November 18, 2019
Miami, Fla. — On Monday morning, The Guardian published an in-depth report on the Democratic Party’s work to turn Florida blue in 2020. The paper interviewed Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, who discussed the party’s strategy: “It’s about making the electorate we need versus the electorate the polling says we have.”
From The Guardian (emphasis added):
Ultimately, however, party leaders agree it will take more than just the unquestioned loyalty of existing supporters to turn Florida blue. New voters are needed, lots of them, and in May the party announced a “monumental” $2m investment to register 200,000 statewide before the 2020 election. “It’s about making the electorate we need versus the electorate the polling says we have,” said Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic party.
“It’s about building our base again, if you will. But to get 200,000 new Democrats takes a lot of effort, and we’re investing in a number of programmes.”
“It’s programming so people hear our message in all 67 of Florida’s counties, and in all our communities,” Rizzo said. “LBGTQ voters, people living with disabilities, Hispanic and Latino voters, African Americans understanding what the Democratic party stands for and why our ideas our better, how we bring stability to the country and especially in Florida.”
“In Palm Beach county we have passed 400,000 Democrats for the first time ever. We are out-registering the Republicans and pulling away. And that’s a blue county. The Republicans are making an effort there – that’s the home of Mar-a-Lago.”
Rizzo, the state party’s chair, accepts that Republicans will point to Florida’s booming economy and unemployment rate of 3.2% as a reason for sticking with Trump for four more years, but she counters that low wages are crippling families.
“Many people are working two or three jobs just to have a decent living,” she said.
“Educating voters so they know the issues is going to be critical. Healthcare is number one for Floridians and Republicans are attempting to wipe out the Affordable Care Act. The environment is another huge issue where Democrats are full of positive change, while the Trump administration wants to have offshore drilling off Florida.
“Once people figure out who’s doing what, that can be very motivating.”
Ultimately, as in so many recent elections, the result in Florida is going to be a simple numbers game. The party that engages and recruits more supporters will carry off the state’s 29 electoral college votes, and with them probably the White House.
“It’s why we’re working harder, and earlier, than ever before,” Rizzo said. “They used to call us the one per cent state. Now we’re the half per cent state.” [The Guardian, 11/18]