The Express Lane: With book closing day tomorrow, It’s voter registration, stupid

On yesterday’s TFS Twitter Space, conversations about Hurricane Ian and the Crist and Demings campaigns we ended up moving on to a topic which defines the malaise of Florida Democrats – voter registration.

The GOP surge in voter registration relative to Democrats in the state over the course of the last two years has been alarming, given the historic Democratic advantage in these numbers, which held through years of GOP dominance of state-level races. For the GOP, it was the culmination of a ten-year effort begun right after President Obama won Florida in 2012, to flip the state from purple to red.

The failure of Florida Democrats and allied outside entities to focus on voter registration particularly in counties that aren’t urban, blue ones has led us to the point we sit at now. Democrats are effectively losing ground everywhere in the state, with the possible exception of Duval and the certain exception of Orange and Seminole counties. So if you are in the other 64 counties, It does not matter how blue or red a place is, it’s become more red in 2022 than it was in 2014 or 2016.

Democrats inability to also activate turnout and registration efforts in red counties is especially alarming when you consider the number of blue pockets in red counties that exist – places like Fort Myers, Ocala and Bradenton tend to be far more Democratic in vote preference than you might think – despite being in heavily red counties. African-Americans are a big part of why these areas lean blue, but it’s also white working class voters, who if in a city a less likely to become GOPers than if in the exurbs or rural areas.

In May, the FDP launched with great fanfare a $15 million effort to flip blue, called appropriately “Blue Shift Florida.” This program must be given time to work, but we must say the early returns have not been promising and as book closing takes places tomorrow for the November 8 election, the Democrats will find themselves further behind the GOP than any time in this state’s history.

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