- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Uh oh. Republicans who think the nomination for Florida governor of Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee’s leftist black mayor, was suicide for Democrats should think again.

Typical of what’s becoming one of your run-of-the-mill progressive Democratic candidates, Mr. Gillum wants to impeach President Trump, socialize America’s health care system, kill the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and ban guns that look mean and ugly.

So why should Republicans be thinking “uh oh”?

After all, Mr. Gillum’s Republican opponent is the young, energetic, photogenic U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who won’t turn 40 till the middle of next month. Yes, he rode to a smashing 56-37 percent win over GOP establishment-favored Adam Putnam.

And yes, Mr. DeSantis exudes gobs of voter appeal, enjoys a Harvard law-Yale undergrad confidence and has got a that’s-what-did-it endorsement boost from the Big Rocket Man in the White House.

So you have to conclude that gator-state Republicans made the oh-so-right choice in Mr. DeSantis, whose talking-guest frequency on Fox News established him as a Trumpster through and through. He looks like a winner but, uh oh, in case you forgot, they don’t call Florida a battleground state for nothing. Mr. Trump edged out Hillary Clinton there by a mere 1.2 percentage points in 2016.

There’s a pile of other “uh oh” reasons.

Young appears to be where the force is gathering strength in Florida, as in the rest of America. Mr. Gillum, who won’t turn 40 till next July, is as noted not only a dynamic, handsome, black leftist who has the backing of that youth-magnet socialist, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

Mr. Gillum also can count on shiploads of money from billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer and that other billionaire, George Soros. And having campaigned for all the left’s causes including the impeachment of Mr. Trump, Mr. Gillum has a newly emerging young, socialism-friendly Democratic base eating out of his hand.

That’s big. Millennials (née after 1965) and the younger hashtag generation (Gen X) are slightly more than half of Florida’s registered voters. But even on the sunniest of Tuesdays, they’re not big on hoofing it to voting booths — unless there’s a really extraordinary opportunity to show they’re not their dads and moms.

And what better way than voting for a young black candidate who is beating the drum for universal health care, legalizing the demon weed, eradicating the demon ICE — and of course dumping Mr. Trump.

These are all Mr. Gillum’s campaign-ad desiderata. It’s enough to make a youngster’s heart skip a beat.

So is the fact that Mr. Gillum upset former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, a moderate who was once the front-runner in Tuesday’s primary.

Here’s another “uh oh” — 45 percent of Florida’s registered Democrats have yet to celebrate their 50th birthday. If they had turned out the way their elders did in 2016, we’d all be saying “Madam President.”

And overconfident Republicans need to check this out: Registered Democrats are 48 percent white, 29 percent black and 17 percent Hispanic.

If Mr. Gillum bestirs the latter two groups to turn out the way Barrack Obama did for them nationally in 2008, it’s “uh oh” for Mr. DeSantis and the GOP in Florida.

Mr. Gillum can be assumed to own the black vote in Florida and to have the right stuff to turn out that vote in the Obama manner.

In 2008, Mr. Obama won 57 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida. Nationally, he won 67 percent of the vote of Hispanics, who at 9 percent of the electorate had 19.5 million eligible voters. Make that close to 24 million in 2018, up by 26 percent.

Uh oh. Look for a record-shattering number of Spanish-language campaign ads between now and election day in Florida.

Hasta noviembre.


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