Joe Henderson: As Election Day nears, where’s the drama?

DeSantis ian ap photo
Prediction models show each of the major Florida races would be blowouts.

We’re in the home stretch of the Florida Midterm Elections, and this is where we’re supposed to hyperventilate anytime a poll shows a 1 point swing. As dedicated observers of the political scene, we’re supposed to dissect debates as if they were the Dead Sea Scrolls.

And we will do that.

If we’re honest, though, at this point, the election seems to have as much drama as a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and a high school team.

A quick tour through the FiveThirtyEight political prognostication site backs up that assertion.

In breaking down each Florida U.S. House race, the site projects 20 Republican wins to only eight for Democrats. That’s not the whole story, though. The races aren’t just victories for Republicans; they are blowouts.

In 14 of the races, the GOP candidate received a 99% chance of winning, and no Republican was less than 90%. By contrast, the Maria Elvira Salazar race against Democrat Annette Taddeo in the Florida’s 27th Congressional District is an absolute nail-biter; Salazar has only a 91% chance of winning.

Seven of the eight Democrats’ eight projected winners also have a 99% chance of success. Jared Moskowitz in CD 23 is the outlier at, oh dear, only 95%.

In the Senate race, FiveThirtyEight predicts a 7-point win for Marco Rubio over Val Demings and gives him an 87% chance of holding on. And the prediction model gives Gov. Ron DeSantis a 94% chance of victory against Charlie Crist.

Assuming these trends hold, what conclusions can we draw?

Start with the House races. When DeSantis took the unusual step of interjecting himself into the redistricting process, folks immediately recognized that he had essentially rigged the system.

The projected blowouts are evidence that DeSantis made sure to pack enough GOP voters into the newly drawn districts to eliminate any realistic chance for a Democrat win.

The blowout wins in the Democrat races suggest the Governor also made sure to clump blue voters together. That effectively negated the possibility of any competitive races and ensured a 20-8 Republican margin.

You can’t gerrymander a statewide race, of course. But if Democrats were honest, beating DeSantis would always be the longest of shots. Despite all of his controversies, DeSantis remains hugely popular with his base and seems to have drawn considerable approval from independent voters.

But I can’t get over the idea that Demings may be fumbling what should have been a real chance to knock off Rubio. She has focused on two issues — abortion and crime.

Well, those are important. But why hasn’t she pounced on Rick Scott’s 12-point plan to Rescue America? I mean, does America need rescuing by sullen billionaires interested in giving themselves more tax breaks?

Of particular interest to Demings should be Scott’s 6th point, where he states, “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.”

That would include Social Security and Medicare. Can you imagine the debate on renewing those two programs while grandma fights eviction from her nursing home?

Demings isn’t running against Scott, of course, but she should force-feed that to Rubio anyway. But she hasn’t reminded Florida seniors often enough about what Scott has in mind. Rubio would be another vote in that direction.

Rubio, of course, has played the “radical left wants to destroy us” card. His campaign has consisted of calling Demings a LIBERAL. His commercial implying teachers want to turn elementary students into drag queens is disgusting.

He seems so sincere, doesn’t he?

A campaign for a U.S. Senate seat should be about more than that, but you go with what works. I guess the simpler, the better.

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.

One comment

  • Tom

    October 13, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    We discussed this yesterday.
    The Dem candidates suck.
    Chameleon and Dumings, brutal.
    It’s on them, peeps love America’s Gov, and Senator Marco.
    Florida is Repub. red.
    Enjoy it.

Comments are closed.


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