Unconventional Wins in FL's Primaries 🙌

Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

Progressive wins Democratic nomination

Andrew Gillum, the 39-year-old, African-American mayor of Tallahassee, won the Democratic primary for the Florida Governor race coming up in November. Gillum ran on a far left platform and was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Gillum’s win was an upset: he did not have the full support of the party, raised less money than opponents, and trailed by double digits in the polls leading up to election day.

Trumpist takes the Republican nomination

FL Congressman Ron DeSantis won the Republican primary after closely aligning himself with President Trump (one campaign ad showed him “building the wall” out of toy blocks with his daughter). DeSantis came under fire yesterday after saying that voters shouldn’t “monkey this up” by voting for Gillum. Many interpreted the comment as a racist reference to Gillum’s race.


The Nation: Andrew Gillum’s Upset Reveals a Winning New Progressive Strategy

Mother Jones: Andrew Gillum’s Surprise Win in Florida Is a Huge Deal

The left sees Gillum’s win as a positive sign for the coming midterm elections. Tuesday night saw the highest voter turnout in Florida in 10 years. If voters turn out in the same way in November, the left argues, Democrats stand to win big. Articles also interpret Gillum’s victory on such a leftist platform as encouraging. The electorate, they argue, is ready for ideas like medicare for all - which will swing the election towards the Democrats.


Washington Examiner: Florida's progressive candidate for governor wants to replace ICE with DOJ

Town Hall: Bernie-Backed Leftist Candidate for Florida Governor Advocates Replacing ICE with DOJ

The right sees Gillum’s win as evidence that the Democratic Party is being overtaken by far-left ideas. Meanwhile, they see DeSantis’s win as proof that aligning with Trump is a winning strategy. Articles from the right connect Gillum to Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders and argue that these candidates are too far left, making an easy win for DeSantis in the general election.

Increasing polarization?

This primary in a big swing state may provide insights into what's happening in U.S. politics. Usually, candidates from a party's extremes get weeded out in favor of 'moderate' candidates. Instead, in FL's gubernatorial election, we have Gillum, who is far left, and DeSantis, who is far right. Since the election of Donald Trump, it seems that the country as a whole has moved further from the center. Democrats are increasingly supporting far-left candidates to match the far-right candidates being elected into office. 

Political polarization



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