Joe Henderson: Florida voters again show that Democrats still don’t get it
Donald Trump has squeezed out a probable with in Florida.

Donald Trump supporters just don't care about the things Democrats say they should.

America, you can cease the stereotypes and smirks about the way Florida conducts elections. On Tuesday, the process went smoothly and quickly here. Elections supervisors throughout the state should take a bow.

That was a public service announcement of appreciation for leaders who we only talk about when things go terribly wrong. We now proceed with our regularly scheduled presentation about what went down on Election Day.

Well, Democrats went down – all over the place.

President Donald Trump, of course, easily captured Florida’s 29 electoral votes. Two South Florida Democrats in the U.S. House — Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalalalost their reelection bids.

Republicans still have complete control of the Legislature. They also sent a gut punch to Democrats in Miami-Dade by making great strides with the Cuban-American vote there.

Democrats needed to run up the score in Miami-Dade, but got a pie in their face instead. Since early this year, Trump and Republicans flooded Hispanic radio in Miami with ads linking Biden with socialism. Democrats apparently didn’t realize how deeply that resonates with Cuban-Americans, who keep a life-long loathing of the Castro regime.

That contributed greatly to Trump’s eventual 3-plus% victory in Florida, compared to the 1.2% he scored in 2016.


Because nothing much else changed.

Biden won the big cities, but Trump won everywhere else. If you look at the state election map, large swaths of red surround smaller islands of blue. It’s kind of that way over much of the country – just like 2016.

Democrats didn’t get it then, and even if Joe Biden eventually wins the presidency it’s questionable if they get it now. How many times do they have to be kicked in the face before learning they need to listen, not lecture?

I grew up in a small, ruby red, mostly White town in southwest Ohio. Trump got about 65% of the vote Tuesday in that county, much as he did throughout smaller Florida counties.

I know why.

Voters there and here from those small towns have an innate distrust of, well, everything. They do, however, have complete trust in their own common sense. That trust tells them they just don’t care about the things the “elites” tell them they should.

They don’t like to be told what to do, whether it’s wearing masks or how to vote.

They look at Black Lives Matter and shrug that all lives matter. Liberals shake their heads at that, ignoring the real message. Yes, most of them saw George Floyd for the atrocity it was. In the next breath, though, they’ll say that when a police officer says to stop, you stop and cooperate.

Much of that, of course, is because they don’t have the same experience as Blacks have with police. Their sense is that if a cop shoots someone, they had it coming.

The divide is real and it’s not getting any closer. Many of them actually like the idea that Trump panders exclusively to the voters who support him. They have no intention of coming together, as Biden and Democrats say needs to happen.

That would be abandoning their beliefs, and that’s not going to happen.

That’s a big reason, I think, why the last several statewide Florida elections have a Groundhog Day sense about them.

It never changes.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Harry

    November 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Joe Henderson is the only writer whose work I read all the way through. And as usual, he offers insight that is not necessarily what one wants to hear, but makes perfect sense.

    Democrats are going to have to get realistic about the electorate, and what that electorate wants to hear.

    The majority of us think its crazy to vote for a racist who denies a deadly virus is killing thousands per week and who is cozy to Putin. And yet, Cuban Floridians voted for him, seniors voted for him, most Whites voted for him, and a surprising number of Blacks voted for him as well.

    I voted Biden, and happily so. And its my prayer he wins. But if he does, he’s going to have to become a centrist POTUS because the division is real, and Democrats are seeing America through a lens that at least 48% of the population doesn’t agree with.


    November 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Agreed. The Elections Department did a great job. DeJoy failed us by stealing ballots through the USPS, letting them go undelivered and stockpiling them in post offices. Most of Florida’s voters, however, should be fired.

  • Ron Ogden

    November 4, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    What Joe doesn’t get: the division in America is not just the fault of the D’s, it is the fault of the media (that puts acerbic, profitable sensationalism above the plain, unexciting truth) and the deep state (which is composed of highly paid, introspective, out-of-touch people who want to keep their jobs and class structure more than they want to deal with a restive and often ornery public). Together, they form the three giant puddles that comprise the “Swamp” the President has been trying to drain for four years.

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 4, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Recount all of the gd ballots! Desantis and Scott Stopped the count and did not let the mail in ballots be counted ! Trump Fing did not Win Florida! Recount !

  • Ron Ogden

    November 4, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Mr. Henderson, a question: If, as you say, the “Democrats still don’t get it”, why should they govern us? Please do not resort to deflecting the question by saying “The Republicans are worse.” Answer the question.

  • Amy Roberts

    November 4, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Is it that the Democrats don’t get it? Or is it that the Republicans have polluted the airwaves and social media with years of propaganda to achieve their goal.

  • Jim

    November 4, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    There are different ways to “get” people. You can get their worst instincts, most xenophobic impulses, and tell them they’re patriotic Americans for having them.

    Or you can get their best sides and appeal to their better angels.

    And at some point, the people themselves are also responsible for what they think and who they are — and if they think it’s a loss of identity to talk to people who think differently from them, they’ll be on the outside with no one who cares when their side loses.

    At some point the people are also responsible for who they are.

Comments are closed.


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