Monday, January 23, 2023

Democrats despair and Republicans plot revenge

The contrast between these two articles speaks volumes. In last year's elections, Republicans lost big here in PA while Democrats lost big in FL. Both were recently considered to be "swing states". So how did the losing party react in each state?

In Pennsylvania, Republicans did a post-mortem to figure out why they lost and are quietly lining up behind a new candidate to challenge Senator Casey in 2024, and they have support from the national party leadership.

In Florida, there is no post-mortem (at least none is mentioned in the article), no plan of what to do in the future, no idea who might be a good candidate to run against Senator Scott in 2024, no support from the national party (which has all but written off the state), just "despair."

Which is weird because at least until the last election, Florida was much more swingy than Pennsylvania. Except for Trump's extremely narrow win in 2016, Pennsylvania has not given its electoral votes to a Republican Presidential candidate in 35 years (since 1988). While some of those elections were close, PA still went blue even years like 2004, when George W. Bush won handily nationwide. While Pennsylvania did elect Republicans to statewide office in non-Presidential years (when turnout was lower), Democrats consistently have a clear advantage when running statewide.

Florida, by contrast, really has swung back and forth in presidential elections during that same 35 year period. It went for Trump in 2016 and 2020, but Obama in 2008 and 2012, it went for Bush in 2004, and was effectively a tie in 2000 (with the Supreme Court giving it to Bush by a handful of votes). Florida went for Clinton in 1996, but Bush (Sr) in 1992.

If Republicans can look past their 2022 blowout in Pennsylvania, a state with a long pro-Democrat tilt in recent history, why are Democrats completely giving up on Florida, a state that was evenly divided really recently?