I realize we get tired of hearing this warning every four years, but in the end, the 2020 presidential race may once again come down to who carries Florida. The state has one of the larger chunks of electoral college votes and the balance of power there between Republicans and Democrats always seem to teeter on a knife edge. One person who’s been in the game there long enough to know a thing or two is Democratic former Senator Bill Nelson. With three terms in the Senate representing the Sunshine State, he’s been through plenty of elections and probably has a grasp of how his voters feel.
Nelson is watching the primary play out and appears to be alarmed about the way things are going. In an interview with the Daily Beast, he put forward the opinion that if his party nominates any of the candidates who support Medicare for All, they’ll probably lose Florida and potentially the entire presidential election. (Free Beacon)
A longtime Florida Democratic lawmaker is warning his party against nominating Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) for president, saying it would effectively hand his state to President Donald Trump.
Bill Nelson, a former three-term U.S. senator, told the Daily Beast “the answer is yes” when asked if putting forward either of the left-wing candidates would result in another loss in Florida for Democrats.
“I say this with the greatest respect and admiration and friendship for those other senators who embrace Medicare for All,” he said. “But the hard reality is, it is going to be a stretch too far for the Democrat candidate.”
One thing to keep in mind here is that Nelson is openly supporting and endorsing Joe Biden. Since Warren and Sanders are the two candidates currently posing a threat to a Biden nomination, it might make sense for Nelson to take a few shots at them.
But is his argument really all that crazy? Florida is known for its large population of retirement age folks and their propensity to turn out reliably at election time. If you start talking about anything that might endanger Medicare, Social Security or any other programs that seniors rely on heavily, that horse is probably going to buck. And if you’re talking about twenty or thirty trillion in new spending impacting the program, some people are going to get nervous.
Also, Florida isn’t exactly known for having the most radically leftist, socialist Democrats. Perhaps that also comes with a higher average age. Or possibly it’s the large Hispanic population, many of whom come from families that had to flee socialist or communist governments. The majority of the state’s Democrats don’t resemble San Francisco all that much.
That’s been showing up in the polling, also. The last set of primary race numbers coming out of Florida showed Biden thrashing Warren and Sanders by ten and twenty points respectively. And those numbers have tracked fairly consistently since early summer, despite the shifts we’ve seen taking place in other states.
If you push the swing voters in Florida too hard, they’ll either flip to the other side or fail to show up. And if that results in handing the state to Donald Trump again, his path to a second term just got a whole lot easier.