The shifting numbers for Clintonian candidates in Florida

By 7partparadigm – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27990566

Clintonism is an ideology that has become the predominant movement within the Democratic Party – an emphasis on free markets combined with pride in racial, gender and ethnic identity. Bill Clinton benefited in 1996 from what was called condescendingly by smug (northern and California-based) elite commentators as the “bubba factor” but did in fact allow President Clinton’s identity as a white southerner with a strong economic message of championing the little guy to resonate in places where Democrats were already struggling. Here in Florida, Clinton’s team was able to study Lawton Chiles narrow Gubernatorial reelection two years earlier and expand on it to bring some white rural voters who preferred Jeb Bush in 1994 back home to the Democrats for one last dance.

By 2016, Clintonism had shifted its ethnic and racial appeal to a non-ideological “identity” type fell which holds that if you are of any non-white ethnic group, a women or an intellectual elite you should vote for the Democrats – irrespective of any other policy or issue considerations. Now of course the best interests of these groups and the nation as a whole lies with progressive governance – but instead of stressing the issue and policies that can make America more unified and egalitarian, the party, its leadership and operative choose to focus on issues of identity and personality.

The GOP countered with a campaign that was overtly racist in many ways and subtly racist in every way, stressing white identity using racially loaded code words. This led to a Republican victory here in Florida and the national election of Donald Trump – the first President since Ronald Reagan to achieve election in large measure thanks to race-baiting.

But the race-baiting of the GOP was victorious largely because the core progressive ideology and class consciousness that progressives have worked so hard to develop was checked at the door in favor of  this 21st Century version Clintonism in the 2016 General Election. A multiracial coalition that fights against discrimination on all fronts including based on social class and geography can be built by the Democrats. But as 2016 demonstrated, not building a multiracial coalition based around economic justice is a losing formula.

Just where did the vote shift between the last Clinton candidacy in 1996 and the 2016 effort by Hillary Clinton in Florida? As the chart below demonstrates, a sharp decline in rural areas of North Florida and the interior of the state is partially offset by consistent numbers in big urban counties and dramatic improvement in Miami-Dade and Orange Counties. It is also worth remembering that President Clinton was an incumbent and the chart below shows two party vote but that many votes were siphoned of to Ross Perot – more so than the third party votes that went to Gary Johnson and Jill Stein this past year.

It’s also worth noting in medium-sized counties like Pasco, Hernando and Sarasota, Hillary Clinton ran far behind the percentages won by 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist.

COUNTY H. Clinton 16′ B. Clinton 96′ D +/-
Miami-Dade 65 60 5
Broward 68 69 -1
Palm Beach 58 63 -5
Hillsborough 53 51 2
Orange 63 49 14
Pinellas 49 55 -6
Duval 49 47 2
Lee 39 45 -6
Polk 43 49 -6
Brevard 39 48 -9
Volusia 43 55 -12
Pasco 39 60 -21
Seminole 49 43 6
Sarasota 44 48 -4
Manatee 40 48 -8
Collier 37 34 3
Marion 36 47 -11
Osceola 63 54 9
Lake 38 46 -8
Escambia 39 38 1
St Lucie 49 56 -7
Leon 63 59 4
Alachua 62 61 1
St Johns 32 38 -6
Clay 27 30 -3
Okaloosa 25 28 -3
Bay 26 37 -11
Hernando 35 55 -20
Charlotte 36 49 -13
Santa Rosa 22 28 -6
Martin 36 50 -14
Indian River 37 41 -4
Citrus 30 52 -22
Sumter 30 46 -16
Flagler 39 54 -15
Highlands 34 47 -13
Nassau 25 36 -11
Monroe 46 56 -10
Putnam 32 55 -23
Columbia 28 45 -17
Walton 21 38 -17
Jackson 31 47 -16
Gadsden 69 68 1
Suwannee 22 43 -21
Okeechobee 30 41 -11
Levy 27 53 -26
Hendry 43 50 -7
DeSoto 36 48 -12
Wakulla 29 51 -22
Baker 17 36 -19
Hardee 29 45 -16
Bradford 25 43 -18
Washington 21 46 -25
Taylor 24 53 -29
Holmes 10 42 -32
Madison 42 57 -15
Gilchrist 18 52 -34
Dixie 18 55 -37
Gulf 24 51 -27
Union 18 45 -27
Calhoun 21 53 -32
Hamilton 36 54 -18
Glades 29 54 -25
Jefferson 47 59 -12
Franklin 31 57 -26
Lafayette 16 43 -27
Liberty 20 48 -28

3 comments

  1. The FL Democratic party lost momentum because of its failure to respect Nan Rich favoring Charlie Crist. Not even permitting a debate during the primary hurt enthusiasm which carried over to the general. In tight races the FLDEM Party’s cavalier attitude toward its base meant less support by that base. Men and women DEMS of the McBride, Davis, Sink campaigns were ignored by the party. This erosion was just enough.Pay attention to lifelong democrats. Charlie Cristism lost the state for Dems and this seems to be ignored.

  2. Ruth Ann Eaddy · · Reply

    We as Forida Democrats must let bygones be bygones. Charlie Crist is now a Democratic US Congressman and we need to celebrate that. We need to start building a bench for future elections with the help of our new leadership.

  3. I am not going to let it be a bygone that a highly competent woman like Nan Rich was disrespected in favor of Republican Crist. This is not a bygone, it is a real fact and it has never been made right. I will never celebrate Crist’s rocking chair ads against Jim Davis. I will never celebrate Chain Gang Charlie.
    I will not celebrate Andrew Gillum calling past Democratic candidates Republican lite. Most Democrats pay attention. Real change needs to happen…and belitting lifelong Democrats to get ahead isn’t going to win yellow dog votes.

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