2008 and 2012, complained that Florida Republicans have created a “permanent campaign apparatus” by recruiting candidates for local offices to prepare them to run for higher office in the state. He also noted the GOP’s voter registration efforts in Florida.

In 2018, registered Democrats outnumbered registered Republicans in Florida by almost 270,000. But after four years of Governor DeSantis, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 400,000.

An unnamed member of the Democratic National Committee told The Hill that big-money donors and national Democrat groups have written Florida off, starving state Democrats of much-needed funding.

The DNC member said it is unclear whether the lack of funding is why Florida Democrats are facing electoral defeat or the Democrats’ electoral defeat is the reason for the lack of funding.

According to Amandi, the question for state and national Democrats is whether they are willing to sacrifice Florida as a lost cause or “reposition” themselves to once again become competitive in the state.

Amandi told the Hill that the answer should be the latter, explaining that if Florida Democrats show a commitment to becoming competitive again and get the resources they need to do it, within the next 8 or 10 years, Democrats will be able to win Florida again.