Florida used to be the mother of all swing states. Now, Florida Democrats are in a state of total despair as national Democrats have written the Sunshine State and its 30 electoral votes off completely. Not only did Ron DeSantis win reelection by 20 points, but he also carried majority-Latino Miami-Dade County, which no Republican has done in 20 years. As if that weren't enough, the Republicans also obtained a supermajority in the state legislature—not that they expect DeSantis to veto any of their output and to be forced to try to override it. Oh, and the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Manny Diaz, quit, leaving the Democrats completely adrift, with no candidates, no leaders, no statewide officials, no bench, and no money.
It all happened so fast. Barack Obama won the state both in 2008 and 2012, and now, a decade later, it seems out of reach. What is strangest is that Florida's demographics matches the Democrats' coalition very well. It is getting more ethnically diverse and younger each cycle, yet the Republicans are doing better every election. And not Vermont-style Republicans either. It is far-right Republicans who are doing well.
Part of the Republicans' success has been due to making inroads with Latinos, and not only Cubans. Many Floridians originally came from Central or South America and the Republicans' constant yelling that Democrats are socialists resonates with them, since they have seen socialism up close and don't like it. Of course, the Democrats are nothing like Latin American dictators, but the voters aren't taking any chances.
Another problem for the Democrats is lack of infrastructure. The Party doesn't have offices all over the state with staffers who can go out and talk to people in different communities and register voters. Many Democratic officials don't even want to try, given how big and expensive the state is, arguing that the money is better spent in the current swing states, like Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
Florida isn't the only former swing state that turned red. So did Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa. The only red state that has turned blue in recent times is Virginia, which voted for Republicans in every presidential election from 1968 to 2004 but has been blue since 2008. Still, if the Democrats can turn Arizona and Georgia blue and hang onto the upper Midwest, they can continue to win presidential victories. (V)